Springer Limits Reduced On 2 Columbia Gorge Tribs, But Not At Drano

Even as springer limits are being reduced on a pair of nearby waters, anglers will still be able to keep two hatchery Chinook a day at Drano Lake.

AUSTIN RODRIGUEZ SHOWS OFF A VERY NICE SPRING CHINOOK FROM DRANO LAKE, CAUGHT LAST SEASON ON A PRAWN SPINNER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

“Right now we don’t think there’s any need to change the rules,” said WDFW fisheries biologist Matt Gardner this afternoon.

Some 5,600 of the year’s first salmon are expected to return to the drowned Columbia Gorge trib and that will be enough for fishermen as well as meet broodstock needs.

But it’s a different story on the Wind, to the west, and the Klickitat, to the east.

Yesterday Gardner’s agency sent out e-regs dropping the limit to one a day on each of those systems to ensure that enough fish return to the hatcheries to meet eggtake goals while also still providing anglers some opportunity.

The forecast calls for 2,600 to the Wind, but just 1,100 to the Klick.

While Drano’s return is projected to be “slightly less” than its 10-year average, the former river’s is less than half while the latter’s is just a bit more than 50 percent of where it’s been over the past decade.

Springer returns throughout the Columbia system are low this year, forcing closures on some rivers. Managers blame poor ocean conditions that outmigrating smolts experienced as they went to sea. The Pacific has just begun to become more productive for salmon.

So far, just five Chinook have been counted at Bonneville this year through Wednesday, well below the 10-year average of 88, but the river has been running at a frigid 39 though flows are lower than average.

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