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2013 Fall Fishery Recap

Columbia River fall chinook counts from 1977-2013. This year, 1.1  million fall chinook entered the Columbia River—the largest run since the construction of Bonneville Dam back in 1938.

Columbia River fall chinook counts from 1977-2013. This year, 1.1 million fall chinook entered the Columbia River—the largest run since the construction of Bonneville Dam back in 1938.

The fall season tribal fisheries have wound down. The fall chinook count at Bonneville should end up a little over 950,000. Over 1 million upriver fall chinook will have entered the Columbia River for the first time since Bonneville Dam was built. There were 27.5 days open for commercial gillnet fishing and 70 days open for commercial sales of platform and hook-and-line caught fish. More fall chinook were harvested in Zone 6 than in any other year since the construction of Bonneville Dam. Prices remained good throughout the commercial fishery. Just under 230,000 fall chinook were harvested along with over 17,000 steelhead and over 5,700 coho in the mainstem fisheries.

It is possible to see some boats out working in the Zone 6 reservoirs in October. The tribes and states work together to sample the three reservoirs for “young of the year” sturgeon that hatched out this spring and summer. This sampling collects data on these fish that are used as part of our sturgeon stock assessments. The fish are sampled alive with very small mesh gillnets that do not harm the sturgeon. Later in the winter, you may see tribal crews out sampling larger sturgeon which is also part of our stock assessment work. This stock assessment work is an important part of tribal/state co-management of the sturgeon in Zone 6 and helps the tribes manage sturgeon fisheries sustainably.

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