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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 28, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Lower Columbia spring chinook fishery even slower this week

The Lower Columbia spring chinook fishery hasn’t shown any sign of improvement at midweek, and in fact could have slipped further into the abyss.

“The first reports we got was that it was very slow in the Vancouver area, and possibly slower than it was,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “The Caterpillar area (below I-5) was more pitifully slow than it had been.”

The water flow went from 180,000 cubic feet per second to 330,000 in a matter of six hours, and Hymer said “that may have thrown the bite off.”

There was no commercial fishery on Tuesday, after it was determined that too many winter steelhead made up the bulk of the test fishery catch this past Sunday.

There will be another test fishery this coming Sunday, April 1 to determine if a Tuesday, April 3 commercial fishery could happen.

The Technical Advisory Compact group of fisheries managers will meet on April 5 to decide on all fisheries.

Last week on the Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam, salmon anglers made about 13,000 trips and caught 693 adult spring Chinook (594 kept and 99 released). Upriver fish comprised about 85% of the catch in Sections 1-4 but only about 35% of the catch from the mouth of the Lewis downstream.

Through March 25, there have been nearly 42,600 angler trips made with 1,176 chinook kept of which 790 were upriver stock based on Visual Stock Identification (VSI). In addition, 279 chinook have been released and 554 steelhead have been kept and 261 released.

Prior to the run update allocation of upriver fish, including release mortalities, will be 12,700 fish for the recreational fishery below Bonneville Dam.

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