OLYMPIA – Low salmon counts at Bonneville Dam have prompted Washington and Oregon fish managers to close spring chinook fishing on the mainstem of the lower Columbia River beginning Friday (April 14).
Spring chinook fishing downstream of the Interstate 5 bridge will close at 12:01 a.m., April 14. The closure includes all fishing for steelhead and shad, as well as spring chinook. Fishing will remain open for hatchery spring chinook in Columbia River tributaries, including the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, Wind and Klickitat rivers, as well as Drano Lake. The Columbia River above Bonneville Dam will remain open.
Although sport catches of spring chinook to date have been fair in the lower river, salmon counts at Bonneville Dam are significantly lower than expected, said Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
As of April 10, only 128 adult spring chinook had been counted at the dam. About 19,000 chinook would have normally passed the dam by this point in the year, according to 10-year-average counts.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor the status of the spring chinook run on a daily basis and could re-open fisheries if warranted.
Through April 9, sport anglers had made 52,800 angler trips, handled 5,400 spring chinook and kept 4,500 hatchery fish.
About 88,400 upriver spring chinook were forecast to return this year.