Columbia Spring Chinook Run Late? MIA?
by Bill Monroe
The Oregonian, March 31, 2009
Where are the fish?
Biologists are beginning to wonder as success rates lag among the sport and commercial fishing fleets between Hayden Island in Portland and Bonneville Dam.
Or is everyone just over-eager and out of patience?
Gill-netters on Sunday (bad day; more on that later) caught relatively few hatchery spring chinook and the sport fleet before that also had limited success.
So will this year's run prove a disappointment against last year's high jack counts? Or is it just a late-timed run like most have been in the past several years.
Cold, high water hasn't seemed to help either the bite or the migration and warmer weather isn't due for a few more days (at least).
Some of the best fishing, in fact, has been early on the Willamette, where the run is expected to be depressed (again).
It's still too soon to call anything on the prediction of high numbers for the Columbia.
But numbers at Bonneville Dam (still well under 100 a day) definitely have everyone's attention.
Sailboat netted: Fish managers deferred to criticism from anglers about allowing net days too close to legal sport fishing days (Wednesday through Saturday) on the Columbia and set net seasons on Sunday.
That proved a problem this past Sunday for at least one sailboat (weekend day, gorgeous sailing weather, Portland/Vancouver's broadest reach of sailing water, etc.) that apparently fouled in a gill-net and lost part of its mast on the Interstate 5 Bridge.
Don't be surprised if Oregon and Washington revisit the netting issue and move them back to a less-crowded weekday.
As hard as it may be to understand, it's not likely nets have much effect on sport fishing no matter what day they're in the river.
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