Lower Columbia Closed for Spring Chinook,by Mark Yuasa
The spring chinook fishery finally picked up along the Lower Columbia River just as the fishery came to an end on Sunday (April 23) below Bonneville Dam.
State fisheries officials met Wednesday, and while the catch totals remain a hair under the guideline it has been decided to hang it up until a run-size occurs sometime in the middle of next month.
Through Sunday (April 23) an estimated 61,020 angler trips have been taken on the Lower Columbia with a kept catch of 8,947 adult chinook. Based on Visual Stock Identification (VSI), 2,465 were lower river stock fish and 6,482 were upriver stock. Another 929 adult chinook were released.
Between April 20-23, Lower Columbia anglers made 26,936 trips and caught 6,355 adult spring chinook (5,784 kept and 571 released) and 43 steelhead (30 kept and 13 released). Based on VSI sampling, upriver spring chinook comprised just over 75 percent of the kept catch.
Before any run update the allocation of upriver fish (including release mortalities) for non-treaty fisheries is 6,905 fish for the sport fishery below Bonneville Dam.
That leaves a catch of just under 500 fish still on the table, which isn't enough to reopen a sport fishery at this time.
Spring chinook counts at Bonneville Dam have jumped although they are still lagging behind historical figures, and much of that is due to the high, turbulent, murky and chilly waters in the lower river that has likely stalled fish migration.
Through Wednesday (April 26), a total of 2,344 spring chinook have moved above Bonneville Dam. Daily counts were 271 on Wednesday; 341 on Tuesday; 215 on Monday; 245 on Sunday; and 175 on Saturday.
Those looking for places to fish for spring chinook can still pursue these prized fish on the Columbia River mainstem from Bonneville to the Washington-Oregon boundary line through May 5. The daily limit is one hatchery-marked chinook.
The Willamette River in Oregon is open and some fish are starting to appear in catches. The Cowlitz and Kalama are two options where fair success for a mix steelhead and spring chinook has been reported. Catches in tributaries above Bonneville like the Wind River up to Highway 14 Bridge and Drano Lake has been spotty although the first signs of spring chinook were caught in the latter this past week. The Lower Yakima opens for hatchery spring chinook on Friday (April 28), but wait for this fishery to blossom later next month. Some sections of the Snake River will also open Friday (April 28) or Sunday (April 30) and offer some windows of opportunity each week, and here to the fishery won't blossom until dam counts increase upriver.
For more information on dates open and regulations for the Snake River spring chinook, go to www.seattletimes.com/sports/snake-river-opens-soon-for-spring-chinook-during-certain-days-of-the-week-but-wont-peak-until-later-in-may/.
In the Bonneville section from the Columbia Gorge from Bonneville Dam downstream to the eastern tip of Reed Island, 743 boats with 2,541 anglers caught 1,339 spring chinook and released 104; 109 Oregon bank anglers caught no fish; and 1,202 Washington bank anglers caught 168 spring chinook and released 28.
In the Camas/Washougal section from eastern tip of Reed Island downstream to the western tip of Lemon Island (includes the mouth of the Sandy and Washougal rivers), 1,263 boats with 2,625 anglers caught 248 spring chinook and released 16; and 23 Oregon bank anglers caught no fish.
In I-5 section from western tip of Lemon Island downstream to light #40 on the eastern tip of Sauvie Island (includes the mouth of the Willamette River), 1,169 boats with 2,979 anglers caught 305 spring chinook and three steelhead, and released 36 spring chinook; and 15 Washington bank anglers caught no fish.
In the Vancouver section from Light #40 at the eastern tip of Sauvie Island downstream to Warrior Rock Light at the western tip of Sauvie Island, 3,538 boats with 9,048 anglers caught 1,210 spring chinook and released 162 spring chinook and four steelhead; and 2,323 Oregon bank anglers caught 248 spring chinook and six steelhead, and released 38 spring chinook, and 933 Washington bank anglers caught 60 spring chinook and six steelhead, and released six steelhead.
In the Woodland section from Warrior Rock Light downstream to Deer Island light #62 (includes the mouth of the Lewis River and entrance to the Multnomah Channel), 2,128 boats with 5,461 anglers caught 1,061 spring chinook and released 118 spring chinook; 2,308 Oregon bank anglers caught 141 spring chinook and three steelhead, and released 17 spring chinook; and 203 Washington bank anglers caught 22 spring chinook, and released three.
In the Kalama section from Deer Island light #62 downstream to Prescott Moorage (includes the mouth of the Kalama River), 1,196 boats with 3,121 anglers caught 503 spring chinook and six steelhead, and released 48 spring chinook and three steelhead; 105 Oregon bank anglers caught nine spring chinook and released nine; and 364 Washington bank anglers caught no fish.
In Cowlitz section from Prescott Moorage downstream to the Longview Bridge (includes the mouth of the Cowlitz River), 483 boats with 1,230 anglers caught 161 spring chinook and released 22; and 1,294 Oregon bank anglers caught 115 spring chinook and five steelhead, and released five spring chinook.
In the Longview section from Longview Bridge downstream to the western tip of Wallace Island, 1,907 boats with 4,232 anglers caught 703 spring chinook and seven steelhead, and released 80 spring chinook; 2,122 Oregon bank anglers caught 198 spring chinook and 38 steelhead, and released 51 spring chinook and 13 steelhead, and 381 Washington bank anglers caught 10 spring chinook, and released five steelhead.
In the Cathlamet section from western tip of Wallace Island downstream to the western tip of Puget Island, 982 boats with 2,505 anglers caught 845 spring chinook, and four steelhead, and released 48 spring chinook and seven steelhead; 1,406 Oregon bank anglers caught 148 spring chinook and 20 steelhead, and released 13 spring chinook; and 166 Washington bank anglers caught no fish.
In the Cathlamet to Rocky Point/Tongue Point Line section from western tip of Puget Island downstream to Buoy 10 (the legal boundary of the Pacific Ocean), 2,136 boats with 4,970 anglers caught 1,397 spring chinook and released 127; 113 Oregon bank anglers caught 11 spring chinook; and 52 Washington bank anglers caught no fish.
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs