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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 29, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Spring chinook and walleye on tap for Columbia River region

Columbia River 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 fishing 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. Troutdale boats averaged .06 spring Chinook caught per boat, the Portland to Longview area boat anglers averaged 0.16 spring chinook caught per boat, and boat anglers in the estuary averaged 0.13 spring chinook caught per boat. Bank angling was slow along the Oregon beaches. On Saturday’s (3/24) flight, 1,244 salmonid boats and 632 Oregon bank anglers were counted.

Gorge Bank:

Weekly checking showed no catch for three anglers.

Gorge Boats:

No Report

Troutdale Boats:

Weekend checking showed three adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook kept for 52 boats (121 anglers).

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekend checking showed three adipose fin-clipped Chinook kept, two unclipped spring Chinook released, 31 fin-clipped steelhead kept and two unmarked steelhead released for 802 bank anglers.

Portland to Longview boats:

Weekend checking showed 59 adipose fin-clipped spring chinook kept, ten unclipped spring Chinook released, seven fin-clipped steelhead kept and one unclipped steelhead released for 428 boats (1,107 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines):

Weekend checking showed two adipose fin-clipped steelhead, plus one unmarked steelhead for 11 anglers.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Wauna Powerlines):

Weekend checking showed six adipose fin-clipped spring chinook kept for 46 boats (96 anglers).

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed two fin-clipped steelhead and seven unclipped steelhead released for one boat (two anglers). Additionally, there were four unclipped steelhead released for 19 bank anglers.

John Day Pool:

Weekly checking showed no catch for 17 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 modification were adopted at the Jan. 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, Jan. 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 9 through Monday, Dec. 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 Jan. 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 Jan. 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 Jan. 1 through Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

Prohibit the retention of sturgeon seven days per week during Wednesday, Aug. 1 through Friday, Oct. 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, Oct. 20 through Dec. 31, 2012 or until the catch guideline of 2,080 legal white sturgeon has been met.

Effective Wednesday, Feb. 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:

Weekend checking showed no catch for three bank anglers.

Gorge Boats:

Weekend checking showed one sublegal sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

Troutdale Bank:

No report.

Troutdale Boats:

No report

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekend checking showed 11 sublegal sturgeon released for ten bank anglers.

Portland to Longview Boats:

Weekend checking showed one legal sturgeon kept, one legal sturgeon released, one oversize released and six sublegal sturgeon released for seven boats (19 anglers).

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed nine sublegal sturgeon released for 60 bank anglers. and 32 sublegal sturgeon for 14 boats (30 anglers).

John Day Pool:

Weekly checking showed eight legal sturgeon kept, four oversize sturgeon released and 19 sublegal sturgeon released for 100 bank anglers; and two legal sturgeon kept, two oversize released and 16 sublegal sturgeon released for 17 boats (38 anglers).

WARMWATER:

Walleye Creel:

Troutdale:

No report.

Portland to Longview boats:

No report.

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed 97 walleye kept, plus three walleye released for 27 boats (60 anglers).

John Day Pool:

Weekly checking showed 22 walleye kept, plus 13 walleye released for 33 boats (56 anglers).

Bonneville and The Dalles Pools: smallmouth bass, walleye

Cold water temperatures during the winter months can make bass and walleye fishing a challenge. Bait presentations need to be very slow because fish are not very aggressive. Anglers should try targeting slow moving water 15 to 30 ft. deep in areas such as eddies or steep channel changes by vertical jigging.

Bass and walleye fishing will pick up as water temperatures begin to warm above 50 degrees, which is usually in April.

John Day and McNary Pools: smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch

February and March are prime months for big walleye in the John Day pool; anglers target the Irrigon to Glade creek area for best results. Anglers find walleye in deeper water 20 to 40 feet, a slow vertical presentation is essential with jigs/night crawlers and blade baits.

Smallmouth can be targeted near vertical structure out of the main current, a slow presentation is essential.

Yellow perch provide a more reliable opportunity in early spring, fish can be found in shallow back water areas 5 to 20 feet deep, best bait is a small piece of night crawler fished on the bottom. Good starting locations are marinas, sloughs and shallow bays.

NOTE: The Port of Arlington will be starting our Boat Ramp replacement project on Jan. 2 and the ramp will be closed until April 15, 2012.

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