Spring chinook fishing has improved markedly with the slight drop in Columbia River streamflow, giving a glimmer of hope to anglers in these final four days of the early portion of the season.
Angling is closed beginning Tuesday downstream of Bonneville Dam. State officials might meet on Wednesday to review the run and sport catches.
On Wednesday, the catch was close to a spring chinook per boat at Cathlamet.
The indicators are mixed regarding spring chinook.
The Bonneville Dam count through Monday was 22 salmon, a record low. The old low was 25 through April 3, 1949.
Average streamflow on Tuesday was 445,300 cubic feet per second. The flow never has been more than 400,000 cubic feet per second on an April 3 since at least 1950.
Yet, test fishing on Sunday with 4.25-inch-mesh tangle nets in the Wahkiakum and Cowlitz county stretches of the lower Columbia had good results. In 17 drifts, the nets caught 102 chinook and eight steelhead. Seventy-two percent of the chinook were destined for upstream of Bonneville Dam and 91 percent were fin-clipped.
Through Sunday, the year-to-date numbers for the lower Columbia were 10,578 angler trips with 46 lower river spring chinook and 36 upper Columbia-Snake origin salmon. The early-season allocation is 6,905 upper Columbia-Snake chinook.
Kokanee continue to get lots of attention at Merwin Reservoir while salmon anglers wait on the Columbia River. Catch reports are mixed.
Angler sampling by the Washington (WDFW) and Oregon (ODFW) departments of Fish and Wildlife:
Lower Columbia — Tongue Point to Wauna power lines, 14 boaters with no spring chinook. (ODFW)
Downstream of Puget Island, 23 boaters and two bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Westport, Ore., to Portland, 149 boaters with three adult spring chinook kept and two steelhead released; 159 Oregon bank rods with three adult spring chinook and two steelhead kept plus one steelhead released. (ODFW)
Longview, 57 boaters with one spring chinook kept; 15 bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Woodland, five boaters and 31 bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Warrior Rock to Kelley Point, 14 boaters and 20 bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Davis Bar to Portland airport tower, 17 boaters with no catch. (WDFW)
Troutdale, Ore, seven boaters with no spring chinook or steelhead. (ODFW)
Camas-Washougal, three boaters with no catch. (WDFW)
North Bonneville, 12 bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Mid-Columbia — John Day pool, 10 boaters with one walleye released. (ODFW)
Cowlitz — Eighty-six boaters with two adult spring chinook and 34 steelhead kept plus two steelhead released; 138 bank rods with three adult spring chinook and 10 steelhead kept. (WDFW)
Kalama — Nine boaters with one chinook kept; 30 bank rods with one chinook and one steelhead kept plus a steelhead released. (WDFW)