Lower Columbia Springer Managers To Mull 4-day Extension

Lower Columbia salmon managers will mull a four-day extension of spring Chinook season below Bonneville Dam when they meet tomorrow morning.


Staffers at ODFW and WDFW are recommending the fishery stay open April 6-9, according to a fact sheet out late this afternoon. The initial season was set in February to run through April 5.

They say that through yesterday, about 551 adult springers out of the 3,906 upriver-origin fish available for harvest have been caught, and fishing today, Thursday and Friday will bring the total to 1,551, or 40 percent of the prerunsize update allocation, leaving plenty of room for a few more days of trolling and plunking.

“Based off a conservative modeling approach, kept catch associated with this recommendation is around 2,600 adult Chinook (including 2,150 upriver-origin Chinook mortalities). Total mortalities of upriver Chinook (3,701 adults) would represent 95% of the 3,906 mortalities available to the LCR recreational fishery prior to a run update,” the fact sheet states.

The brief inseason report also states that only 105 adult Chinook have been counted at Bonneville through yesterday, less than a quarter of the 10-year average. Weekly tangle net test fishing results have also been low so far.

“It is still very early in the return; the recent 5- and 10-year average proportions complete at Bonneville Dam are approximately 0.2% by April 2,” the fact sheet says.

The Columbia has been running at an average of 157,000 cubic feet per second, slightly more than the five-year average, with water temps also above recent averages, 47 degrees versus 43 degrees, and visibility at 6.6 feet, more than 12 inches better than usual over the past half decade.

The fact sheet states that a count of 84,700 adult springers at the dam would cover the sport extension and other allocations.

Stay tuned. Last year at this same time, agency staffers proposed two more days of fishing but ODFW’s Tucker Jones and WDFW’s Charlene Hurst ultimately OKed four.

Tomorrow’s meeting is slated to begin at 10 a.m. via teleconference. The managers will also consider commercial fisheries in off-channel bays closer to the mouth of the Columbia.