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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

January 14, 2015 at 10:39 AM

First spring chinook reported caught on Oregon’s Willamette River late last week

fishin12Spring may feel like a long time away as we still count down the days until the first official day of spring, but don’t tell that to the anglers and fish who are starting to look for the odd spring chinook in the Lower Columbia River.

The Lower Columbia River below the I-5 Bridge is currently open for hatchery spring chinook, and while the best action is more than two months away the first fish was already caught in the Willamette River on the Oregon side of the mighty big river.

“The report by Bill Monroe (with the Oregonian) said it was a clipped hatchery chinook caught by a guide boat (on Thursday, Jan. 8) near the mouth of the Clackamas River,” Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist said. “It was only about 9 pounds, and you usually hear of an odd early fish caught in January and February.”

State fisheries has forecasted a return of 232,500 upriver spring chinook to the Columbia River, which would be the sixth largest return since 1980. The Willamette is expecting 55,400 and is usually the early driver in lower river catches.

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