Editor’s note: This was our annual April Fools day story.
Break out your Clouser Minnows, Buoy 10 salmon anglers.
Increasingly desperate Columbia River salmon managers are considering a fly-fishing-only fishery there starting this August.
They say it is the best way to minimize impacts on a lower return of tule and upriver bright fall Chinook and coho and keep the fishery open throughout the month and across the Labor Day weekend.
Yet it would be a huge change for fishermen more used to trolling around with herring or salmon-sized spinners in the estuary of the big river.
Instead of cut-plugs, flashers and 8-ounce cannonballs, they would need to bring sinking lines, 10-weight rods and flashy tinsel streamer patterns to Astoria and Ilwaco at the end of this summer if it comes to pass.
The “good” news is that under that scenario the daily limit would be as many as five salmon, only two of which could be a Chinook, but the managers’ proposal is seeing strong pushback.
“This is not exactly A River #@$&*# Runs Through It water down there,” said one exasperated lower river guide. “I mean, do they even make rodholders for Sages?!”
Sportfishing organizations are confirming the developments and actively lobbying against it, while groups like WFS and NFC are said to be preparing lawsuits if the states and feds don’t go their preferred route.
Hedging their bets, a large local fishing tackle company is said to be rushing an articulated crippled herring with marabou, Flashabou, Krystal Flash and a bjg horkin’ beadhead into production in case the fly-only rule comes to pass.
“This is utterly flabbergasting to us too, but the prototype is yielding some results on springers, so who knows, maybe it’ll work on fall kings,” said production manager Al Floorips with a shoulder shrug.