How slow is spring chinook salmon fishing in the lower Columbia?
Well, the catch estimate for last week is 90 spring chinook for 6,500 angler trips — a chinook per 72 rods.
The catch estimate is 69 spring chinook kept and 21 released, along with 43 steelhead kept and 69 released. An estimated 67 percent of the kept chinook were lower Columbia origin.
For the month of March, the estimates are 13,716 trips with 109 chinook kept and 44 released. The sport allocation prior to the mid-May forecast update is 10,157 upriver fish kept plus release mortalities, so there are quite a few left to catch.
The Bonneville Dam count through Tuesday is 127.
The Columbia is still higher than normal and dirty. The water clarity in the Willamette River has improved to where it is better than in the Columbia.
On Saturday, more boats were counted in the Willamette (486) than in the Columbia (458) on Oregon’s flight.
Kokanee angling is not hot in Merwin Reservoir, but most boaters are catching at least a few fish.
Lacamas Lake has been planted with 5,000 brown trout. Klineline Pond has been stocked with 2,000 brown trout.
Angler checks from the Washington (WDFW) and Oregon (ODFW) departments of Fish and Wildlife:
Lower Columbia — Clatsop Spit to Wauna power lines, 20 bank rods with one spring chinook and one steelhead kept plus one spring chinook and one steelhead released. (ODFW)
Estuary, 57 boaters with no salmon or steelhead. (WDFW)
Tongue Point to Wauna power lines, 39 boaters with one steelhead kept. (ODFW)
Cathlamet, 38 bank rods and 93 boaters with no catch. (WDFW)
Longview, 93 bank rods with one steelhead released; 251 boaters with three adult spring chinook kept. (WDFW)
Cowlitz River mouth, three boaters with no catch. (WDFW)
Westport, Ore., to Portland, 268 boaters with four spring chinook and one steelhead kept; 461 Oregon bank rods with seven adult spring chinook, one jack chinook and five steelhead kept plus three adult spring chinook, two jack chinook and eight steelhead released. (ODFW)
Kalama, 142 boaters with one chinook released; 42 bank rods with one steelhead released. (WDFW)
Woodland, 105 boaters with two adult spring chinook kept; 85 bank rods with no catch; five boaters with five legal and 22 sublegal sturgeon released. (WDFW)
Warrior Rock to Kelley Point, 201 boaters with one spring chinook kept; 96 bank rods with one steelhead released. (WDFW)
Davis Bar to Portland airport tower, 86 boaters with no catch. (WDFW)
Troutdale, 49 boaters with no salmon or steelhead. (ODFW)
Camas-Washougal, 25 boaters with one adult spring chinook kept; eight bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
North Bonneville, 32 bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Columbia Gorge, two bank rods with no catch. (ODFW)
Mid-Columbia — The Dalles pool, 32 bank rods with one legal sturgeon kept plus 13 sublegals released; 53 boaters with five legal sturgeon kept plus one legal and 87 sublegals released; 84 boaters with 76 walleye kept and 17 released; two bank rods with no walleye. (WDFW)
John Day pool, 78 bank rods with six legal sturgeon kept plus one oversize and 11 sublegals released; 84 boaters with 11 legal sturgeon kept plus two legal, one oversize and 49 sublegals released; 47 boaters with one walleye kept and seven released; 16 boaters with 27 bass released. (WDFW)
Cowlitz — One-hundred-sixty-one boaters with 115 steelhead kept and three released; 122 bank rods with three spring chinook and 25 steelhead kept plus one spring chinook and two steelhead released. Boaters were catching fish by the trout hatchery. (WDFW)
Kalama — Ten bank rods with one steelhead kept; three boaters with one steelhead kept and three released. Spring chinook retention is closed. (WDFW)
Lewis — Five bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
North Fork Lewis — Two bank rods with one steelhead released. Both the Lewis and North Fork Lewis are closed for spring chinook. (WDFW)
Klineline Pond — Thirty bank rods with 25 brown trout and eight rainbow trout while releasing nine brown trout. (WDFW)