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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 17, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Columbia River mainstem above Bonneville reopens this weekend only for hatchery spring chinook

A short window of fishing opportunity this weekend (May 19-20) will allow anglers to pursue spring chinook in the Columbia River mainstem on a 163-mile sretch above Bonneville Dam.

Boat and bank anglers can fish from the Tower Island powerlines to Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam. Bank anglers can also fish from the powerlines downriver to Bonneville Dam.

The daily limit is two hatchery-marked adult spring chinook.

The reopening was allowed since the upriver spring chinook forecast went from 202,000 to 216,500. The updated foecast allows anglers to catch about 800 more hatchery spring chinook in this specific area.

Cindy LeFleur, a Columbia River policy manager for state Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said in a news release the two states may consider additional openings – both above and below Bonneville Dam – if the estimated size of this year’s spring chinook run continues to rise.

“All eyes are on the fish counts at Bonneville Dam right now,” LeFleur said. “This run is one of the latest on record, so we really have to gauge from one week to the next how many spring chinook are still coming.”

The area has been closde since May 6. Fishery officials will meet on May 22 to discuss run updates and any more possible fishing time.

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