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Columbia River Zone Regulations & Map

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Description

The Columbia River Zone is all waters of the Columbia River upstream from a north-south line through Buoy 10 at the river mouth and includes those portions of tributaries (including lakes) downstream from the mainline railroad bridges near the tributaries’ mouths except for the Willamette (including Multnomah Channel), Sandy, Hood, Deschutes and Umatilla river systems, Skipanon River, and Youngs Bay. The Columbia River Zone includes downstream from Hwy 730 on the Umatilla River and from Interstate 84 on the Deschutes River, and the lower Skipanon River downstream of the Harbor Street Bridge. The boundary is a straight line across the mouths of the Willamette (including Multnomah Channel), Sandy and Hood rivers and the Hwy 101 Bridge on Youngs Bay.

Oregon and Washington state waters are defined by the state line which lies within the waters of the Columbia River. In the area from the mouth upstream to Altoona, WA (Rivermile 24), the state line is near the Washington shore. In the area from Altoona, WA upstream to above McNary Dam (except near mainstem dams) the state line is in the middle of the ship channel.

Columbia River Management

Mainstem Columbia River fisheries for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon are co-managed by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife and the four Treaty Tribes, represented by the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Based on discussions among the co-management agencies, Oregon may adopt in-season changes to sport fishery regulations in the Columbia River. Regulation changes can occur on short notice and will be made available to ODFW field offices, the news media and license agents. Anglers can check the status of regulations prior to fishing the Columbia River by checking the ODFW website: myodfw.com for these rules, or calling 503-947-6000 during normal business hours.

Columbia River Zone Regulations

  1. In the Columbia River where it forms the state boundary line, not including tributaries, sloughs and lands, the following rules apply:
    1. Both Washington and Oregon resident or non-resident fishing licenses are valid except when the other state’s season is closed. Any anglers other than Washington residents must have a valid Oregon angling or shellfish license when landing fish or taking shellfish by boat in Oregon;
    2. Anglers must follow the rules of the state in which they are fishing;
    3. Anglers are restricted to one daily catch limit for all fish species from the Columbia River, even if licensed in Oregon and Washington;
    4. Anglers are restricted to one annual catch limit of white sturgeon in the Columbia River even if licensed in Oregon and Washington.
  2. A valid Columbia River Basin Endorsement must be in possession when fishing for salmon, steelhead, or sturgeon in the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream and in all the rivers and their tributaries that flow into the Columbia River.
  3. When fishing on tributaries, sloughs or from the land of a state, the angler must be licensed by that state and obey all angling regulations of that state.
  4. For the mainstem Columbia River salmon and steelhead fishery upstream of the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line to McNary Dam from February 15 through June 15, it is unlawful when fishing from vessels which are less than 30 feet in length, substantiated by U.S. Coast Guard documentation or Marine Board registration, to totally remove from the water any salmon or steelhead required to be released.
  5. It shall be unlawful for any person to angle from a vessel while fish are onboard that are not allowed to be taken in the area being fished. This regulation does not apply to vessels in transit.
  6. Use of barbless hooks is required when angling for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, or trout in the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon-Washington border located upstream of McNary Dam (RM 309.5).
  7. See Advisories & Consumption Guidelines.

Sturgeon Best Handling Practices

While sturgeon are very hardy, anglers should still treat them with care. ODFW encourages responsible catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon to ensure that these incredible fish are available for future generations to enjoy.

Required:

  • Sturgeon greater than 54-inches in fork length must remain in the water at all times.
  • When catch-and-release fishing, fish must be returned to the water immediately unharmed.
  • Only single point, barbless hooks are allowed.

Recommended:

  • Keep sturgeon in the water, regardless of size.
  • Never lift or hold the fish by the gill plates.
  • Non-offset circle hooks and short leaders can prevent deep-hooking.
  • Attach your weight using a slider and line that is lighter than the main line, to ensure less gear will stay with the fish if you break off.
  • Limit your fishing to times when the water temperature is less than 70⁰F.
  • Limit your targeting of large, mature fish (over 6-feet). It takes 25 years for a sturgeon to reach this size and they are the future of the population.
  • Take actions to release fish quickly. When fighting a large sturgeon from a boat, release from the anchor and follow the fish.

When taking photos:

  • Take photos as quickly as possible. Don’t try to photograph every fish — just take a few pictures to remember the trip.

Columbia River Zone Regulations

Species

Bag Limit

Size Limit and Other Specifications

Season

Trout 2 per day, 3 daily limits in possession.
  • 12 inch minimum length.
  • Barbless hooks are required.
  • No limit on size or number of brook or brown trout in streams unless noted under Exceptions.
  • Closed to angling for bull trout.
Closed in all waters unless noted by species under Exceptions.
Salmon and Steelhead In the aggregate: 2 adult salmon or steelhead per day, 20 per year. 5 jack salmon per day, 2 daily jack limits in possession.
  • Only hatchery steelhead may be kept.
  • Closed for sockeye and chum salmon.
  • See Exceptions in Columbia River Zone to determine where harvest of any Chinook or coho salmon is allowed. Harvest of wild steelhead is not permitted in the Columbia River Zone.
  • There is no annual limit on hatchery salmon or hatchery steelhead so long as the appropriate number of Hatchery Harvest Tags have been purchased to record the catch.
  • Barbless hooks are required.
  • 12 inch minimum size limit for jack salmon.
  • Additional Chinook seasons are determined on an annual basis. Visit myodfw.com for more information and reglations updates before you fish.
Sturgeon Catch-and-release only, except as noted under Exceptions.

(See Bonneville Dam upstream to Oregon/Washington border.)

  • Closed to retention of green sturgeon.
  • All oversize, undersize and unwanted legal size sturgeon must be released immediately unharmed into the water
  • Sturgeon over 54 inches in fork length cannot be removed totally or in part from the water.
  • Only one single-point, barbless hook may be used for sturgeon.
  • Closed to retention of white sturgeon below Bonneville Dam. Additional opportunity is determined on an annual basis, visit myodfw.com for more information.
Catch-and-release: Open all year, except as noted under Exceptions.

Note: Sturgeon fisheries are managed on a quota basis. Check the status of regulations prior to fishing.

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass,Striped Bass,Bluegill, Catfish, Crappie, other Sunfish, Walleye,Yellow Perch,Northern Pikeminnow, Carp, Sucker, Chub, Sculpin, Whitefish and other Nongame Fish. No limit. None. Open all year.
Shad No limit. Shad angling closed from Buoy 10 line upstream to Bonneville Dam Apr 1 – May 15. Open all year except as listed under Other Specifications.
Smelt
  • Unless specifically authorized under emergency rules, it is unlawful to take or attempt to take Eulachon smelt in inland waters, including bays, rivers, estuaries, and streams.
  • For smelt species other than Eulachon smelt, see Marine Zone Regulations for allowed Harvest Methods and other Restrictions. An angling license is required.
Marine Fish and Marine Shellfish (other than Eulachon Smelt) See Marine Zone Regulations. (Marine Zone regulations for marine fish and marine shellfish only apply to Columbia River downstream of Tongue Point/Rocky Point line at the mouth of the Columbia River.)