Columbia River Reopens to Recreational Boats;
by Bill Monroe
The Columbia River below Bonneville Dam has reopened to all vessels, including recreational fishing boats.
The U.S. Coast Guard reopened the waterway Sunday evening after closing it earlier in the week because of the Eagle Creek fire complex burning south of Interstate 84 between Corbett and Hood River.
Interstate 84, however, remains closed east of Troutdale, leaving the only access for salmon fishing along Washington SR 14 east of Washougal.
Boaters and anglers may use the Hamilton Island recreational area on the Washington side of the river west of North Bonneville. Both the island and boat ramp are open, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland office.
Boaters (and campers) will also find Beacon Rock State Park reopened (Friday), although no burning is allowed. The park has a boat ramp and docks.
Anglers returned Monday morning to the Columbia below Bonneville as the fall chinook run peaks.
Fall chinook salmon also have been caught during the past week upriver from Bonneville at Drano Lake and the mouth of the Klickitat River.
At Bonneville Dam, meanwhile, fish counts are being reassembled after fire restrictions sent fish counters home from the counting station. Some counts were posted Monday from video tapes and counts at The Dalles Dam have been updated.
Boaters must pay special attention to firefighting efforts on the river, especially aircraft and specifically in the smokey, hazy conditions.
"We will still have active firefighting operations on the river," Lt. Commander Laura Springer of the U.S. Coast Guard said in a Monday morning briefing. "Please give them a wide berth -- at least 500 yards. They're here to do a job, and their work is essential to firefighting operations."
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