Columbia salmon managers OKed a two-day spring Chinook opener for the gorge pools upstream to the Washington-Oregon border this weekend.
While ODFW’s Tucker Jones expressed confidence given yesterday’s big 4,807-fish jump at Bonneville that the lower river could have also been opened, there was no support for it among the recreational advisors, guides and members of the public during a conference call this afternoon.
Upriver tribes also expressed concern about potential high catch rates that fishery might have and that a federal hatchery in Leavenworth was only expected to get half the broodstock it needed.
Jones’ WDFW counterpart Bill Tweit said he was hopeful for additional opportunity below the dam too, but was less optimistic about the run, which at 25,073 is the second lowest in the last 10 years and just 28 percent of the 10-year average.
A technical committee says it’s still too early to provide a reliable runsize update; the forecast was for 99,300.
Downriver test fishing this week saw Chinook catches drop compared to the previous week too.
With anglers expected to land about 113 springers a day, Jones and Tweit approved a Saturday-Sunday fishery on the Columbia from the Tower Island powerlines below The Dalles Dam upstream to the state line, plus bank fishing from Bonneville to the powerlines.
It had been proposed by state staffers as a Saturday -Monday opener, but Tweit was nervous about how close that would bring the catch to the 492-fish quota and suggested two days instead, which Jones agreed with.
He anticipates the run will come in strong enough to cover fisheries so far and Tweit noted that every day’s dam counts provided crucial information on the return.
It’s likely that a fact sheet will come out next Wednesday to just update the run size and gorge pools’ catches.
Under the preseason forecast and 30 percent buffer, the lower river quota of above-Bonneville springer mortalities is 3,689, of which 40 percent or 1,471 have been taken during the March, early April and three weekend openers.