Excellent Spring Chinook Catches in
by Mark Yuasa
This is prime time to head above Bonneville Dam and hook into some excellent spring chinook fishing!
The fisheries advisory group that oversees fish management in the Columbia River says the forecast of 198,400 spring chinook is tracking like it should be.
I say a shout out goes to better late than never! Although I wish that darn Lower Columbia was better back in April and late March when many of us thought they'd be there. FYI: It may reopen May 16 so stay tuned.
Here is the latest checks from state Fish and Wildlife:
In the Wind River including fish released, boat anglers averaged nearly two-thirds of a fish per rod, an outstanding catch rate for spring chinook. Effort has been heavy. A sea lion has been reported at the mouth of the Wind.
In Drano Lake boat anglers were averaging nearly two-thirds of a spring chinook kept/released per rod here too. Bank anglers were averaging a fish per about every three rods. Effort has been heavy with 160 boats counted here last Saturday, May 7.
In the Klickitat River bank anglers on the lower river were catching some spring chinook and summer run steelhead. Flows at Pitt are currently 2,563 cfs, which is slightly higher than the long term mean for this date. Flows are expected to rise in the next couple days.
In the Yakima River, Paul Hoffarth, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Pasco say his staff conducted a creel survey on the Lower Yakima River on Sunday, May 8. Only one angler was fishing for salmon. The angler was taking advantage of the two-pole endorsement that was listed as a provision of this fishery. No fish were reported caught. All other anglers were fishing for smallmouth bass.
In the Bonneville Pool it has been excellent for spring chinook just outside the mouth of Drano where bank anglers averaged a fish per rod based mainly on completed trips. Bank anglers at Cascade Locks were also catching some fish though a sea lion is causing some problems there too.
In The Dalles Pool including fish released, bank and boat anglers averaged just under half a spring chinook per rod.
In the John Day Pool anglers had a good weekend of spring chinook fishing. An estimated 476 adult hatchery spring chinook were harvested in the John Day Pool (Lake Umatilla) this past weekend and 58 wild adult chinook were caught and released.
Reminder - Anglers may fish for hatchery chinook and hatchery steelhead from the Tower Island power lines in Bonneville Pool upstream to the Oregon and Washington border, plus the Washington bank between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines located approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam, through tomorrow May 10.
The Ringold area "Bank Only" sport fishery for spring chinook opened May 1. Angler effort remained low during the week with less than 6 anglers per hour fishing for salmon.
State Fish and Wildlife interviewed 23 anglers fishing for salmon this past week. One hatchery and two wild fish were reported caught. Based on the effort an estimated four hatchery adult chinook were harvested and six wild adult chinook were released for the week. No other fish were reported in the catch. No chinook have entered the Ringold Hatchery trap to date.
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