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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 11, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Lower Columbia River spring chinook action slowly getting better

Finally a sign of life in the Lower Columbia River for spring chinook.

“The commercial fishery (Tuesday, April 9) caught in the neighborhood of 3,600 fish, and did better than expected,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “We did see an uptick in spring chinook sport fishery mainly from Kalama downstream.”

Washington and Oregon fisheries officials will meet Thursday to review and decide on a sport fishery extension in the Lower Columbia.

Hymer says they conducted some creel checks in the Cowlitz River with some spring chinook caught all the way up to barrier dam, and quite a few winter-run steelhead being caught mainly around the trout hatchery.

As of Tuesday, there was 129 spring chinook counted at Bonneville Dam, and the one-day count for Tuesday was 16 fish.

“Last year we had 659 spring chinook at this same time, and on a 10 year average it is close to 8,000, so we are tracking well behind,” Hymer said. “The water is still higher and cooler than normal.”

“Overall we are seeing a little bit more positive signs for spring chinook,” Hymer said. “Conditions are gettign better and it was starting to clear and drop. Hopefully it might lead to some better catches.”

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