The decision by Oregon and Washington to remove gillnets from the Columbia River will, simply put, mean more fish for sportfishing.
Don’t expect much to change immediately, but over the course of the next few years, the commercial fleet will be transitioned to the side channels of Youngs Bay on the Oregon side and Deep River on the Washington side. Fisheries managers plan to look for additional net pet locations, but for the time being, these locations will house the remaining fishing for the gillnet fleet.
Allocation has always been an issue between sport and commercial gillnets on the Columbia River. That fight, at least for the time being, appears to be over, but the transition period to permanent allocation levels will take a few years.
Of course there’s still much to come out in the wash on this decision like Sockeye and Steelhead allocation. But if you consider many of the opportunities coming to fruition from the Chief Joseph hatchery and the new allocation splits, Columbia River sportfishermen have a lot to be excited about.