Columbia River Mainstem Above Bonneville Dam
by Mark Yuasa
State Fish and Wildlife has decided to extend the Columbia River mainstem spring chinook fishery above Bonneville to remain open through May 1.
Originally the fishery between Bonneville Dam and the state line upstream of McNary Dam was supposed to close on April 24.
Bonneville Dam chinook passage through April 19 was only 1,803 spring chinook. Based on the recent 5-year average, which includes four late-timed years, passage is typically about 7-percent complete by this date and the average 50-percent passage date is May 8 (range May 1-12).
The 10-year average through April 19 is 48,532 spring chinook.
Catch and effort to date has been minimal, reflective of the low Bonneville Dam counts. Catch estimates through April 17 total 39 spring chinook kept and 24 released. Upriver chinook mortalities total is 41 fish, compared to 1,032 available pre-date.
In the meantime the lower river fishery closed on Tuesday, and fishing improved with catches up the two days before it closed.
It also appears that more upriver chinook were moving upstream of late.
The Lower Columbia River sport fishery ended about 75-percent of the pre-update, upriver catch balance number. The best catch rates occurred the last two days of the season, which was this past Monday and Tuesday. Oregon bank anglers enjoyed their best season in years.
Through April 19, there were an estimated 109,180 angler trips with 7,440 spring chinook kept and 1,939 released. An estimated 5,669 (76-percent) of the chinook kept were of upriver origin based on Visual Stock identification. In addition, 1,059 steelhead were kept and 530 were released.
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