States set seasons for spring Chinook
Oregon and Washington have set the spring Chinook seasons for the lower Columbia River for 2018.
The Joint State Compact meeting was held on Feb. 21 at the Airport Shilo Inn in Portland. The states adopted the option favored by the bi-state Columbia River Advisory Group on Feb. 13.
Fishermen below Bonneville Dam will get to fish for Columbia River spring Chinook until April 7 unless the run does not come in as expected. Above the I-5 Bridge the season will start on March 1 and run until April 7 with a two ad-clipped hatchery adult salmon/steelhead limit, only one of which may be a Chinook.
Boat anglers may fish from the I-5 Bridge to Beacon Rock. Bank anglers can fish from the I-5 Bridge to at Bonneville Dam.
Below the I-5 Bridge the season has been open since Jan. 1, with a two adult limit, and anglers could retain two Chinook. On March 1 that will change to a two-fish limit, but only one of which can be a Chinook. This section of the river will also close on April 7.
Steelhead, shad retention restricted
Effective March 16 to May 15, the Columbia River will be open for retention of hatchery steelhead from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 Bridge, and for shad from Buoy 10 to the Bonneville Dam only during days and in areas that are open for retention of hatchery spring Chinook.
Weekend fishing opportunities
• White sturgeon retention is closed from Buoy 10 upstream to McNary Dam but remains an option for catch-and-release fishing.
• The McNary Pool is open to the retention of legal white sturgeon through July 31.
• Walleye angling is excellent in the John Day Pool.
• Bank anglers are catching a few winter steelhead on the lower Columbia River.
• Trout fishing continues to be good in many Southwest Washington lakes.
• The Port of Kalama will be making renovations to the marina. As a result, the boat launch is expected to be closed from mid-April until the end of May.
Many creel surveys were curtailed by inclement weather.
A handful of spring Chinook have been caught in the Willamette and the Columbia rivers, but catches and effort should improve in March.
Steelhead angling in Southwest Washington tributaries continues to be slow, but should improve in the coming weeks.
Walleye fishing in the John Day, The Dalles, and Bonneville pools continues to be good, although recent cold weather could slow the bite.
Lake Merwin has been producing some good kokanee, but recent weather shifts may slow the bite and put a dent in angler effort.
Rowland Lake (Klickitat County): 300 rainbows at 0.7 fish per pound were planted (Feb. 14).
Horseshoe Lake (Cowlitz County): 3,480 rainbows were planted at 2.9 per pound. (Feb. 6)