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Columbia River Zone

Fishing Regulations Icon Oregon Fishing

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 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, or trout in: mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Oregon-Washington border located upstream of McNary Dam (RM 309.5); and in Blind Slough upstream of the railroad bridge.

Exceptions to Columbia River Zone Regulations

Columbia River

Buoy 10 line up to a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington bank through Red Buoy 44 to the navigation light at Tongue Point on the Oregon bank

  • Open for hatchery steelhead Jan 1 – Mar 31 and Aug 1 – Dec 31.
  • Open for hatchery Chinook salmon and hatchery coho salmon Jan 1 – Mar 31.
  • Open to adult Chinook salmon and adult hatchery coho salmon Aug 1 – Dec 31. Retention of jack salmon allowed Oct 1 – Dec 31. Minimum length for jack salmon is 12 inches.
  • Minimum sizes for adult salmon are 24 inches for Chinook salmon and 16 inches for coho salmon.
  • The Columbia River South Jetty is open to salmon angling seven days a week when the fall Buoy 10 or adjacent ocean salmon fishery is open.
  • Closed to angling within the Youngs Bay Control Zone Aug 1 – Sep 15. See map on pg 78.
  • In the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River up to a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington bank through Red Buoy 44 to the navigation light at Tongue Point on the Oregon bank, each angler aboard a vessel may continue to use angling gear until the daily limit of fish for all legally licensed and juvenile anglers aboard has been achieved. However, no individual angler may exceed any personal daily bag limit.
  • Closed for trout.

A line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington bank through Red Buoy 44 to the navigation light at Tongue Point on the Oregon bank up to I-5 bridge

  • Open for trout Jan 1 – Mar 31 and May 22 – Dec 31.
  • Open for hatchery Chinook salmon, hatchery coho salmon, and hatchery steelhead Jan 1 – Mar 31.
  • Open for hatchery jack Chinook salmon and hatchery steelhead May 16 – Jul 31.
  • Open for Chinook salmon, hatchery coho salmon and hatchery steelhead Aug 1 – Dec 31.
  • Minimum length for jack salmon is 12 inches.
  • Angling from Big Cr RR trestle bridge near mouth Closed Sep 1-30.

I-5 bridge to Bonneville Dam

  • Open for hatchery steelhead Jan 1 – Mar 31 and Jun 16 – Dec 31.
  • Open for hatchery jack Chinook salmon Jun 16 – Jul 31.
  • Open for Chinook and hatchery coho salmon Aug 1 – Dec 31.
  • Minimum length for jack salmon is 12 inches.
  • Closed for trout.
  • Closed:
    • Between markers 150 ft above and 450 ft below the mouth of Tanner Cr out to center of the Columbia River Aug 16 – Oct 15;
    • Inside the south navigation lock at Bonneville Dam from a marker on the western-most point of Robins Island to a marker on the Oregon mainland shore;
    • Angling is prohibited for all species during Jan 1 – Apr 30 from a line between the upstream end of Sand Island (near Rooster Rock) and a marker on the Oregon shoreline, downstream to a line between the lower end of Sand Island and a marker on the Oregon shoreline.
  • Bank angling prohibited:
    • From Bradford Island below Bonneville Dam from south shore between the dam and a line perpendicular to the shoreline marker at west end of riprap and from north shore between fishway entrance and a line perpendicular to the shoreline marker 850 ft downstream;
    • From Robins Island below Bonneville Dam downstream to a line perpendicular to the shoreline marker on mooring cell.
  • Angling from a floating device or using a floating device to set lines is prohibited in the area between Bonneville Dam and a line crossing the river below the dam marked by the boat-restricted zone sign on the Oregon shore at the westernmost tip of Robins Island to the boat-restricted zone sign approx. 50 ft above the Hamilton Island boat ramp on the Washington shore (USACE Boat Restricted Zone).
  • Sturgeon angling is prohibited May 1 – Aug 31 from Bonneville Dam downstream approx. 9 mi to a line crossing the Columbia River from Navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore westerly to a boundary marker on the Washington shore above Fir Point.
  • Salmon angling from a floating device is prohibited from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam Nov 1 – Dec 31.

Bonneville Dam to Oregon/Washington border above McNary Dam

  • Open for hatchery steelhead Jan 1 – Mar 31 and Jun 16 – Dec 31.
  • Open for hatchery jack Chinook salmon Jun 16 – Jul 31.
  • Open for Chinook and coho salmon Aug 1 – Dec 31. Only hatchery coho salmon may be retained between Bonneville Dam and the Hood River Bridge at RM 169.
  • Minimum length for jack salmon is 12 inches.
  • When angling for salmon and hatchery steelhead, a single-point hook with a gap size no larger than 3/4-inch is required for all non-buoyant lures Aug 1 – Dec 31. Non-buoyant lures sink in freshwater.
  • From McNary Dam to the Oregon/Washington Border, salmon and steelhead angling is allowed 24 hours/day during retention seasons.
  • Only single-point hooks allowed when angling at Cascade Locks in the area between the boat ramp at the lower end of the locks upstream to the east (upstream) end of the lock wall.
  • Closed for trout.
  • Sturgeon Regulations:
    • Closed to retention of green sturgeon.
    • Open for white sturgeon retention 1 per day, 2 per year, except:
      • Open Jan 1 – until quota reached, from Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam;
      • Open Feb 1 through Jul 31 from McNary Dam to the Oregon/Washington border;
      • Sturgeon angling is prohibited from The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 mi to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore during May 1 – Jul 31;
      • Sturgeon angling is prohibited from the west end of the grain silo at Rufus up to John Day Dam May 1 – Jul 31;
      • Sturgeon angling is prohibited from Hwy 82 bridge (Hwy 395) near Umatillla up to McNary Dam May 1 – Jul 31;
    • 38 inch minimum, 54 inch maximum fork lengths from Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam and 43 inch minimum, 54 inch maximum fork lengths from The Dalles Dam to the Oregon/Washington border.
    • Only one single-point, barbless hook may be used to angle for sturgeon.
    • All oversize, undersize, and unwanted legal size white sturgeon must be immediately released unharmed into the water.
    • Oversize sturgeon cannot be removed totally or in part from the water.
    • Catch-and-release sturgeon angling may continue after taking the daily or annual limit or when quota is reached.
  • Closed:
    • Bonneville Dam upstream to a line across the river 1,000 ft from the dam as indicated by USACE signs;
    • Interstate Hwy 197 bridge at The Dalles upstream to the upper line of The Dalles Dam, except bank angling is permitted above the Hwy bridge for 1,100 ft to the cyclone fence;
    • John Day Dam downstream approx. 3,000 ft except that bank angling is permitted up to 600 ft below the fishway entrance;
    • From a floating device in USACE designated hazard zones above and below McNary Dam.

Benson Lake (Multnomah Co.)

  • Open all year.
  • 5 hatchery trout per day, 8 inch minimum length.

Blind Slough/Knappa Slough Select Area

Including Gnat Cr from RR bridge up to Aldrich Pt Rd Bridge (Clatsop Co.) (see map on pg 79)

  • Open all year for hatchery steelhead and hatchery coho salmon.
  • Open for hatchery spring Chinook salmon Jan 1 – Jul 31.
  • Open for fall Chinook salmon Aug 1 – Dec 31.

Eagle Creek

Mouth to mainline railroad bridge

  • Open for Chinook, hatchery coho salmon, and hatchery steelhead consistent with regulations for the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to Oregon/Washington border.
  • See Central Zone for area above mainline RR bridge.

Hartman Pond

  • Open all year.
  • 5 trout per day, 8 inch minimum length.
  • 1 bass per day.
  • 10 crappie per day.
  • 2 channel catfish per day.
  • No minimum length on warmwater fish.

Herman Creek

East of peninsula from the markers at the mouth to the mainline railroad bridge (see map on pg 77).

  • Open for salmon and steelhead consistent with regulations for the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the OR/ WA border, except closed Aug 16 – Nov 30.
  • See Central Zone for area above the mainline RR bridge.

Herman Cr Youth and Disabled Angler Angling Area – West of peninsula from the markers at the mouth to lower Herman Cr Pond structure (see map on pg 77).

  • Open for salmon and steelhead consistent with regulations for the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the OR/WA border. Open to youth angling (ages 17 and under) and Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit holders only.

Herman Cr Lagoon- East of the line from Northwest tip of the jetty, south to marker on shore (See map on pg 77).

  • Open for salmon and steelhead consistent with regulations for the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the OR/ WA border. An Oregon angling license and combined angling tag are required.

See Central Zone for area above mainline railroad bridge

Multnomah Creek

  • Open all year from Benson Lake downstream to the culvert under Hwy 84.
  • 5 hatchery trout per day, 8 inch minimum length.

Plympton Creek

Mouth to mainline railroad bridge

  • Open for Chinook salmon, hatchery coho salmon and hatchery steelhead consistent with regulations for the Columbia River from the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line up to I-5 bridge, except closed Sep 1-30.
  • See Northwest Zone for area above mainline RR bridge.

Tanner, Bridal Veil, Wahkeena, Multnomah, Horsetail and Oneonta Creeks

Mouth to the mainline railroad bridge

  • Open for Chinook salmon, hatchery coho salmon, and hatchery steelhead consistent with regulations for the Columbia River from I-5 bridge up to Bonneville Dam except closed Aug 16 – Nov 30.
  • See Willamette Zone for areas above mainline RR bridge.

Wahkeena Pond

  • See Hartman Pond above.

Youngs Bay Select Area (Clatsop Co.)

(see map on pg 78)

  • Open all year for hatchery steelhead and hatchery coho salmon.
  • Open for hatchery spring Chinook salmon Jan 1 – Jul 31.
  • Open for fall Chinook salmon Aug 1 – Dec 31.

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: www.myodfw.com for these rules, or calling 503-947-6000 during normal business hours.

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 quickly and 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, 2 daily limits in possession.
  • 12 inch minimum length.
  • Only hatchery cutthroat trout may be kept.
  • 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.
  • Check for new regulations 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 white and green sturgeon.
  • All sturgeon must be immediately released 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.
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 No limit. None. Open all year.
Striped Bass 2 per 24 hours, 2 daily limits in possession. 24 inch minimum length.
Bluegill, Catfish, Crappie, other Sunfish, and Yellow Perch No limit. None.
Walleye No limit. None.
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.
Northern Pikeminnow, Carp, Sucker, Chub, Sculpin, Whitefish and other Nongame Fish No limit. None. Open all year.
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.
Crayfish 100 per day, 2 daily limits in possession. Neither an angling nor a shellfish license is required. Open all year.
Freshwater Clams and Mussels Harvest prohibited It is illegal to harvest or possess any freshwater mussels or clams. Closed.
Bullfrogs No limit. An angling license is not required. Open all year.
Marine Fish and Marine Shellfish (other than Eulachon Smelt) See Marine Zone. (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.)