Spring chinook retention reopens in Columbia Gorge

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

Published:

 

Retention of hatchery-origin spring chinook salmon in the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the Washington-Oregon state line east of Umatilla resumes today.

Washington and Oregon also opened the lower Columbia to fishing from a boat between Beacon Rock and Bonneville Dam. Bank fishing has been open in that stretch of the river.

Only bank fishing is allowed in Bonneville pool of the mid-Columbia from Bonneville Dam to the Tower Island power lines, six miles downstream of The Dalles Dam.

Anglers in the Columbia are allowed one hatchery-origin spring chinook per day. Barbless hooks are required.

Ron Roler, Columbia River policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the spring chinook forecast has been upgraded from 107,500 to at least 115,000.

The improved forecast allows for the two openings without exceeding overall catch limits, he said.

A run of 141,400 spring chinook was forecast in December.

"While we don't have as many fish as forecast at the beginning of the season, the outlook has certainly improved,'' said Steve Williams, deputy administrator of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fish Division.

Starting June 16, summer chinook season opens in the Columbia.

The daily limit will be two adult salmon or steelhead, but only one of each.

Hatchery chinook and any sockeye may be retained through June 30 downstream of Bonneville and through July 31 upstream of the dam or until harvest guidelines are met.