BROOKINGS, Ore – Chetco and Winchuck rivers open to fall chinook fishing on Saturday, Nov. 2 with temporary protective harvest restrictions in place.
The restriction means that as part of the two salmon or steelhead per day, 20 per year bag limit, anglers can take only one wild chinook per day and 10 per year through Dec. 31. However, as part of their daily bag limit, anglers can still keep up to five hatchery or wild jack chinook per day. The limit applies in aggregate with other Southwest Zone waters with a 10 wild chinook seasonal limit, including Floras Creek/New River, and the Sixes, Elk, Chetco and Winchuck rivers.
The Chetco and Winchuck rivers closed to fall chinook harvest August 1 due to low water flow. The Chetco currently is at 300 cfs and low flow conditions are expected to continue for at least another week.
When flows are low, chinook tend to stack up at the head of tide and are susceptible to over-harvesting. However, biologists believe that by reducing the bag limit on wild fish, anglers can still harvest chinook without harming the populations.
“We appreciate the feedback we’ve received on both sides of this issue. In managing these fisheries, our goal is to provide angling opportunity while ensuring our wild populations stay healthy,” said Todd Confer, Gold Beach District Fish Biologist. “By opening the chinook fisheries with a reduced bag on wild fish, we’re striking a balance so anglers can get back on the river while still protecting our wild chinook.”
The mission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. The agency consists of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, a commission-appointed director and a statewide staff of approximately 950 permanent employees. Headquartered in Salem, ODFW has regional offices in Clackamas, Roseburg, Bend, and La Grande with ten district offices located throughout the state.