by Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times, April 16, 2011
The Lower Columbia River will remain open through April 19 for hatchery-marked spring chinook. The season was extended to give anglers more time to reach the initial harvest guideline set at the beginning of the season.
Test fisheries have found relatively high concentrations of spring chinook salmon in the lower river, but water conditions have slowed their passage over Bonneville Dam and made them hard to catch.
Through April 15, lower-river anglers are projected to have caught and kept a total of 5,900 spring chinook, including 4,600 upriver fish that count toward the 7,700-fish harvest guideline.
This year's harvest guideline for the lower river fisheries is based on a projected return of 198,400 upriver fish, minus a 30 percent "buffer" to guard against overestimating the run. Based on the estimated catch through April 19, the fishery will close with a buffer of approximately 43 percent.
Fisheries managers don't expect it to stay open after April 19. Fisheries managers will meet on April 20 to discuss spring chinook seasons above Bonneville Dam, which is open daily through April 24.
The exception is the area along the south shoreline of Little Goose Dam upstream to the juvenile-bypass return pipe, where anglers may retain only one adult chinook and one jack per day. Anglers fishing in that area must stop fishing for the day once they catch and keep one adult spring chinook.
Anglers must use barbless hooks and release all steelhead, and all spring chinook with an intact adipose fin.
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