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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

December 21, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Spring chinook returns look good for the Willamette River, a tributary of the Lower Columbia

Another shot in the arm as far as predictions go for Columbia River spring chinoook in 2010.

This time the Willamette River that flows on the Oregon side of the Lower Columbia River is expecting 62,700 adult spring chinook to return this coming spring, and 75 percent of the run will be of hatchery origin fish.

Of that predicted total 45,950 are four-year-old fish, and 14,650 are five-year-olds.

Compare that to the 37,627 spring chinook that returned last year to the Willamette. The predicted return of Willamette River spring chinook in 2009 was 37,600 to the Columbia River, and the actual return was 39,410.

It was the fourth lowest return since 1970, but embedded in that was a good jack return of 3,978.

This comes on the heels of a predicted strong return of 470,000 upriver spring chinook to the Columbia River, and a fairly good return of 19,400 spring chinook to the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis rivers.

However, fisheries restrictions are likely in the Kalama where only 900 fish (350 actually returned last year) are expected back in 2010.

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