OLYMPIA - Anglers will have one more day - Saturday (April 19) - to fish for spring chinook salmon on the lower Columbia River prior to an updated assessment of the run size.
The chinook fishery will be open to boat and bank fishing from Buoy 10 upriver to Rooster Rock. Bank fishing will also be allowed from Rooster Rock upriver to the fishing boundary below Bonneville Dam.
Anglers may retain one hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily catch limit. Barbless hooks are required, and any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin must be released.
Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon approved the one-day extension after a week in which anglers caught 6,500 upriver spring chinook, boosting the total catch for the season in the lower Columbia River to 7,880 upriver fish
One more day of fishing is expected to bring the catch levels up to 95 percent of the initial harvest guideline of 10,157 fish, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
"Catch levels tend to skyrocket at this time of the year," Roler said. "As in years past, fishing started out slow this season, but you wouldn't know that by what we're seeing out there right now."
Prior to the start of this year's fishing season, fishery managers estimated that approximately 227,000 upriver spring chinook salmon would return to the Columbia River this year.
Anglers may get additional opportunities to catch spring chinook salmon later this spring, depending on how that estimate compares to the updated forecast planned in the next few weeks, Roler said.
"If the fish return at or above expectations, we will look at providing additional days of fishing on the river later this spring," he said.
The extended fishing season in the lower Columbia River does not affect the spring chinook season above Bonneville Dam, currently open through May 9 under regulations described on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.