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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 4, 2011 at 9:49 PM

More spring chinook fishing time allowed above Bonneville Dam in Columbia River mainstem

A big jump in recent days of spring chinook crossing above Bonneville Dam has allowed sport anglers to get more spring chinook fishing days on the Columbia River mainstem above the mighty dam.

The fishery for hatchery-marked spring chinook will reopen May 7 through May 10 on the Columbia River stretching 163.5 miles above Bonneville Dam. The fishery had closed earlier this week.

The open area is between the Tower Island power lines below The Dalles Dam and the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam. Bank fishing is also allowed from Bonneville Dam upriver to the power lines located about six miles below The Dalles Dam.

“We haven’t done an official run update yet, but the recent dam counts are strong enough to allow anglers four more days of fishing and still remain within the current buffered harvest guideline for the area,” Cindy LeFleur, a state Fish and Wildlife salmon manager said in a news release.

Bonneville Dam passage of spring chinook through May 3 totals 68,752 adult fish. Daily counts have dramatically increased, with the counts for the past three days accounting for nearly half the total passage. Based on the recent 5-year average, which includes four late-timed years, passage is typically about 35% complete by May 3 and the average 50% passage date is May 8.

Anglers fishing above Bonneville Dam can retain up to two marked, hatchery-reared adult chinook salmon or hatchery steelhead as part of their daily limit. All wild salmon and wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

Salmon fishing below Bonneville Dam remains closed at this time.

Harvest guidelines for spring chinook fisheries above and below Bonneville Dam are based on a projected return of 198,400 upriver fish, minus a 30 percent “buffer” to guard against overestimating the run.

More fishing time may be allowed in both areas if a run update confirms that returns are large enough to allow more sport catch. A run update could occur as early as next week.

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