6 More Days For Columbia Springer Anglers Starting Friday


Columbia spring Chinook managers approved six more days of fishing for the hatchery salmon below Bonneville Dam and the gorge pools above there.

Fishing will reopen this Friday through next Wednesday, May 19-24, under most of the previous rules, except that the downstream boundary is moved from Buoy 10 to the Tongue Point line.


After hearing from members of the Columbia salmon fishing world, ODFW’s John North and WDFW’s Charlene Hurst added a day to their agencies’ staff recommendation of five days, May 20-24.

Today’s fact sheet said that under that five-day timeframe, Lower Columbia anglers would be expected to handle around 1,900 adult springers, with 1,520 kept overall and 1,170 kept and release mortalities among the constraining above-Bonneville-bound salmon, bringing the catch to 44 percent of the preseason allocation.

State modeling suggested catches of 380 and 308 this weekend and 185- to 200-fish days during the workweek, though sportfishing representatives said that higher, dirtier Columbia flows “wouldn’t be favorable to finding success.”

At Cascade Island below the dam, the river is running at more than 400,000 cubic feet per second, about 100,000 cfs more than the 10-year average.

Above the dam in the upper Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day Pools, fishermen were expected to handle 250 springers with 188 kept and 194 upriver mortalities, bringing the allocation to 80 percent filled, in the proposed five-day fishery. Add a couple dozen or so with the Friday reopener instead.


While earlier this week the US v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee downgraded the upriver run to a “minimum” of 139,000 at the mouth of the Columbia, indicators suggest that will rise. TAC’s Stuart Ellis said that count patterns, run timing and environmental conditions have made it a “challenging run to update,” but said there should be more runsize changes through spring.

The return has been late in moving upstream past the first counting station at Bonneville, causing some consternation about the preseason forecast of 198,000 and change, but the early fishery was based on a buffered runsize prediction that matches the inseason forecast and which left 73 percent of the quota on the plate below the dam.

Some guides and members of the angling industry had called for a reopener as soon as possible and leaving the season open after next Wednesday. Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association said that starting Thursday and having a meeting early next week to check in on catches and dam counts would provide “room for fishing and still provide a cautious approach” to managing the run and fishery.

As it stands, state managers have requested another hearing next Wednesday afternoon “to consider additional non-treaty spring Chinook fisheries.”

And about moving the downstream boundary from Buoy 10 to the Tongue Point-Rocky Point Line, ODFW’s Jimmy Watts explained that has been used for the deadline of salmon fisheries in May, June and July to protect outmigrating Chinook smolts.



CLACKAMAS, Ore.—Following an in-season assessment of the upriver spring Chinook return, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon added six additional fishing days for recreational spring Chinook (Friday, May 19-Wednesday, May 24) both upstream and downstream of Bonneville Dam during a joint state hearing today.

Passage of this year’s run appears to be timed late as just over 28,000 adult spring Chinook had passed Bonneville Dam as of May 7, when about 40 percent of passage is typically complete. But since May 8, passage has picked up considerably with more than 55,000 adults counted in nine days, likely due to warmer river temperatures and more stable flows.

Fishery biologists with the U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) are now expecting the upriver return to be at least 139,000 adult Chinook (which would be a reduction from the pre-season forecast of 198,600). Due to the uncertainty surrounding the actual abundance of this year’s upriver spring Chinook return and fishery performance, fishery managers are recommending some opportunity now while fish abundance is still high, and additional opportunity may be added during a hearing next week.

Season dates, bag limits, areas for the days added follow:

Downstream of Bonneville Dam

  • Season: Friday, May 19 through Wednesday, May 24 (6 days)
  • Area: Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank) plus bank angling only from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline. Legal upstream boat boundary defined as: a deadline marker on the Oregon bank (approximately four miles downstream from Bonneville Dam Powerhouse One) in a straight line through the western tip of Pierce Island to a deadline marker on the Washington bank at Beacon Rock.
  • Daily Bag Limit: Two adult hatchery salmonids (Chinook or steelhead) per day, but only one may be a Chinook.
  • All other permanent regulations apply.

Bonneville Dam to Oregon/Washington Border

  • Season: Friday, May 19 through Wednesday, May 24 (6 days)
  • Area: Tower Island power lines (approximately six miles downstream from The Dalles Dam) upstream to Oregon/Washington border, plus the Oregon and Washington banks between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.
  • Daily Bag Limit: Two adult hatchery salmonids (Chinook or steelhead) per day, but only one may be a Chinook.
  • All other permanent regulations apply.

Columbia River spring Chinook salmon seasons are driven by balancing opportunity with Endangered Species Act limitations, provisions in the management agreement between the states, Columbia River tribes, and the federal government that specify the total harvest guideline of upriver-origin spring Chinook, and guidance from the Oregon and Washington Fish and Wildlife commissions regarding allocations among the non-treaty fisheries.

Fishery managers will meet again on Wednesday, May 24 at 1 p.m. to consider the latest information on catch rates and abundance expectations and will determine if more fishing days can be added during the spring season, which ends on June 15.

Summer season fishing on the mainstem Columbia River opens June 16 with Chinook retention open upstream and downstream of Bonneville Dam.

Anglers are reminded that, effective March 1 through June 15, on days when the mainstem Columbia River recreational fishery below Bonneville Dam is open to retention of Chinook, the daily salmonid bag limit in Oregon and Washington Select Areas will be the same as mainstem Columbia River bag limits.

For the latest on Columbia River fishing regulations and a look at the upcoming fall and summer seasons, visit https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone