2 More Days For Columbia Springers Coming Up

Columbia spring Chinook fishing will reopen this Saturday and Sunday, and water conditions — while still not ideal — should be better than last weekend.

SPRING CHINOOK BOATS RUN UPSTREAM IN THE WESTERN COLUMBIA GORGE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Oregon and Washington salmon managers made the call this afternoon.

The river will be open in the same areas as before, Warrior Rock to Bonneville Dam, with only bank angling allowed above Beacon Rock.

Officials estimate that around 696 springers will be kept, and that will bring the cumulative mortalities on upriver-bound fish to 2,023 of the 3,689 available before a runsize update, or 55 percent of the quota.

The Columbia is still turbid, with today’s fact sheet reporting visibility at 2 feet, less than half the average, and is a degree below usual but flows are running at a less-than-typical 219,000 cubic feet per second and 10.0 feet at the Vancouver gauge, 6 feet below flood stage, which it hit right before last weekend’s opener.

“Both effort and catch were very low on April 13-14 due to poor water conditions,” the fact sheet stated.

Buzz Ramsey reported that viz didn’t look as good as was listed in the fact sheet, however, when he stopped by Dalton Point this afternoon, more like 1 foot.

“It’s not like it’s chocolate, but it’s brown,” he said.

Test netting this week saw a big jump in catches, with a total handle of 75 springers on Monday, more than twice as many as the four previous periods combined and well up from the seven of the week before.

“There might be a few fish caught, but I don’t think it will be overwhelming,” Ramsey forecasted about the April 20-21 fishery.

The reopener allows NSIA’s big Spring Fishing Classic to also be held on the Columbia instead of just the Willamette and other open tribs.

“We’re looking for people to sign up and fight the good fight for sportfishing,” Ramsey said.

A rules change this year will allow participants and teams to fish off the shore instead of just out of a boat.

“The banks might be the place to be. One thing is for sure, if I was fishing from the bank, I wouldn’t be casting too far,” Ramsey said.

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