Some might say better late than never as far as spring chinook returns go on the Columbia River where tributaries above Bonneville Dam like the Wind River, Klickitat River and Drano Lake have turned on.
“The catch average on the Wind is about a fish-and-a-half per boat, and it is still very crowded and more fish are still moving in there,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “Drano has been good too, but not quite as good as the Wind.”
Fisheries managers will meet Thursday, May 17 at 11 a.m. to discuss possibly reopening the Columbia mainstem above Bonneville Dam for sport spring chinook fishing.
“There might be more opportunity as the updated run size (of 202,000 spring chinook) is a little bit firmer,” said Hymer who points out the single-day count Tuesday at Bonneville was 7,300.
So far, 126,000 fish were counted at Bonneville, which is pretty close to the 10-year average, and was about 149,000 spring chinook at this same time last year.
Spring chinook fishing in tributaries below Bonneville Dam have not been as good with the highlight being the Cowlitz River between the hatcheries and the lower section.
“The Kalama has not much to report there, but they are catching some spring chinook and steelhead,” Hymer said. “Spring chinook returns don’t look real good to the Kalama or Lewis.”
The Lewis River fish trap has only 128 spring chinook, and they almost 10 times that number which is about 1,300.
The Kalama only had five spring chinook and they need about 400.