The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Springer season opens today on the Columbia


Spring chinook salmon fishing begins today (Thursday) for recreational anglers in the lower Columbia River and two weeks later upstream of Bonneville Dam.

The two-state Columbia River Compact made that decision at its hearing Feb. 21 in Portland. It also decided to open recreational angling for salmon in lower river select areas and tweaked Treaty commercial white sturgeon gillnetting, adding one day in the John Day pool and 9.5 days in The Dalles pool. In both pools, sturgeon fishing ends March 3.

Based on a pre-season run-size forecast of 166,700 upriver spring chinook (248,520 total to the Columbia River mouth), the compact allocated 9,685 fish to recreational anglers, but that is split, giving 7,157 of the fish to anglers downstream of Bonneville Dam, 954 fish to those upriver in the mainstem Columbia River to the Oregon/Washington border, 920 to Snake River anglers in Washington waters, 20 spring chinook for the Wanapum Tribe in the upper Columbia River and less than 633 to select area commercial gillnetters.

Just two spring chinook have passed Bonneville Dam as of Feb. 21.

Not everyone was happy with either this split in allocation or with opening spring chinook salmon fishing so early, concerned that later updated forecasts will downgrade the run size.

A constraining stock, upper Columbia River spring chinook are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act and take by recreational anglers, according to NOAA Fisheries’ biological opinion, is not allowed to exceed 1.7 percent of the wild run. Compact staff expects the early spring chinook fishery to take 0.54 percent of the upriver wild run.


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