States open river again for springer anglers
May 19, 2022
With Chinook returning in greater numbers than anticipated, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon on May 11 agreed to reopen the lower Columbia River for recreational spring Chinook fishing beginning Thursday, May 12-22.
A second opening is planned for June 4-15. The fishery and run will be assessed to determine if additional fishing time is possible.
The run-size forecast for adult spring Chinook returning to the Columbia River in 2022 was increased last week to 161,800 adults, up from the pre-season forecast of 122,900. Chinook returns counted at Bonneville Dam as of May 9 indicate the run is coming in at 127 percent of the 10-year average.
“This stronger run is welcome news, and it’s great that we can reopen spring fishing while Chinook abundance is still high and also align a portion of the fishery with the summer season,” said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fishery manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The summer season in the lower Columbia River is scheduled to occur June 16 through June 22.
Fishing will be open on these dates from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank), plus bank angling by hand-cast only from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline.
The daily limit is six hatchery steelhead/Chinook, including no more than two adults, of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Anglers must release all wild steelhead and all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. Salmon minimum size 12 inches. Shad retention is also permitted, with no minimum size or daily limit.
Anglers should review the permanent rules for the waters they plan to fish in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, as well as check for any emergency rule changes – available at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ -- before heading out. Between May 23 and June 3, these areas revert to permanent rules as listed in the 2021-22 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet. This includes rules for retention of hatchery steelhead, hatchery jack Chinook and shad on the Columbia River mainstem.
With the current run size and allowable allocation, the fishery on the portion of river above Bonneville to the Oregon-Washington state line has exceeded its allocation and will remain closed at this time.
Members of the public can sign up to receive Columbia River fishery updates at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists.