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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 30, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Lower Columbia River spring chinook action getting better

The spring chinook fishing on the Lower Columbia River has improved, and should be good heading into the final days until it closes on Monday, April 4.

“It has shifted downstream from the Vancouver area to where the effort and catch was better below the Lewis, including the Kalama to Cathlamet area,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “The water was high at Bonneville and that could have a dampening effect on the catches. It is clear enough down below (near Cathlamet) where they’re catching fish, and the abundance had increased too.”

The lower river below Bonneville will close after April 4. The area from Tower Island power lines six miles below The Dalles Dam and the Washington/Oregon state line located 17 miles up from McNary Dam is open through April 24.

Through March 27, there have been an estimated 59,160 angler trips in Lower Columbia with 3,331 adult spring chinook kept and 971 released. An estimated 34-percent of the 7,750 upriver catch guideline has been taken. There were also 490 steelhead kept and 375 released.

Salmon effort continues to build with over 1,400 boats and nearly 800 bank anglers counted during last Saturday’s (March 26) effort flight count. But, effort was down about a third compared to the 2,062 boats counted on March 27, 2010.

“There may be a check point as it’s tracking a little bit behind where they thought it would be at this time during the season,” Hymer said. “We’ll see what happens after this week, and as of right now it’s only open through Monday, but stay tuned.”

Tributaries such as the Wind River, Klickitat River and Drano Lake will also provide good spring chinook fishing from late April into May.

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