Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing
by Mark Yuasa
Washington and Oregon fisheries managers are meeting today (Wednesday, Jan. 29) in Vancouver to decide on possible Columbia River hatchery spring chinook fishing seasons, and the proposal indicates anglers will get 36 days below Bonneville Dam and 55 days above Bonneville.
The proposal for the Lower Columbia River up to Bonneville Dam would be to open sport fishing from March 1 to April 7, and closed for commercial fishing on March 25 and April 1.
The Lower Columbia kept catch would be 12,400 adtul fish under 106,000 angler trips.
The Columbia River from above Bonneville to the Washington-Oregon border east of McNary Dam would be open from March 16 through May 9. The kept catch would be 1,325 adult fish.
The daily limit would be two-salmon and only one may be a hatchery chinook.
Here is a link to the joint-state fisheries fact sheet.
The lower river is currently open for hatchery spring chinook below the I-5 Bridge.
"There are no confirmed catches yet," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist who points out that it is not uncommon to see early springer catches in January and February.
The decisions from today's meeting comes on the heels of a 2014 upriver Columbia River spring chinook prediction of 227,100 compared to a forecast last year of 141,400 and an actual return of 123,100. If the run actually pans out then it would be the fifth-largest return since 1980.
The breakdown is the Upper Columbia portion of the spring chinook forecast is 24,100 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 14,300 and an actual return of 18,000.
The Snake River spring/summer component of the spring Chinook forecast is 125,000 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 58,200 and an actual return of 67,300.
The Snake River wild spring chinook forecast is 42,200 in 2014 compared to a forecast last year of 18,900 and an actual return of 21,900.
The Wind is expecting 8,500 spring chinook compared to a forecast last year of 3,000 and an actual return of 3,600. At Drano the tally is 13,100, up considerably from 4,900 and 7,300. The Klickitat will see a slight bump with 2,500 compared to 2,200 and 1,800.
In the Lower Columbia, the Willamette River on the Oregon side, is expecting 58,700 spring chinook (59,800 was forecasted in 2013 and the actual return was 47,300). The Cowlitz forecast is 7,800 (5,500 and 9,500); Kalama is 500 (700 and 1,300); and Lewis is 1,100 (1,600 and 1,800).
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