OLYMPIA – The spring chinook fishery will reopen this weekend (May 19-20) for two days of fishing on a section of the Columbia River stretching 163 miles upstream from Bonneville Dam.
Anglers fishing those waters will be allowed to keep two marked hatchery adult chinook per day. All wild, unmarked chinook must be released unharmed.
Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed to the two-day opening after the run forecast for upriver spring chinook was raised from 202,000 fish to 216,500 fish.
Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River policy manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the two states may consider additional openings – both above and below Bonneville Dam – if the estimated size of this year’s spring chinook run continues to rise.
“All eyes are on the fish counts at Bonneville Dam right now,” LeFleur said. “This run is one of the latest on record, so we really have to gauge from one week to the next how many spring chinook are still coming.”
Under the updated run forecast, approximately 800 hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon are still available for harvest in the section of the Columbia River that opens to fishing this weekend.
On those two days, boat and bank anglers can fish from the Tower Island powerlines to the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam. Bank anglers can also fish from the powerlines downriver to Bonneville Dam.
Those waters have been closed to fishing since May 6, pending a run assessment.
LeFleur said fishery managers plan to meet May 22 to assess the possibility of allowing additional fishing time both above and below Bonneville Dam. Any new openings will be announced on WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/) and on the department’s Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500).