Lower Columbia Managers Provide Spring Chinook Fishery Update

Lower Columbia anglers caught an estimated 2,900 hatchery spring Chinook through April 4, the last day of the initial season, including 90 percent of the above-Bonneville-bound fish available in the early quota, and it doesn’t look like there’s any chance of a reopener for a month.


“Given the balance available on the upriver spring Chinook guideline (228 mortalities) is less than what would be expected for even a one-day season extension, additional harvest opportunity is not anticipated until after an upriver run size update from the U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee, which typically occurs by mid-May,” a joint ODFW-WDFW fact sheet out late this afternoon reports.

Per state salmon managers, anglers made 42,730 trips through this past Sunday, finding relatively good fishing conditions, thanks to below-average flows, slightly above average water temperatures and better visibility than usual, at least in recent days, per the fact sheet.

The overall preliminary catch of around 2,900 adult springers includes an estimated 1,978 mortalities of Chinook headed for tributaries above Bonneville; prior to a run update, 2,206 of those ESA-listed fish were available for harvest.

This year’s forecast is for 75,200 upriver springers; managers use a 30 percent buffer when setting seasons in case the run comes in smaller than expected.

Dam counts have been on the low side so far, with 204 adults through as of yesterday, about one third of the five-year average of 596, but more than twice as many as the recent three-year average, 88.

Tangle net test fishing results have been low but somewhat comparable to 2019 and 2018; last year only saw two test periods before Covid cancelled the monitoring, according to the fact sheet.

Commercial fisheries in the Select Area waters near the mouth of the Columbia have netted 305 springers, just over half of the five-year average, with 64 percent of those visually inspected and 94 percent of those determined to be lower-river salmon, the fact sheet states.

Meanwhile, the Columbia from Bonneville upstream to the Oregon-Washington border east of McNary Dam remains open for hatchery springers, as does Oregon’s lower Willamette River and Multnomah Channel and Washington’s Lewis, Drano and Klickitat, though limits have been reduced at the latter two.