2024 Lower Columbia Springer Update

Lower Columbia spring Chinook anglers caught 60 percent of the initial quota of upriver-origin hatchery kings available in the fishery that ran through April 11, according to an update out late this afternoon from state salmon managers.


No reopener is currently scheduled, but the check-in from ODFW and WDFW at least offers a glimpse into how well the early season produced, as well as details river conditions and fish passage indications so far.

Here are select out-takes from the report:


• As of April 17, the recent five-day average outflow at Bonneville Dam is 184 kcfs compared to the five-year average of 171 kcfs. The current five-day average water temperature at Bonneville Dam is 50°F compared to the five-year average temperature of 48°F. The five-day average visibility at Bonneville Dam is 6.4 feet which is greater than the five-year average of 4.7 feet.


• Adult Chinook passage at Bonneville Dam through April 17 totals 1,595 adult fish, compared to the recent 10-year average of 4,363 fish and the recent five-year average cumulative adult count of 1,118 fish (range 321–2,239). It is still very early in the return; the recent 10-year average proportion complete at Bonneville Dam is approximately 2.1% by April 17. Based on the recent ten-year average, Bonneville Dam passage is usually 50% complete by May 11.

• Weekly test fishing in the lower Columbia River using tangle nets began on March 18 this year, with five weeks completed to date. Weekly catch rates have been 0.1, 0.3, 0.2, 0.5 and 1.8 Chinook per drift. All test fishing results are available on the WDFW test fishing webpage (click here).


Columbia River Recreational Spring Chinook Fishery – Downstream of Bonneville Dam

• The lower Columbia River (LCR) mainstem recreational spring Chinook fishery was open under temporary regulations from March 1 – April 11 between Buoy 10 and Bonneville Dam.

• Water conditions were favorable (low and clear) throughout the season and the river temperature was warmer than average.

• The preliminary kept catch is estimated to be about 3,460 adult spring Chinook from approximately 41,300 angler trips.

• Total mortalities of upriver-origin spring Chinook in this fishery are preliminarily estimated to be 2,334 adult Chinook, or 60% of the 3,906 available to this fishery prior to a run-size update.

• During the Compact/Joint State Hearing on April 4, 2024, based on the fishery performance to date, the states extended the LCR recreational fishery for four additional days past the scheduled closure date of April 5 to allow for additional opportunity before catches became too volatile in mid to late April. Although catch and effort increased during this extension period, an adequate balance of upriver spring Chinook mortalities remained which allowed the states to extend the fishery an additional two days (through April 11) via Joint State Action.

• With abundance building in the lower river, and the potential for very high catch rates, fishery managers are not prepared to consider additional fishing time until a time closer to the upriver spring Chinook run-size update. The run-size update is provided by the U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee and typically occurs in mid-May, when substantial numbers of upriver spring Chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam. The Joint State Staff will continue to evaluate the return and make recommendations for additional angling opportunity if appropriate.

Columbia River Spring Chinook Recreational Fishery – Bonneville Dam to OR/WA Border

• The recreational spring Chinook fishery is currently open under temporary regulations through May 2 in the mainstem Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to the OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam). The pre-run-update allocated catch is 558 upriver Chinook mortalities.

• Through April 15, no catch has been observed from approximately 18 angler trips in the recreational fishery upstream of Bonneville Dam.

By comparison, at this same point last April, springer anglers had caught just 26 percent of the upriver-origin Chinook quota of 6,487 available prior to May’s runsize update. WDFW and ODFW managers eventually reopened fishing for six days in mid-May then 11 days that bled over into early June in reaction to the room in the quota and then a surge of springers up the river that helped boost the lower river’s allocation.