Spring Chinook Action Picking Up
by Mark Yuasa
Bass and walleye catches also improved.
Here are the southwest Washington creel checks from state Fish and Wildlife, and spring chinook catches in the tributaries above Bonneville Dam have started to increase and now is the time to go!
Walleye and bass are also biting above in The Dalles and John Day pools.
Anglers in the Cowlitz River are catching spring chinook in the lower river, and at the barrier dam while steelhead are primarily being caught at the trout hatchery.
Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 985 winter-run and seven summer-run steelhead, 19 spring chinook adults and eight jacks during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 50 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook salmon into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and they released five winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 10,500 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 2. Water visibility is seven feet.
Anglers in the Kalama River near the mouth were catching some spring chinook while some winter and summer run steelhead are being caught upriver. No spring chinook have returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery through May 2 though few if any fish would be expected at this time.
Effort continues to be light in the Lewis River, although some spring chinook reported caught at the mouth.
As of Monday (May 2), a total of 21 adult spring chinook have returned to the Merwin Dam trap. Based upon early, average, and late run timing, 14, 154, or 497 fish would have expected to return by this time, respectively.
Boat anglers in the Washougal River were catching some summer run steelhead, and slower for bank anglers.
In the Wind River effort and catch is rapidly increasing. About 120 boats counted here Sunday morning. Some days creel checks have been over a fish per boat average. Five spring chinook have been passed at the Shipherd Falls through April 27.
In Drano Lake effort and catch is also increasing here. On Sunday morning there were about 100 boats. Daily creel checks have been over a fish per boat average at times.
In the White Salmon River it has been light angler effort and no catch reported.
In the Klickitat River a few summer run steelhead and spring chinook reported caught.
In the Columbia mainstem from Bonneville Dam to the Washington/Oregon state line - An estimated 453 adult spring chinook were kept and 165 were released from over 3,000 angler trips for the fishing season that ended May 1. Most of the catch occurred this last week in The Dalles Pool.
In the Ringold area of the Columbia River, state Fish and Wildlife biologist Paul Hoffarth in Pascosays the "bank only" sport fishery for spring chinook got off to a slow start. May 1 was opening day with a peak angler count of four. Last year the peak count was over 60 anglers. One angler did report catching and releasing five hatchery steelhead. No chinook have entered the Ringold Hatchery trap to date.
As for sturgeon in the Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam some legal size fish were being caught in the Vancouver area. The 98 boats and 41 bank anglers found during the Saturday, April 30 effort flight count was nearly identical to the previous weekend.
Slow for legal size fish in The Dalles Pool. In the John Day Pool, three boats with eight anglers fishing for sturgeon released three fish (open for catch and release only).
In The Dalles Pool boat anglers averaged just under three walleye kept and six bass kept/released per rod. Bank anglers were also catching some bass.
In the John Day Pool three boats with six anglers fishing for walleye had 19 fish. Three boats with seven anglers fishing for bass had three bass and one walleye.
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