Lower Columbia Spring Chinook Fishery
by Mark Yuasa
The Lower Columbia River spring chinook fishery got off to good start earlier this week, but as of Wednesday the water conditions had started to get worse.
"The (Lower Columbia) was still decent with about one spring chinook for every eight boat rods on Monday, but the water conditions (below Willamette and Cowlitz) has gotten murky and the water flows really increased," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "The Willamette got some color and so does the Cowlitz."
Hymer says the overall water flow was up to 270,000 cubic feet per second at Bonneville Dam on Tuesday, which is almost double of what it had been earlier this month.
"Catches in the Cathlamet area had some good days with a fish per boat average, which is about as good as it gets," Hymer said. "We were seeing about half-a-fish per boat in other areas.
There was a little surge of spring chinook at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder with 145 on Monday, April 8, and 177 on Tuesday, April 9 for a total of 1,041 for the season.
"The 177 one day count was more than what we saw all of last year at this same time, which was 113," Hymer said. "But, this year's conditions and other factors are different, and the fish are crossing over in fairly good numbers and were seeing a catch of them at Drano Lake already."
With that said the Lower Columbia spring chinook sport fishery will close after this Friday, April 12. At this point, the state doesn't plan to reopen the Lower Columbia.
And just like Hymer mentioned the good news is more fish are moving above Bonneville and catches should begin to ramp up at Drano Lake, and possibly the Wind River and Klickitat River. Spring chinook forecasts for all three tributaries above Bonneville are down with 3,000 for the Wind (5,400 actually returned last year); 4,900 for Drano Lake (9,900); and 2,200 for Klickitat (2,1000).
HERE IS THE OREGON AND WASHINGTON DEPARTMENTS OF FISH AND WILDLIFE JOINT STAFF REPORT: WINTER/SPRING FISHERY UPDATE #1
April 9, 2013
Mainstem commercial (April 9 fishery): 1,222 allocated upriver mortalities; none actual; 1,140 planned; and 1,140 total.
Select Area commercial (actual thru 4/2; planned. thru 6/15): 148 allocated upriver mortalities; 26 actual; 122 planned; and 148 total.
Below Bonneville recreational (actual thru 4/7; planned thru 4/12): 4,934 allocated upriver mortalities; 2,597 actual; 1,887 planned; and 4,484 total.
Bonneville to OR/WA border recreational (actual through April 7): 658 allocated upriver mortalities; none actual; 658 planned; and 658 total.
Snake River recreational: 351 allocated upriver mortalities; none actual; 351 planned; and 351 total.
Wanapum Tribal: 12 allocated upriver mortalities; none actual; 12 planned; and 12 total.
Total: 7,325 allocated upriver mortalities; 2,623 actual; 4,170 planned; and 6,793 total.
Does not include minimal impacts for planned non-target fisheries (shad commercial and LCR mainstem recreational steelhead).
Staff is not proposing any hearings at this time. Staff will review fishery results early next week and provide another update Tuesday afternoon.
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