Chinook season will open Saturday, June 6, on the Imnaha and Wallowa rivers, and the season opens June 13 on the Grande Ronde, Jeff Yanke, Wallowa District fish biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, announced.
“While we’re excited to get the fishery open, and there will be some fish in each river, it probably won’t be red-hot this weekend,” Yanke stated. “We estimate only 150-200 fish from the Imnaha and Lostine stocks have migrated upstream of Lower Granite Dam. We just observed a larger group of fish moving past Bonneville Dam this past weekend, and those are a few weeks from hitting our rivers.”
He noted that flows in the Imnaha were at 1,200 cfs on Monday morning. “It’s running high, but it’s possible to catch fish at those flows — just a little tougher to land them,” Yanke stated. “We expect when the rain subsides, the river will drop quickly.”
Fishery areas, bag limits, and other specific regulations can be found on the ODFW website at www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2015/may/052915.asp.
Yanke said ODFW originally expected that around 2,500 hatchery and 700 wild adult salmon would return to the Imnaha this year. The Lostine run (which supports the Wallowa fishery) was expected at 2,800 adults — with another 1,500 wild fish. As of Monday, they had estimated only 15-20 percent of that total had migrated upstream of Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.
Officials expect to harvest between 100-300 salmon in the Imnaha and approximately 400-600 from the Lostine River stock in both the Wallowa and Grande Ronde fisheries.