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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Columbia River region offers more action for spring chinook and walleye

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COLUMBIA FISHING

Weekend Fishing Opportunities:

Spring Chinook abundance is increasing in the lower Columbia.

Sturgeon retention is allowed three days per week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) from Bonneville Dam downstream to Wauna Powerlines, and seven days per week from Wauna Powerlines downstream to Buoy 10 with a 38-inch minimum and 54-inch maximum fork length restriction in effect.

Walleye angling is excellent in The Dalles and John Day Pools.

SALMON, STEELHEAD AND SHAD

The following modifications are now in effect for the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/Washington border above McNary Dam:

COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, BUOY 10 LINE UPSTREAM TO THE I-5 BRIDGE:

Effective Thursday March 1 through Friday April 6, 2012 (or until the catch guideline of 12,700 upriver spring Chinook is reached) this section of the Columbia River is open to the retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook, adipose fin-clipped steelhead, and shad with a daily bag limit of two adult salmonids, only one of which may be a Chinook (≥24″), and five adipose fin-clipped jacks; however, the season will be closed on Tuesdays, March 20, 27, and April 3 to allow for possible commercial fishing days. The retention of chum and sockeye salmon is prohibited. All other permanent rules apply.

COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, I-5 BRIDGE UPSTREAM TO BONNEVILLE DAM:

Effective Thursday March 1, the mainstem Columbia River from the I-5 Bridge upstream to Beacon Rock plus the Oregon and Washington banks from Beacon Rock upstream to Bonneville Dam is open to the retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook, adipose fin-clipped steelhead and shad through Friday April 6 (or until the catch guideline of 12,700 upriver spring Chinook is reached); however, the season will be closed on Tuesdays, March 20, 27 and April 3 to allow for possible commercial fishing days. The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmonids, of which only one may be a Chinook (≥24″), plus five adipose fin-clipped Chinook jacks. The retention of chum and sockeye salmon is prohibited. All other permanent rules remain in effect.

COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, BONNEVILLE DAM UPSTREAM TO THE OREGON/WASHINGTON BORDER:

Effective Friday March 16 through Wednesday May 2, 2012 (or until the catch guideline of 1,700 fish is reached), this area is open to the retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook and adipose fin-clipped steelhead with a daily bag limit of two adipose fin-clipped adult Chinook (≥24″) or steelhead in combination, plus five adipose fin-clipped Chinook jacks. Angling for salmon and steelhead from a floating device between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island Powerlines (located approximately 6 miles downstream from The Dalles Dam) is prohibited.

Catch rates were poor for salmonid anglers on the lower Columbia this past weekend. In the Portland to Longview area boat anglers averaged 0.09 spring Chinook caught per boat, while boat anglers in the estuary averaged 0.07 spring Chinook caught per boat. Bank angling was slow along the Oregon beaches. On Saturday’s (3/17) boat count from Portland to Westport, 469 salmonid boats and 189 Oregon bank anglers were counted.

Gorge Bank:

No report.

Gorge Boats:

Weekend checking showed no catch for two boats (four anglers).

Troutdale Boats:

Weekend checking showed no catch for 41 boats (101 anglers).

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept for 180 bank anglers.

Portland to Longview boats:

Weekend checking showed 15 adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook kept, plus four unclipped spring Chinook released for 221 boats (563 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines):

No report.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Wauna Powerlines):

Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook kept for 15 boats (28 anglers).

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed one unclipped steelhead released for nine bank anglers.

John Day Pool:

Weekly checking showed no catch for 11 bank anglers.

STURGEON

The following modifications are now in effect for the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/Washington border above McNary Dam:

BUOY 10 UPSTREAM TO WAUNA POWERLINES:

This section of the Columbia River is currently open to the retention of sturgeon seven days per week with a daily bag limit of one sturgeon between 38 and 54 inches fork length and an annual limit of five fish. The retention of green sturgeon is prohibited.

The following modifications were adopted at the January 26 Compact/Joint State Hearing for the 2012 mainstem Columbia River sturgeon fishery from Wauna Powerlines (River Mile 40) downstream to the mouth at Buoy 10, including Youngs Bay and all adjacent Washington tributaries.

The modifications include:

Allow the retention of white sturgeon seven days per week effective Sunday January 1 through Monday April 30, 2012 with a daily bag limit of one fish between 38 – 54 inches fork length.

Prohibit the retention of sturgeon seven days per week during Tuesday May 1 through Friday May 11, 2012.

Allow the retention of sturgeon seven days per week effective Saturday May 12 through Sunday July 8, 2012 (or until the harvest guideline of 4,160 legal white sturgeon has been reached) with a daily bag limit of one fish between 41 – 54 inches fork length in effect.

Prohibit the retention of sturgeon seven days per week during Monday July 9through Monday December 31, 2012.

Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited as per permanent regulations.

Catch and release of sturgeon may continue during retention closures.

WAUNA POWERLINES UPSTREAM TO BONNEVILLE DAM:

Effective January 1 through Tuesday July 31, 2012, this section of the Columbia River is open to the retention of sturgeon on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with a daily bag limit of one fish between 38 – 54 inches fork length and an annual limit of five fish.

The following modifications were adopted at the January 26 Compact/Joint State Hearing for the 2012 mainstem Columbia River sturgeon fishery from the Wauna Powerlines (River Mile 40) upstream to Bonneville Dam, all adjacent Washington tributaries, excluding the lower Willamette River upstream to Willamette Falls, Multnomah Channel, and Gilbert River.

The modifications include:

Allow the retention of white sturgeon three days per week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and prohibit the retention of sturgeon four days per week on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday beginning January 1 through Tuesday July 31, 2012. Prohibit the retention of sturgeon seven days per week during Wednesday August 1 through Friday October 19, 2012.

Allow the retention of sturgeon three days per week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and prohibit the retention of sturgeon four days per week on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday beginning Saturday October 20 through December 31, 2012 or until the catch guideline of 2,080 legal white sturgeon has been met.

Effective Wednesday, February 1 through Monday, April 30 angling is prohibited for all species in the area from a line between the upstream end of Sand Island and a marker on the Oregon shoreline, downstream to a line between the lower end of Sand Island and a marker on the Oregon shoreline.

Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited as per permanent regulations.

Catch and release of sturgeon may continue during sturgeon retention closures, except all sturgeon angling is prohibited between Marker 82 and Bonneville Dam during May 1-August 31, 2012.

BONNEVILLE DAM UPSTREAM TO THE OREGON/WASHINGTON BORDER:

Regulations for the 2012 sturgeon sport fishery from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Oregon/Washington border are currently as follows:

Sturgeon creel sampling summaries and catch estimates for Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day pools can be found at the following link:

WDFW Mid-Columbia River mainstem sport sampling summary

BONNEVILLE DAM UPSTREAM TO THE DALLES DAM:

Effective Saturday February 18, 2012 the retention of sturgeon in the Bonneville Pool and all adjacent tributaries is prohibited. Catch and release is allowed during retention closure.

THE DALLES DAM UPSTREAM TO MCNARY DAM:

Effective January 1, 2012 this section of the Columbia River is open to the retention of sturgeon seven days per week until the catch guidelines are reached. The daily bag limit is one sturgeon between 43-54 inches fork length and an annual limit of five fish. The use of more than one single point barbless hook is prohibited.

MCNARY DAM UPSTREAM TO THE OREGON/WASHINGTON BORDER:

Effective Wednesday February 1 through Tuesday July 31, 2012 this section of the Columbia River is open to the retention of sturgeon seven days per week with a daily bag limit of one sturgeon between 43-54 inches fork length and an annual limit of five fish. The use of more than one single point barbless hook is prohibited.

Sturgeon angling continues to be slow on the lower Columbia. In Troutdale boat anglers averaged 0.25 legal white sturgeon caught per boat. On Saturday’s (3/17) boat count from Portland to Wesport, 28 sturgeon boats and 9 Oregon bank anglers were counted.

Gorge Bank:

Weekly checking showed no catch for one bank angler.

Gorge Boats:

Weekend checking showed no catch for two boats (four anglers).

Troutdale Bank:

No report.

Troutdale Boats:

Weekend checking showed two legal white sturgeon kept, plus 21 sublegal sturgeon released for eight boats (21 anglers).

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekend checking showed no catch for three bank anglers.

Portland to Longview Boats:

Weekend checking showed 19 sublegal sturgeon released for nine boats (23 anglers).

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed four sublegal sturgeon released for 13 bank anglers; and no catch for one boat (two anglers).

John Day Pool:

Weekly checking showed one legal white sturgeon kept, plus two sublegal sturgeon released for 22 bank anglers; and one oversize and two sublegal sturgeon released for seven boats (16 anglers).

WALLEYE

Troutdale:

No report.

Portland to Longview boats:

Weekend checking showed no catch for one boat (three anglers).

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed 36 walleye kept for 11 boats (22 anglers).

John Day Pool:

Weekly checking showed 33 walleye kept, plus 11 walleye released for 20 boats (38 anglers).

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