OLYMPIA–Spring chinook sport fishers will be able to head back to the water on the lower Columbia River beginning Sunday (May 5) after the run surged from earlier lower daily counts.
The re-opened fishery for hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) spring chinook is scheduled to run through Wednesday (May 8), but could be altered after fish managers re-assess the returning run count in the next few days. Anglers will be allowed six hatchery chinook salmon per day, of which two may be adults.
The spring chinook fishery was closed Monday (April 29) by Washington and Oregon after a technical advisory committee of state, tribal and federal biologists revised their run size estimate down from 333,700 fish projected in a pre-season forecast to 238,000 fish. That technical committee yesterday revised the run projection again to 293,000 fish, based on recently rising daily counts at Bonneville Dam.
The re-opened fishery is on the Columbia River from the mouth to Bonneville Dam. Fishing also will be re-opened for hatchery steelhead and shad.
Fishing in Columbia River tributaries below Bonneville Dam (Cowlitz, Lewis and Kalama rivers) has remained open for salmon fishing. The fisheries in the Upper Bonneville, Dalles and John Day pools also remain open.
Biologists will continue to monitor the run status and the fishery could again be extended or shortened based on new run size updates, said Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River harvest manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Counts of chinook passing Bonneville Dam, totaled 151,000 as of yesterday (April 30).
Fishers should consult the WDFW sport fishing rules pamphlet on the Internet for other restrictions.