Outdoors blog 4/2

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

Published:

 

The Columbia River Compact is scheduled to meet by teleconference at 1 p.m. Monday to consider a commercial fishing period for spring chinook and sturgeon in the lower river.

Given that the river is closed on Tuesday to sport fishing, I'd guess the commercials will get eight hours to fish, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. That's the time frame the Washington and Oregon staff biologists recommended last week.

I'll post a story here on the web shortly after the compact is over and will put a story in Tuesday's paper.

Test fishing on Sunday in the Wahkiakum County area caught 55 chinook and 12 steelhead in 16 drifts using 41/4-inch mesh nets. Ninety-one percent of the chinook were fin-clipped and 48 percent were upper Columbia salmon. Sixty-seven percent of the steelhead were fin-clipped.

Streamflows are extremely high in the river. The flow at Bonneville Dam this morning was just short of 350,000 cubic feet per second. At Beaver Army Terminal on the Oregon side downstream of Longview, the flow this morning was 606,000, compared to a norm of 232,000.

The Willamette River at Portland this morning was flowing at 159,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average of 32,200.

The river is getting murkier, too. I drove up state Highway 14 through the Columbia Gorge on Sunday.

While the color of Rock Creek and Wind River looked acceptable, the Little White Salmon River is running brown and Drano Lake is very muddy. No one was fishing at the mouth of Wind River or Drano.

The White Salmon River is muddy, which is a constant since the breaching of Condit Dam in late October.

Liking to hike

There were more than 25 cars parked at the Dog Mountain trailhead at about noon on Sunday. This is with a temperature of 42 degrees, a mild west wind and steady rain.

I can understand the attraction of Dog Mountain in late May and early June, when the balsamroot display is spectacular along with the lupine and paintbrush. But on a gray, rainy day in April, go figure.