April Fishery Update
by Stuart Ellis, critfc harvest biologist
The winter gillnet fishery ended March 21. Based on catches available at press time, it looks like there will be a good number of sturgeon available on both the Bonneville and The Dalles harvest guidelines and a few available on the John Day pool guideline. No determinations have been made by the tribes yet on how to use these fish. Additional sturgeon fisheries may be a possibility.
The spring chinook is forecast to be 232,500 fish and are already starting to pass Bonneville Dam. It is still a pretty small number of fish, but we have the largest total to date since 2003. Please note this may not mean the run will be bigger than predicted, it is just starting out early. We won’t know how big the run will be until sometime in May. The actual run size will determine what the allowed harvest rate and the allowed catch is for the tribal fishery. Both treaty and non-treaty fisheries are managed on the same actual river mouth run size.
The tribes will begin ceremonial permit fishing any time, which will last for several weeks. After the ceremonial fishery is done, then the tribes will make determinations about how to manage the latter part of the spring season.
The tribes are continuing discussions about fisheries downstream of Bonneville. Announcements will be made as decisions are finalized.