Spring chinook fishing is improving in the lower Columbia River because it’s been pretty poor so far.
The catch rate in the first week of April was an adult chinook kept or released per 12.7 rods. That compares to 10.5 rods per fish a year ago.
But look back at 2007 through 2010 for early April and the averages were a chinook per 4.1 rods in 2007, 2.5 rods in 2008, 5.9 in 2009 and 2.9 in 2010.
The Columbia was flowing at 307,000 cubic feet per second at Bonneville Dam on Wednesday. Water clarity is improving. The forecast is for the flow to increase slightly through mid-day on Saturday, then decline some.
Sixteen chinook were counted on Tuesday at Bonneville Dam, bringing the cumulative count to 129.
The Willamette River at Portland has dropped to 43,800 cubic feet per second. The average for the date is 36,300. Visibility in the Willamette has improved to between 1.7 and 2 feet.
Early catch estimates from Tuesday’s gillnet fishery in the lower Columbia were 3,600 chinook, but those numbers are subject to fine tuning.
Drano Lake is closed to all fishing on Wednesdays through June to accommodate the tribal net season. The bank-fishing-only area begins Monday from the easternmost pillar of the state Highway 14 Bridge to a posted marker on the north shore.
The East Fork of the Lewis River from the mouth to the upper boat ramp at Lewisville Park and the Washougal River from the mouth to the Mount Norway Bridge reopen for hatchery steelhead on Monday. Through June 1, selective gear rules apply with no use of bait.
Walleye fishing remains good in The Dalles pool, while smallmouth bass are being caught in John Day pool.
Klineline Pond is closed Friday and Saturday to allow the annual youth fishing event. It was stocked with 2,000 brown trout on Tuesday.
Horseshoe Lake in Woodland was stocked last week with 6,800 rainbow trout and 2,000 brown trout. Lacamas Lake received 7,450 rainbow trout on Tuesday.
Angler checks from the Washington (WDFW) and Oregon (ODFW) departments of Fish and Wildlife:
Lower Columbia — Estuary, 27 boaters with one spring chinook kept and one released; four bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Tongue Point to Wauna power lines, 52 boaters with nine spring chinook kept. (ODFW)
Cathlamet, 55 boaters with four spring chinook and two steelhead kept plus two spring chinook released; 11 bank rods with no salmon or steelhead. (WDFW)
Longview, 143 boaters with nine spring chinook and seven steelhead kept; 87 bank rods with three spring chinook and four steelhead kept; 14 boaters with one sublegal sturgeon released; three bank rods with no sturgeon. (WDFW)
Longview to Portland, 540 boaters with 32 spring chinook kept plus three released; 385 Oregon bank rods with 24 spring chinook and 34 steelhead kept plus three spring chinook and nine steelhead released; 15 boaters with one legal sturgeon kept plus two legal and 24 sublegals released. (ODFW)
Cowlitz River mouth, 11 boaters with one spring chinook kept. (WDFW)
Kalama, 104 boaters with six spring chinook kept; 38 bank rods with one steelhead released; five boaters with one legal sturgeon kept plus six sublegals released. (WDFW)
Woodland, 104 boaters with 16 spring chinook kept and two released; 261 bank rods with seven spring chinook and one steelhead kept plus three spring chinook released. (WDFW)
Warrior Rock to Kelley Point, 235 boaters with 14 spring chinook kept and one steelhead released; 104 bank rods with two spring chinook released. (WDFW)
Davis Bar to Portland airport tower, 175 boaters with eight spring chinook kept and six released; five boaters with two sublegals released. (WDFW)
Troutdale, 143 boaters with four spring chinook kept; six boaters with no sturgeon. (ODFW)
Camas-Washougal, 42 boaters with one spring chinook kept; 14 bank rods with no salmon or steelhead; three boaters with no sturgeon. (WDFW)
Columbia Gorge (downstream of Beacon Rock), eight boaters with one spring chinook kept and one released. (WDFW)
North Bonneville, 61 bank rods with one spring chinook kept and one released. (WDFW)
Mid-Columbia — The Dalles pool, 14 boaters with 17 sublegal sturgeon released; 39 bank rods with 30 sublegal sturgeon released; 23 bank rods with one spring chinook kept; 60 boaters with 55 walleye kept and five released; two bank rods with no walleye; two boaters with five bass released. (WDFW)
John Day pool, 51 boaters with two legal sturgeon kept plus one legal, one oversize and 30 sublegals released; 92 bank rods with four legal sturgeon kept plus one legal, one oversize and 14 sublegals released; 43 boaters with 11 walleye kept and five released; 17 boaters with 78 bass released. (WDFW)
Cowlitz — Fifty-three boaters with 52 steelhead and one spring chinook kept plus four steelhead released; 98 bank rods with 26 steelhead and two spring chinook kept plus two steelhead released. (WDW)
Kalama — Three boaters with one steelhead released. (WDFW)
Lewis — Nine boaters with one spring chinook kept; four bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
North Fork Lewis — Eleven bank rods with no salmon or steelhead. (WDFW)
Klickitat — Two bank rods with no salmon or steelhead. (WDFW)