Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Special Grande Ronde River spring chinook season coming

FISHING —  A new four-day spring chinook section on a stretch of the Grande Ronde River is likely to be opened starting Friday.

The official announcement and details are likely to be released Wednesday morning.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife didn't get all the permits in order today… but stay tuned. This is a new deal for anglers!

Wenatchee spring chinook season first in 20 years

FISHING — Starting Friday (June 6), the Wenatchee River will open to fishing for spring chinook salmon for the first time in nearly two decades, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has just announced.

With almost 10,000 hatchery chinook expected to return to the river this year, WDFW is opening two sections of the river:

  • From the Washington State Parks foot bridge at Confluence Park (just upstream from the confluence with the Columbia River) to 400 feet below Dryden Dam.
  • From the confluence with Peshastin Creek to the downstream side of the confluence with the Icicle River and from that point to a marker on the opposite shore.

The fishery will be open seven days a week in both areas until further notice.

Anglers will have a daily limit of two hatchery spring chinook measuring at least 12 inches long and marked with a clipped adipose fin. Under statewide regulations, anglers may retain only one daily limit of salmon, regardless of how many waters they fish.

All wild chinook must immediately be released back into the water unharmed.

Jeff Korth, regional WDFW fishery manager, said this year’s fishery was made possible under a new permit issued by NOAA-Fisheries that allows the department to conduct mark-selective fisheries to reduce the number of hatchery fish on the spawning grounds.

“We are pleased that we’re able to provide this fishery, which will reduce excess hatchery fish while increasing fishing opportunities in the area,” Korth said. “We’ve done this successfully in other watersheds and now we’re bringing it to the Wenatchee River.”

Korth noted that WDFW will closely monitor the fishery and enforce fishing rules to ensure protection of wild chinook, bull trout and any steelhead that may be incidentally caught and released.

In addition to the mark-selective rules in effect for the fishery, anglers are required to:

  • Retain any legal hatchery spring chinook they catch until they reach their daily limit, then stop fishing for spring chinook.
  • Release any spring chinook with one or more round holes punched in the tail fin. These fish are vital to ongoing studies in the upper Wenatchee River Basin.
  • Observe selective gear rules in effect on the Wenatchee River wherever chinook seasons are open. No gear restrictions are in effect on the Icicle River, and anglers may use bait on both rivers.
  • Heed the prohibition of internal combustion motorized vessels and observe night closures on the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers.

To participate in this fishery, anglers must possess a valid 2014-15 fishing license and a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement. 

Because the fishery is open until further notice, anglers should check WDFW’s Fishing Rule Change website.

Spring chinook fishing resumes on Snake

FISHING — Two sections of the Snake River (below Ice Harbor Dam and Lower Granite Dam) reopened to fishing for spring chinook on Sunday, June 1, while two other sections of the river (below Little Goose Dam and near Clarkston) will reopen Thursday, June 5.

The sections of the river below Ice Harbor Dam and Lower Granite Dam are open Sunday through Tuesday each week. The river below Little Goose Dam and in the Clarkston area will be open Thursday through Saturday each week.

All four sections will be open on their weekly schedule until further notice.

Glen Mendel, district fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said fishery managers were able to reopen the fishery after transferring a portion of the upriver spring chinook allocation to the Snake River from the ongoing fishery in the lower Columbia River.

“With more than 600 fish now available for the Snake River fishery, we may be able to sustain fishing for the next several weeks,” said Mendel.

Read on for details:

Spring chinook fishing poised to close on Snake

FISHING – Spring chinook salmon fisheries on two sections of the Snake River will close for the season after four more days of fishing in each area, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has announced.

Fishing for spring chinook in the Clarkston area continues today (May 22) and will close an hour past sunset on Sunday (May 25).

Below Lower Granite Dam, fishing for spring chinook will be open from Saturday (May 24) until an hour past sunset on Tuesday (May 27).

By then, the catch of spring chinook salmon is expected to reach the harvest allocation limit for the Snake River based on monitored harvest and the most recent estimate of the run size, said John Whalen, WDFW’s eastern region fish program manager.

“These closures will effectively mark the end of the fishing season for spring chinook on the Snake River,” Whalen said.

The section of the river set to close an hour past sunset May 25 is:

  • Clarkston area: Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line. (The state line extends from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

The section of the river set to close an hour past sunset May 27 is:

  • Below Lower Granite Dam: Snake River from the Ilia Boat Launch on the south across to the mouth of Almota Creek upstream about four miles to the restricted fishing area below Lower Granite Dam.

Two other areas of the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam and Little Goose Dam closed for spring chinook fishing May 14.

When the fishery is open, anglers have a daily catch limit of one hatchery adult chinook – marked with a clipped adipose fin – and five hatchery jacks measuring less than 24 inches.

Barbless hooks are required, and anglers must stop fishing for the day when they reach their daily limit of adult chinook salmon. All chinook with an adipose fin, and all steelhead, must immediately be released unharmed.

For more details, check the rule change on WDFW’s website

Lower Columbia spring chinook fishing season extended

FISHING — Starting Thursday, May 15, anglers will have another full month to catch hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon and steelhead on the lower Columbia River under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

Fish managers have more confidence in the run after getting new projections this week. Changes, if any, in quotas for the Snake River portion of the run have not been announced,  yet.

Under the agreement for the lower Columbia, anglers can catch and keep one marked, hatchery chinook salmon daily through June 15 as part of their catch limit from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Bonneville Dam.

In all, they may retain up to two adult salmon or steelhead – or one of each – but no more than one adult chinook salmon per day. Anglers must release all sockeye salmon and any wild salmon or wild steelhead, which can be identified by an intact adipose fin.

According to an updated run projection, 224,000 upriver spring chinook will return to the Columbia River this year, said Ron Roler, a fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The pre-season projection anticipated a return of 227,000 upriver fish.

The new projection reflects greater confidence in the run since last week, when fishery managers projected a minimum return of 185,000 upriver fish this year, Roler said.

“We’ve taken a conservative approach to the season so far, but the count of spring chinook past Bonneville Dam indicates our pre-season projection was on target,” he said. “Under this extension, anglers should be able to keep fishing in the lower river right up to the start of the summer chinook season June 16.”

Anglers fishing the Columbia River below the dam caught 10,084 upriver spring chinook through May 10, when the previous two-day extension ended. The extension through mid-June is projected to boost the annual catch in those waters by 3,864, Roler said.

  • For more information about the fishing extension approved today, see the Fishing Rule Notice on WDFW’s website.

Spring chinook fishing to reopen on lower Columbia

UPDATED 5:20 p.m. with more information from WDFW.

FISHING — Spring chinook will reopen Friday, May 9, through Saturday, May 10, on the Lower Columbia River from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upstream to Rooster Rock, plus bank-angling only from Rooster Rock to Bonneville Dam. Shad fishing also will be open.

Spring chinook surged into the Columbia and over Bonneville Dam last week with one daily count topping 17,000 fish, giving fish managers the go-ahead for more lower Columbia fishing. 

  • Bonneville Dam passage through May 5 totals 119,758 adult chinook.  Based on the 10-year average the 50% passage date is May 7, ranging from April 27 to May 12.  

​Current Columbia River regulations for salmon, steelhead, shad and sturgeon can be found at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sport Fishing Regulation Update page.

Click "continued reading" for more details from WDFW media releases.

Spring chinook bite coming to the Snake

FISHING — With a big pulse of spring chinook headed upstream past Bonneville Dam, fish managers are expecting good things for upstream fishermen.

Weather was generally poor through the weekend and fishing has been slow in the Snake River since the season opened last week, with the fish being caught near Ice Harbor (first dam the hit in the Snake) and Little Goose dams.  But Glen Mendel, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist for the Snake, said it's time to get your salmon gear ready:

We have a very large pulse of fish passing Bonneville Dam (over 17,000 on one day on April 30) headed upstream, and we already have generally more than 1,000 per day passing Ice Harbor Dam.  Counts at Little Goose are nearly 1,000 per day, and there are over 2,000 fish stacked up so far between Lower Monumental and Little Goose dams. 

Lower Granite counts have been over 200 per day for a few days.  The wind and rain are over for now, river flow levels are moderate, and fish numbers are good and getting better, so fishing conditions are looking good for the next several days or more.

Extra day offered for lower Columbia spring chinook fishing

FISHING — 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.

Wind River springer fishing seasons set to start

FISHING — The fish are still on their way, but the Washington is announcing spring chinook and steelhead seasons on the Wind River, a popular Columbia River tributary.  Here are details from the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Action:  The daily catch limit will be 2 chinook or 2 hatchery steelhead or one of each at various times and locations on the Wind River. 

  • Wind River from the mouth (boundary line markers) upstream to the

Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge:  Open March 16 through July 31.   

Anglers with a two-pole endorsement may fish with two poles for salmon 

and steelhead May 1 through June 30.  

  • Wind River from Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge upstream to 400 feet

below Shipherd Falls:  Open April 1 through July 31;

  • Wind River from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls to 800 yards downstream of

Carson National Fish Hatchery (except closed waters from 400 feet below to

100 feet above coffer dam):  Open May 1 through June 30.

Species affected:  Chinook and steelhead

Other information:  Release wild chinook downstream from Shipherd Falls. Release all trout other than hatchery steelhead. Minimum size 12 inches for salmon and 20 inches for steelhead.

When fishing for sturgeon or other species, only one pole per angler may be used.

The area from the railroad bridge upstream to Shipherd Falls will be closed to all fishing from March 16-31 to protect wild steelhead when salmon abundance is low. 

Reason for action:  The 2014 Wind River spring chinook returns are expected to be slightly higher than the recent 5 year average and more than twice last year’s actual return.  Surplus hatchery origin fish are available for harvest.

First springer heads up Columbia

FISHING — Here's the harbinger of what should be a better than average spring chinook fishing season in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

"First spring Chinook of the year returned to Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery yesterday!" says Joe Hymer, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife salmon specialist in an email received moments ago.

Latest spring chinook forecast looks promising

FISHING — The chart above was just released by Columbia River fisheries managers.  Get your tackle rigged.

Spring chinook will double the pleasure at Drano Lake

FISHING — Here's the latest forecast for a niche of the Columbia River spring chinook run popular with anglers:


2014 spring chinook forecast sees more fish

FISHING — The chart above, just released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, is an early forecast for spring and summer chinook returning to the Columbia River next year.

The numbers suggest that almost twice as many spring chinook will return to the system to delight anglers in 2014 while the numbers of summer chinook bound for the upper Columbia could be slightly down.

The numbers will be updated several times over the coming months.

Spring chinook fishing closes on Snake

FISHING — The Washington Fish and Wildlife commission has closed spring chinook salmon fishing on the Snake River.  Here's the announcement posted this afternoon:

Action: Closes spring chinook fishing on the Snake River.

Effective date: Immediately

Species affected: Spring chinook


Near Ice Harbor Dam: Below Ice Harbor Dam from the Highway 12 bridge near Pasco upstream about seven miles to about 400 feet below Ice Harbor Dam.

Near Little Goose Dam: Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river approximately 3.5 miles upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility and the walkway area locally known as "the Wall" in front of the juvenile collection facility.

Near Clarkston: From the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with Highway 193 in Whitman County, upriver about 12 miles to the Idaho state line (identified as a line from the north end of the rock levee on the east side of the Greenbelt boat launch near the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office), northwest across the Snake River to the Washington border and boundary water marker on the north shore.

Reason for action: Based on the declining spring chinook run, catch rates and cumulative season harvest estimates in the three fishery zones on the Snake River through this past Tuesday, and fishery ESA impact limitations, this fishery will close. 

Icicle River to reopen for spring chinook fishing

FISHING — Wow, we barely got the notice out that the Icicle River was closing to spring chinook fishing before fish managers changed their mind.  Here's the notice just posted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Actions:   Anglers will again be able to fish for and retain adipose-fin-clipped adult and jack spring chinook salmon on the Icicle River (Chelan Co.).
Effective dates:   June 20, 2013 through July 31, 2013.
Daily limit:   Daily limit two adipose-fin-clipped spring chinook (adult or jack), minimum size 12 inches. 
Species affected:   Spring chinook salmon. 
Location: Icicle River, from the closure signs located 800 feet upstream of the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
Reason for action: The river was closed temporarily to ensure meeting broodstock needs.  Conditions over the past few days favored fish passage, and the remaining 400 adults needed for broodstock were obtained.  There are still 500-1,000 spring chinook forecast, mostly 3 year old jacks, available for harvest.
Other Information:   Night closure will be in effect. The regulation allowing two-pole angling on the Columbia River is not in effect on the Icicle River.  The Columbia River barbless hook requirement does not apply to the Icicle River.  

Spring chinook fishing closes today on Icicle River

FISHING — The Icicle River's fishing season for spring chinook salmon closes today an hour after sunset.  

Read on for the details pertaining the closure of the Chelan County fishery from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Spring chinook fishing may reopen in Snake, WDFW bio says

FISHING — Snake River spring chinook fishing is likely to reopen says Glen Mendel, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish management biologist

Look for an official announcement today or tomorrow — and expect the fishing days to be different that in the original season.

Here's Mendel's update:

The Technical Advisory Committee updated the run size to 115,000 (from 107,500 when the Snake R fishery previously closed at Clarkston).   The increased run size means there are a few more spring Chinook (~70) that can be harvested in the revised allotment for the Snake River. 

A fishery proposal has been submitted for the Clarkston area to reopen for two days (this Friday and Saturday).  Ice Harbor would open for one day next week (on Monday), and Little Goose on Tuesday.  Mid next week, we would evaluate the results from those limited fisheries and determine whether they had to close, or whether they could continue on the same days as noted above the following week.  Bag limits would be as they were in May (1 adult adipose clipped, and 4 adipose clipped jacks).  Once the hatchery adult salmon has been retained the angler must stop fishing for salmon, regardless of whether any jacks have been kept.

Please watch for the emergency regulation and news release that announces the opening of these fisheries.  Hopefully, those will be available late today or tomorrow. 

Upper Klickitat opening to spring chinook fishing

FISHING — Spring chinook action is luring anglers to the Klickitat.  Here the WDFW announcement many have been waiting for.

Upper Klickitat River to open for hatchery adult spring chinook

Action: Up to two hatchery adult spring chinook may be kept as part of the salmon daily limit on the Klickitat River upstream to boundary markers below the salmon hatchery.  

Effective dates: June 13 through July 31, 2013.

Species affected: Chinook.

Location: The Klickitat River from 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway (located about one-half mile upstream from the Fisher Hill Bridge) to boundary markers below the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery.

Reasons for action: As of June 10, a total of 351 adult spring chinook have returned to the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery.  The Klickitat Salmon Hatchery is expected to meet its escapement goal of 500 fish, which will allow additional recreational opportunity.    

Other information: Daily limit 6 salmon of which no more than two may be adults.  Wild chinook must be released.   This will match rules already in effect below Fisher Hill Bridge (located about 2 miles upstream from the mouth). 

Anglers are reminded there are closed waters from Fisher Hill Bridge to 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway and from the boundary markers below Klickitat Salmon Hatchery to the boundary markers just upstream of the hatchery. The section upstream from the salmon hatchery remains closed to fishing for salmon.

A Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate in this fishery.  Barbless hooks are required to fish for salmon and steelhead.

Information contact:   (360) 696-6211.  For latest information press *1010.  

Spring chinook fishing reopening above Bonneville Dam

FISHING —The sport fishery for hatchery spring chinook salmon on the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the Washington/Oregon state line will reopen Saturday (June 8) under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

In addition, fishery managers also agreed to extend the current fishery for boat anglers fishing for salmon in the lower river up to the deadline below Bonneville Dam beginning June 8. That change removes a restriction on fishing for salmon from a boat from Beacon Rock upriver to Bonneville Dam. The lower river reopened to spring chinook fishing May 25.
Ron Roler, Columbia River policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said an updated run-size forecast indicates at least 115,000 upriver chinook are now expected to return to the Columbia River this year, up from the previous forecast of 107,500.
“The increase in the number of chinook salmon moving upriver allows us to make these changes,” said Roler. “These additional openings provide anglers an opportunity to fish for spring chinook from the mouth all the way upriver to the Washington/Oregon state line.”
Anglers fishing the Columbia River are allowed to retain one hatchery-raised adult chinook salmon per day as part of their daily catch limit. Barbless hooks are required, and anglers must release any chinook salmon not marked with a clipped adipose fin as a hatchery fish.
The Columbia River will be open for spring chinook fishing through June 15. Starting June 16, daily limits and fishing areas change on the Columbia River when the summer chinook fisherygets under way.
For details, check WDFW’s sportfishing pamphlet

Wash. on verge of closing Snake River chinook fishing

FISHING — Anglers picked up enough spring chinook from the Snake River sections open to fishing in Washington over the holiday to prompt the closing of the season, which could be announced soon.

Here's the message from Glen Mendel, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife southeast fisheries biologist:

We saw more interest in fishing the Clarkston area than we had documented in any of the previous weeks, and they caught a few fish there.  This fishery remained open after the lower Snake River fisheries closed because they had not caught much earlier, they were cut off early last year so we wanted to improve the sharing of the fishing opportunities, and because there were only about 30 fish left to harvest.  One day of either of the lower Snake River fisheries would likely have harvested more than 30 fish in just one day of fishing. 

The total Snake River harvest brings us very close to our targeted harvest level, so we are recommending closure of the Snake River fishery at Clarkston.  Therefore, we expect that it will be closed for spring Chinook harvest until next year (about late April).  Watch for the emergency regulation that verifies closure of this fishery.

Note: Steelhead fishing on the Snake River starts June 16 this year, earlier for retention than in the past.

Snake River chinook fishing should remain open for holiday

FISHING — Anglers should feel confident that the spring chinook season will remain open on the Clarkston designated area of the Snake River in Washington through the Memorial Day weekend, according to Glen Mendel, Fish and Wildlife's southeast Washington fisheries biologist.

Regarding yesterday's update on the fishery, he just released this clarification:

A clarification regarding the Clarkston fishery. After further internal discussions there are no efforts at this time to implement an emergency closure that I am aware of, so the fishery remains open until further notice as it was established earlier. I don’t anticipate any closure that will affect fishing there this Sunday and Monday, but always check the emergency regulations section of our agency website to make sure the situation has not changed.

Spring chinook, steelhead fishing to reopen on lower Columbia River


FISHING — The sport fishery for hatchery spring chinook salmon and hatchery steelhead will reopen Saturday (May 25) on the lower Columbia River as fish mangers get a better bead on the run and more fish become available in the season quota.

The fishery is scheduled to run through June 15 from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line near the mouth of the river to the deadline below Bonneville Dam under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon. For boat anglers, the upriver boundary is Beacon Rock.

Anglers may retain one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily limit.

Read on for more details.

Clearwater chinook fishing too hot; adult harvest curtailed

FISHING — Good conditions and a surge of fish into Idaho's Clearwater River provided excellent fishing for spring chinook over the weekend, as predicted.

But the turnout was so heavy and the fishing was so good, anglers virtually caught their entire meager allotment of this year's spotty run in one swoop.

Idaho Fish and Game has closed the river to fishing for adult spring chinook after anglers caught about 540 mature salmon over four days. The estimated season harvest share is about 640 fish.

The good news is that when the season on the Clearwater reopens on Friday (May 24) anglers will continue to have good fishing for a big run of about 4,000 jacks.

Read on for details and more explanation from Joe DuPont, IFG regional fisheries manager in Lewiston:

Idaho expands chinook fishing on Clearwater

FISHING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission today  (May 16) expanded Chinook salmon fishing to include additional reaches of the Clearwater main stem and South Fork Clearwater rivers.

The Clearwater River main stem is open from the Camas Prairie railroad bridge at Lewiston upstream to the Cherry Lane Bridge and from the Lenore Bridge upstream to the Highway 11 Greer Bridge. The South Fork Clearwater Riveris open from its mouth upstream to the confluence of the American and Red rivers.

Fish and Game asked commissioners to delay a decision on Chinook fisheries in the upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers to early June when fish managers will have a better idea of how many fish are heading for those waters.

"The fishing should be good tomorrow (Friday) as the river is clearing, flows are dropping, and lots of fish are passing over Lower Granite Dam," said Joe DuPont, IFG regional fisheries manager in Lewiston.   

Read on for details on all the areas open for spring chinook:

Spring chinook anglers could find Clearwater holes crowded

FISHING — Getting the best spot on the most productive holes has often beena challenge and a cause to rise early for spring chinook anglers headed to Idaho's Clearwater River.

This year the competition for good fishing spots could be even more keen, says Eric Barker, outdoors editor for the Lewiston Tribune.

Read on for his detailed story about the spring chinook season that opened this weekend as springers are just beginning to surge from the Columbia toward Idaho waters.


East siders wary of extending spring chinook fishing in Lower Columbia

FISHING — Spring chinook anglers in the lower Columbia River are getting an additional six days of fishing.

Low harvest levels ran well below expectations in March, prompting Oregon and Washington to extend the initial  recreational fishing season through April 12.  Originally, it was set to close, previously set to close April 5.
Fishing success picked up on Wednesday.
Through March, anglers had caught just 1,500 adult spring chinook salmon, about 25 percent of the 6,100-fish harvest expected by this point in fishery, said Ron Roler, Washington Fish and Wildlife's Columbia River policy coordinator.
“The season definitely got off to a slow start, but the bulk of the run is starting to move in,” Roler said. “River conditions are excellent – low and warm – so we will be monitoring the fishery closely to make sure the catch doesn’t exceed the established guideline.”
Allen Thomas of the Vancouver Columbian caught two East Side salmon spokesman for comments from an upstream perspective:
  • Idaho Fish and Game fisheries manager Pete Hassemer suggested that Oregon and Washington close fishing on a couple of days next week to lessen the harvest on the earliest-returning spring chinook, which largely are headed to Idaho.
  • Tri-State Steelheaders spokesman Mike Bireley in Walla Walla urged sport fishing in the lower Columbia be limited to three days per week until 10 percent of the projected upper Columbia-Snake run has crossed Bonneville Dam.
Guy Norman, WDFW regional director in Vancouver, cautioned that sport catches can skyrocket in April if the fish arrive.
"River conditions are very good for catching spring chinook salmon,'' Norman said. "I want to be sure we're on top of this.''
After three years of strong spring chinook returns, this year’s fishery is based on a projected run of 141,400 upriver fish, about 25 percent below the 10-year average. By comparison, approximately 203,000 fish destined for areas above Bonneville Dam returned to the Columbia River last year. Another 67,600 are predicted to return this year to the Willamette and other lower Columbia tributaries.

Under the plethora of state, federal and tribal management agreements, sportsmen in the lower Columbia are allocated 4,900 of those upper Columbia chinook before mid-May. About 1,570 of those 4,900 are projected to be caught through Friday and 3,652 chinook through April 12.

Washington and Oregon officials say they may meet on April 10 to review sport catches from the lower Columbia. Norman said he also wants the states to track the catch and be ready by Monday or Tuesday if an early closure is warranted.

State officials will meet at 2 p.m. Monday to consider commercial fishing on Tuesday in the lower Columbia.