Saturday, April 4, 2020
April 4, 2020

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Spring chinook salmon fishing in lower Columbia River to reopen for Memorial Day weekend

By , Columbian Outdoors Reporter

Spring chinook angling in the lower Columbia River will reopen Friday for Memorial Day weekend, then close for three days and reopen again June 3.

The season is expected to stay open June 3 through the end of the spring chinook period on June 15. Summer chinook angling opens June 16.

Washington and Oregon fishery officials adopted the 17 days of salmon fishing on Tuesday.

Sportsmen downstream of Bonneville Dam have caught 10,900 total spring chinook and 8,403 upper Columbia-Snake origin chinook, which is 81 percent of their allocation.

Biologist John North of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said if fishing reopened Saturday and attempted to continue straight through June 15 it is projected anglers would exceed their lower Columbia allocation by 123 fish.

That might have necessitated a few days of closure during the first 10 days of June, North said.

Tucker Jones, Columbia River and ocean salmon manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the adopted season assures angling during Memorial Day weekend then provides certainty when angling reopens for the balance of the spring season.

State, federal and tribal biologists met Monday and maintained their projection of 180,000 spring chinook headed for the upper Columbia-Snake.

Jones said if Bonneville Dam counts exceed expectations or sport catches are lower than anticipated that angling may reopen sooner than June 3.

State officials will meet on Thursday to consider additional commercial fishing in the lower Columbia.

Tribal fishery — Members of the Yakama, Warm Springs and Umatilla tribes will fish with gillnets from 6 a.m. Wednesday through 6 p.m. Friday.

Roger Dick Jr. of the Yakama Indian Nation said the tribes expect to catch no more than 3,600 chinook, fewer than 40 steelhead and possibly a few sockeye salmon.

The tribes are expected to end the spring season about 400 short of their allocation.

John Day sturgeon — Sturgeon angling in the reservoir between John Day and McNary dams will close for the season beginning Sunday.

Anglers are projected to reach their allocation of 500 sturgeon by the end of fishing on Saturday. Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing will be allowed.