Lower Columbia spring chinook fishery extended through April 10

Spring chinook anglers on the Lower Columbia River will get more time on the water as related to poor fishing conditions.

The spring chinook fishery – originally scheduled to close on April 6 – will now remain through April 10 below Bonneville Dam.

While a lot remains unknown there is a possibility that the fishery could see another extension if catches don’t improve. So far, only 53 hatchery-marked chinook (lower and upriver origin fish) have been kept by anglers through March 26.

As of March 26, catch estimates show that Washington state anglers had caught a total of 24 upriver spring chinook salmon, just a fraction of the expected harvest of 6,905 upriver chinook through April 6.

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“Between Oregon and Washington (department of fisheries) we sampled 700 anglers (this past week) who had two spring chinook,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “What you have to find is some clear water between the tributaries. Otherwise there are some people still fishing, but not having a lot of success.”

While sport anglers struggle it looks like good numbers of spring chinook (including upriver fish) are being caught in the test fishing in the Longview-Cathlamet area, Hymer reported.

Test fishing conducted on March 26 indicates chinook abundance on Lower Columbia mainstem is increasing, with 3.1 chinook per drift observed compared to 1.7 per drift on March 19. The peak rate observed in 2016 was 2.7 chinook per drift (April 3rd).

This year’s upriver spring chinook run to the Columbia River is predicted to be about 35 percent lower than in 2016 although still expected to be a relatively fairly good return.

Adult chinook passage at Bonneville Dam through March 27 totals 14 spring chinook. Based on the preseason forecast and 5-year average timing, about 200 fish would be expected…

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