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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 3, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Columbia River spring chinook still returning in strong numbers

There is no decision yet made on reopening sport fishing in the Lower Columbia River, but there was some good news as far as the spring chinook return goes.

Fisheries managers met today (May 3), and decided that the Columbia River spring chinook return range is about 300,000 to 350,000 fish.

In other good news through May 2, 149,378 spring chinook have passed above Bonneville Dam, and catches were also good this past weekend.

“Catches in the Klickitat River were fairly good for spring chinook and steelhead, and Drano Lake, Wind River, and The Dalles and John Day pools were pretty decent for spring chinoook,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Here is a rundown in other fishing news around the Columbia River region from state Fish and Wildlife:

Cowlitz River – Some spring chinook and steelhead are being caught. Most of the chinook are being caught at the barrier dam while steelhead are being caught throughout the river. Anglers should note the south side of the river from Mill Creek to the Barrier Dam is closed to all fishing through mid June per permanent regulations.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 1,105 winter-run steelhead, 26 summer-run steelhead, 614 spring Chinook adults and ten jacks during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. Tacoma Power employees released 271 spring Chinook adults, four jacks and 22 winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa at the Day Use Park above Cowlitz Falls Dam, 237 spring Chinook adults, three jacks and 14 winter-run steelhead into the upper Cowlitz River at Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood, Washington, and one winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,540 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 3. Water visibility is nine feet.

Kalama River – Some spring chinook and steelhead are being caught though the river has been turbid at times. The first 7 spring chinook of the year returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery last week.

Lewis River – Generally light effort and catch the couple days we sampled. A couple hundred spring chinook were in the Merwin Dam trap today.

Wind River – Slightly less than one in every three boat anglers had caught a spring chinook when sampled last week. Bank anglers at the mouth were also catching some fish.

No report from Shipherd Falls upstream that opened May 1. However some fish should be present as total passage of hatchery chinook at the Shipherd Falls trap through April 25 was approximately 300 fish. The trap was pulled on Sunday, April 25. There will be no further counting of chinook through the trap until early June, 2010.

Drano Lake – Just over 40 percent of the boat and bank anglers had caught a spring chinook when sampled last week.

Klickitat River – Bank anglers from the Fisher Hill Bridge downstream are catching some spring chinook and summer run steelhead.

Bonneville Pool – Some spring chinook are being caught by bank anglers just outside the mouth of Drano Lake.

The Dalles Pool – About one in five bank anglers while one in six boat anglers had kept/released a spring chinook when sampled last week. Overall 82% of the fish caught were kept.

John Day Pool – From Paul Hoffarth Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife District 4 Fish Biologist in Pasco – For the week of April 26 – May 2, an estimated 558 adult hatchery chinook were harvested and 138 wild chinook were released. The majority of the harvest were retained by bank anglers fishing the Oregon shore. WDFW staff interviewed 282 salmon anglers this past week and sampled 90 hatchery chinook. For the season, an estimated 1,453 adult hatchery chinook have been harvested and 298 wild chinook were released.

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