ODFW enacts temporary changes to harvest of wild fall-run Chinook salmon in some SW Zone coastal rivers

Photo Credit: Courtesy of ODFW

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

SALEM, Ore. — ODFW is enacting temporary restrictions on coastal wild adult Chinook salmon harvest in the Southwest Zone due to low forecasted returns.

Chinook salmon returns have been below average the past few years associated with very poor ocean conditions beginning in 2014. Although the ocean has improved recently and overall returns may be somewhat higher, the forecasted returns in Southwest Zone coastal rivers remain low in 2021. 

The temporary changes to wild Chinook salmon harvest are consistent with existing ODFW management plans. These plans specify increases or decreases to harvest levels in response to changing stock status for wild Chinook salmon in various rivers.
There are no changes to permanent regulations for coastal streams in the Northwest Zone or for the Rogue River Basin.

Except for the Coquille Basin, or unless otherwise indicated, restrictions only apply to harvest of adult wild Chinook salmon, and anglers may harvest adult hatchery salmon until the normal daily bag limit of two fish has been met (see 2021 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations). 
The daily limit for jack Chinook salmon (hatchery or wild) remains five fish per day and does not count towards the adult daily limit. However, once the adult daily limit is harvested, anglers may not continue to fish for jack salmon.

Recent Chinook salmon returns to the Coquille River have been particularly low.

Predation by smallmouth and striped bass is believed to be a significant contributor to the depressed status of fall Chinook salmon in the Coquille River in addition to past poor ocean conditions. ODFW is continuing efforts to address increasing populations of introduced smallmouth and striped bass in this river system (information: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2021/05_May/052121.asp). However, in an effort to maximize spawner abundance, this basin will be closed to angling for salmon from July 1 through December 31.

Although not experiencing similar declines as the Coquille River, there will also be restrictions to wild fall Chinook salmon fisheries in the Umpqua River, Coos River, Floras Creek/New River, Sixes River, Elk River, Hunter Creek, Pistol River, Chetco River and Winchuck River. Restrictions on rivers south of the Coquille are also meant to reduce harvest on older age fish which are still in conservation status.
See regulation details at this link: https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/southwest-zone

Biologists observed some signs of improvement in total return numbers and improving ocean conditions in 2020. In general, streams in the Northwest Zone appear to have rebounded from the recent downturn.  Permanent rules will be in effect for these systems.

These regulation changes are in response to stock status in particular rivers and additional measures may be required in response to drought effects. Anglers are encouraged to check the regulations update page before each fishing trip, in case of any changes.

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OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Reports
for Wednesday, June 2nd
Santiam River ( North Fork) : Green's Bridge gate to close and require key access; beware of obstructions on lower Santiam River
: This weekend, June 5th & 6th, is Free Fishing Weekend!
: ODFW braces for drought: Fish stocking changes and possible emergency regulations are expected
Nestucca River: Spring Chinook Fishing is Slow
Campbell Reservoir: Campbell Reservoir Report
Gerber Reservoir: Water Temps Are Increasing Fast
Siltcoos Lake: Warm Weather and Summer-Like Conditions Have the Warmwater Fisheries in the Mid-Coast at Full Swing
Holbrook Reservoir: Stocked Recently
Siletz River: A Few Summer Steelhead and Spring Chinook are Starting To Show up
John C Boyle Reservoir: Water Temps Have Warmed to 70 Degrees
Tillamook Bay: Spring Chinook Fishing Slowed This Weekend
Upper Klamath Lake: Water Clarity Continues to Improve
Trask River: The Trask Continued to Be Fair For Spring Chinook
Wilson River: Fishing on The Wilson Remains Slow
Lofton Reservoir: Stocked Recently
Alton Baker Canoe Canal: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 1,000 Legal-Size and 200 Pound Size Rainbow Trout
Sprague River: Fishing is fair for redband trout with an occasional brown trout
Blue River: Was Last Stocked The Week of May 24 With 1,100 Rainbow Trout
Wood River: Flows Are A Little High
Coast Fork Willamette River: Was Last Stocked the Week of May 17 With 1,000 Legal-Size Rainbow Trout
Grande Ronde River: Flows Have Been Good
Detroit Reservoir: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 4,200 Hatchery Trout
EE Wilson Angling Pond: The Pond Will be Stocked for a Final Time This Week With About 850 Hatchery Trout
John Day River: Flows Are Unusually Low
Fall Creek: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 1,300 Legal-Size Trout
Fern Ridge Reservoir: The Reservoir is Done Filling and All Boat Ramps are Currently Available
Foster Reservoir: The Reservoir Was Stocked Last Week With About 2,700 Trout
Bradley Lake: Stocked With Trophy Trout Last Month
Gold Lake: Gold Lake is Now Open For The Season!!
Chetco River: Chetco River Report
Green Peter Reservoir: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 7,700 Trout
Cooper Creek Reservoir: Scheduled to Be Stock This Week
Junction City Pond: Pond Will Be Stocked This Week for The Last Time This Season With About 1,000 Hatchery Trout
Diamond Lake: Producing Some Nice Trout
Elk River: Trout season opened May 22
McKenzie River: Was Last Stocked The Week of May 24 With 3,800 Legal-Size Rainbow Trout
Middle Fork Willamette: Spring Chinook Are Still Coming Over the Falls
Quartzville Creek: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 1,200 Legal-Size Trout
Empire Lake Lower: Empire Lakes Fishing Report
Floras Lake: Floras Lake Report
Garrison Lake: Fishing Conditions Are Prime
Santiam River ( North Fork) Above Detroit Lake: The Highway Along the Upper North Santiam has Re-Opened
Santiam River (South Fork): A Few Summer Steelhead Have Already Shown Up
Howard Prairie Reservoir: Draining Quickly
Walling Pond: About 1,500 Trout Are Going to be Stocked in Walling This Week
Hyatt Lake: Stocked Recently
Illinois River: Open Again For Trout Fishing
Lemolo Lake: Fishing Should Be Great
Snake River (Clearwater River to Hells Canyon Dam): Spring Chinook Have Arrived and Catch Rates Have Been Modest