Tag Archives: extension

5-day Springer Extension Yields 2,029 For BBQs; 4 More Days Coming

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.

Columbia Springer Season Extended Through April 10

Spring Chinook season on the Lower Columbia has been extended to April 10, and what happens after that depends on how managers play their hand.

While catches so far have been far below modeling, with all of 53 keepers through March 26, between the high, murky flows surging through Bonneville and downstream test catches, there is reason for hope.

“There are fish in the river; we just don’t know how to get to them,” says Joe Hymer, a supervising fisheries biologist in Vancouver.

Well, at least sport anglers. Boats using tangle nets to gauge the run size for long-term data bases found some.

Hymer reports that a fishery on the 26th near Cathlamet yielded 3.1 springers per drift, up from 1.7 on the 19th, and better than 2016’s peak of 2.7 on April 3.

The caveat to that is, it’s likely that low sport catches and pinniped predation probably helped make for an “abnormally high catch rate,” says Hymer.

“But we do know upper river fish are in the lower river,” he adds.

Today’s news comes out of a joint state hearing. The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association applauded Oregon’s and Washington managers decision to extend the fishery well ahead of the scheduled April 6 closure, which followed the organization’s request for an early announcement.

“The lack of fishing brought on by these river conditions has been particularly tough on the industry and we are deeply appreciative of how quickly ODFW and WDFW responded,” NSIA’s Liz Hamilton said in an email.

The extension also means the mainstem Columbia will be available for the organization’s important Spring Fishing Classic fundraiser on April 8.

Looking further down the road, Hymer says Oregon and Washington managers are looking at two options as the next week to 10 days play out.

If fishing conditions continue to be poor, it’s possible they’ll meet late next week and add days past April 10.

If it picks up, they could keep the river open through the 10th, close it and reassess the situation.

Before early to mid-May’s run-size update, the states are managing toward a cap of 6,905 above-Bonneville-bound springers, a figure which reflects a 30 percent buffer on a forecasted run of 160,400 to Eastern Washington, Northeast Oregon and Central Idaho tribs.

Of the 53 spring Chinook kept so far, 24 have been from the fishery-constraining upriver stocks, according to WDFW.

Hymer feels that this year’s run is being held back by extreme flows through Bonneville, as high as 460,000 cubic feet per second last Saturday. The dam count is all of 14 through March 26, tied for worst back through 1977, a review of records today showed.

But he thinks that once the fish start moving, they will move fast.

Portland guide Jack Glass posted on Facebook this afternoon that during high water during a season half a decade ago, he found success running two Fish Flashes. He’ll be giving a seminar tonight from 6-8 at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Southeast Portland of I-205.


Fishery managers extend spring Chinook season on lower Columbia

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The spring Chinook fishing season on the lower Columbia River has been extended through April 10 under rules adopted today by Oregon and Washington fishery managers. Managers cited poor fishing conditions and limited harvest to-date in making their decision to extend the season.

Under the rules adopted today, the Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank) plus bank angling only from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline will remain open for spring Chinook through Monday, April 10. The closure area near the mouth of the Lewis River remains in effect.

The daily bag limit is two adult salmonids per day, but only one may be a Chinook.  Only adipose fin-clipped fish may be kept; all sockeye must be released per permanent regulation. All other permanent regulations apply.  Anglers are reminded that under rules previously adopted, from March 16 through May 15 the mainstem Columbia River will be open for retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 Bridge and shad from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam only during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook.

Managers will be monitoring the fishery and plan to meet the week of April 10 to see if additional days can be added to the season.