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Recreational Fishing Curtailed In Fight Against The Coronavirus

<p>A diver enters the water for a pickup driven off a pier into a side channel of the Columbia River.</p>

Colin Murphey

A diver enters the water for a pickup driven off a pier into a side channel of the Columbia River.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will close recreational salmon fishing in the Columbia River for at least two weeks, starting Friday morning, to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

This comes as Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife announced its decision to temporarily close recreational fishing and shell fishing statewide, in order to reflect Gov. Jay Inslee’s "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" oreder to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Since the two states jointly manage fisheries on the Columbia River, ODFW’s Public Information Officer Rick Swart said they want regulations to be consistent on both sides of the river. 

“When we adopt regulations and or seasons for the Columbia river the two states try to make the same regulations and the same season,” Swart said.

“We try to present a united front to the extent possible and for that reason there is a lot of collaboration and communication between the two states on the management of that river."

As of now, recreational salmon fishing in the Columbia River will be closed at least until April 8. Other fisheries in Oregon remain unchanged and fishing for species other than salmon and steelhead will still be allowed in portions of Oregon.

Swart said spring chinook fishing is a very big deal in the Pacific Northwest and said it’s one of the top three sport fisheries in the region. But he said most anglers understand the reasons for the closure.    

“It’s something that people look forward to all year, it's part of our culture and our practice in this region to get out in the Columbia river and to catch this big beautiful great eating fish,” Swart said.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Monica Samayoa is a reporter with OPB’s Science & Environment unit. Before OPB, Monica was an on-call general assignment reporter at KQED in San Francisco. She also helped produce The California Report and KQED Newsroom. Monica holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts from San Francisco State University.