Editor’s note: Updated 3:40 p.m., April 18, 2017 at bottom
Catches surged during the recently concluded five-day extension of Columbia spring Chinook season.
An estimate from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Jimmy Watt’s says that from April 13 through the 17th, 2,264 of the early salmon were caught and 2,029 were kept across nearly 12,000 angler trips.
With 70 percent of those springers bound for tribs above Bonneville, that brings the upriver tally to 2,119 out of the 6,905 available before the runsize update.
Overall, 3,163 kings have been kept this season, a figure which includes fish that would have turned off into the Cowlitz, Kalama and Willamette.
Boaters have accounted for 2,616 of those, Oregon bankees 340 and Washington plunkers 146.
All except 61 were bonked in April.
Huge, cold flows appear to have slowed the run down.
“The 503 adult spring Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam through April 16 are the second lowest on record since at least 1939,” reported fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver this morning. “The record low are the 205 fish counted through April 16, 2006.”
Still, anglers have been catching fish, but in a different spot than usual.
Catch tallies show 589 carded in Zone 10, below Cathlamet, followed by 502 below the Lewis (beware the closure around the trib mouth), 424 from the Willamette to the Lewis, and 317 around the Puget Island reach.
Buzz Ramsey at Yakima Bait has been keeping a close eye on the fishery, forwarding his pics and those of guides catching kings on anchor with M2 Flatfish and trolling herring and Fish Flashes.
Fishing is closed for springers on the Columbia at the moment, but scheduled to reopen this coming Thursday through Sunday, April 20-23.
Managers had planned to hold a teleconference tomorrow afternoon at 1 to go over the fishery and run status, but subsequently cancelled it. They say they may hold one April 26 to review things.