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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 14, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Lower Columbia spring chinook fishing good in some places, but slow in others

Here are the latest figures from the Lower Columbia River spring chinook fishery:

Last week state Fish and Wildlife sampled 3,795 private boat anglers (1,595 boats) with 643 adult and 14 jack chinook plus seven steelhead. They also sampled 577 bank anglers with 40 adult chinook and six steelhead. Overall, 589 (86.2%) of the adult chinook caught were kept (Note: Does not include one wild fish kept; released fish includes 1 hatchery jack). Based on Visual Stock Identification, 517 (92.8%) of the 557 adult chinook sampled were upriver stock.

Angler effort was down slightly from the record high the previous week. 2,935 salmon boats and 1,094 bank anglers were counted during the Saturday, April 11 aerial flight. On Thursday April 9, a total of 1,942 boats and 643 bank anglers were counted.

Through April 11, an estimated 110.965 angler trips have produced 12,009 adult spring chinook kept and 2,181 released. The pre-season projection (for the entire season) was 141,966 angler trips with 17,470 kept and 5,866 released.

The recreational salmon and shad fishery downstream of Hayden Island is currently open three days per week (Thursdays to Saturdays only) and is scheduled to remain open through April 18. The area from Hayden Island upstream to Bonneville Dam is open 4 days per week (Wednesdays to Saturdays only) and is scheduled to remain open through April 22.

Through April 13, just 1,184 adult spring chinook had been counted at Bonneville Dam. Last year, 5,604 fish had been counted by that time. The recent 10-year average is 27,532. Daily counts should be increasing dramatically this week based on recent year timing curves and this year’s pre-season forecast.

Water temperatures have been gradually increasing (now 47 degrees) and water clarity remains high (around 5.5 feet). Flows have increased to over 200 kcfs since April 10 compared to the average flows of around 125 kcfs during March and an average of 160 kcfs during April 1-9. The higher flows are the result of spill for juvenile fish passage.

Check out the Seattle Times Web site to see my first hand account on the popular spring time fishery that has attracted plenty of attention the past few weeks.

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