Lower Columbia anglers slightly exceed summer chinook guideline

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

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Anglers in the lower Columbia River exceeded their summer chinook salmon guideline by 14 percent.

Robin Ehlke of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife told the Columbia River Compact on Wednesday that sportsmen downstream of Bonneville Dam have a catch expectation of 1,956 chinook and will have killed 2,234 by July 31.

That's an overage of 278 summer chinook.

The summer chinook retention season was June 16-30 for hatchery fish, but a few are killed while being released in the ongoing steelhead fishery.

Between Bonneville Dam and Priest Rapids Dam in central Washington, the sport guideline is 445 summer chinook with a projected catch of 200 by season's end on July 31.

The Columbia Riverer gillnetters fished for two nights and landed 1,954 summer chinook, 10 short of their guideline.

Most of the sport allocation is assigned to the Columbia River upstream of Priest Rapids Dam, a stretch of water that does not get substantial numbers of fall chinook.

Chinook fishing is just getting started upstream of Priest Rapids Dam. Ehlke said the catch guideline is 4,376 with an expected harvest of about 3,500 salmon.

Chinook retention downstream of Bonneville Dam resumes on Aug. 1.

State, federal and tribal biologists project the summer chinook run will be 65,000.