Warmer water temperatures and a slower river flow on the Lower Columbia River are the likely reasons why spring chinook fishing picked up in recent days.
Boats both above and just below the I-5 Bridge were catching a fair number of fish on Tuesday and Wednesday. Buzz Ramsey posted on facebook that he had caught a spring chinook this morning just below I-5 using a cut-plug herring and a Fish Flash.
I’ve also heard other reliable reports of fish caught from above Marine Park boat ramp clear down areas just above the mouth of the Willamette River. Most areas further downstream are still suffering from the murky water blues.
Here is a look at the Lower Columbia River spring chinook fishery so far:
Through March 6, there have been an estimated 13,452 angler trips with 564 adult spring chinook kept and 107 released. Of those, 508 (90-percent) of the chinook kept were upriver origin based upon sampling for Visual Stock Identification. There were also 52 steelhead kept and 117 released.
Second highest number of adult spring chinook kept for the month of February since at least 1978 (record 294 fish during non-selective fishery in 1978). Only 43 sturgeon were kept from over 1,600 angler trips in February 2011.
Bonneville Dam counts:
Seven adult spring chinook went through Bonneville Dam on March 7. Total through March 7 is 29 fish compared to the recent ten-year average of 127.