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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 25, 2011 at 6:54 PM

More spring chinook fishing blossoms in the Columbia and Snake rivers

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More hatchery spring chinook fishing opportunities are opening soon in the Columbia and Snake rivers as about 2,700 upriver chinook are available for sport fishing.

Boat anglers from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam opens Friday, May 27 in the Columbia, which is a four-mile area that had been previously open for bank fishing only. This area will remain open through June 15.

Areas above Bonneville Dam open Saturday, May 28 to June 2 for boat and bank fishing from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon state line, located 17 miles from McNary Dam. Bank fishing will also be allowed from Bonneville Dam upriver to the power lines, located six miles below The Dalles Dam.

The Snake River also open Saturday, May 28 to June 2 for hatchery spring chinook fishing in the Little Goose and Clarkston areas.

According to the most recent update, 213,400 upriver spring chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River.

“The high water we’ve experienced in the Columbia River has slowed catch rates in many areas this season,” Cindy LeFleur, a state Fish and Wildlife policy salmon manager said in a news release. “But anglers are still catching some nice fish, and we’re glad to be able to extend that opportunity.”

Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist says recent catch surveys show that anglers fishing along the banks of the lower river have had higher success rates than those fishing from boats.

“Bank anglers have some real advantages right now,” Hymer said. “Not only are they catching more fish, it’s also safer under these high-water conditions.”

Hymer says there is lots of water coming down the “Big C,” and near flood stage in the Vancouver area.

“It is up to almost 500,000 cfs (cubic feet per second),” Hymer said. “But, they’re still ctaching some spring chinook, and an uptick for summer steelhead down in the Longview area.”

Hymer says it has been good at times at mouth of the Wind River for spring chinook, and the fishing tactics change from day to day with bait being good one day and plugs outfishing bait the next.

Drano Lake is slowing down to some degree for spring chinook, and Hymer says that is typical at this time of the season.

Anglers are still waiting for big push into the Wind River itself to the canyon area and upper river. Anglers in the Klickitat River are also getting some spring chinook.

Below Bonneville Dam, anglers may retain one adult hatchery-marked spring chinook in their daily catch limit. Above Bonneville, the daily limit can include two hatchery-marked adult spring chinook. All unmarked chinook and steelhead must be released unharmed.

Sockeye salmon and hatchery-reared steelhead also count toward anglers’ daily limit.

The two areas opening to spring chinook fishing on the Snake River include:

The Little Goose area, which extends from the Railroad Bridge about one-half mile downstream from the mouth of the Tucannon River, upriver about nine miles to the Corps of Engineers boat launch, about a mile upstream of Little Goose Dam.

The Clarkston area, which extends from the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with Highway 193 in Whitman County, upriver about 12 miles to the Idaho state line.

In these areas of the Snake River, the daily limit is two hatchery-marked spring chinook adults, and four hatchery-marked jacks. One exception is the shoreline area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility, where the daily catch limit is one jack and one adult. Anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing in the Snake River.

(Photo credit to Washington Fish and Wildlife)

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