Spring chinook salmon angling in the Columbia River will be open Friday, May 19, through Wednesday, May 24, with a chance of more fishing in late May or early June.
Washington and Oregon officials agreed Wednesday to allow hatchery-origin adult spring chinook to be kept from the Tongue Point-Rocky Point line east of Astoria to the Washington-Oregon border east of Umatilla, Ore., during the six days.
State, tribal and federal biologists met Monday and agreed the upper Columbia-Snake spring salmon run will number at least 139,000 adults, said Stuart Ellis of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. The pre-season forecast was for 198,600 to enter the river.
At a minimum run of 139,000, management plans allocate 6,660 upriver-origin spring chinook for sport fishing downstream of Bonneville Dam. In the March-early April portion of the season, anglers killed 1,780 upriver chinook, leaving a lower Columbia balance of 4,880 chinook.
Lower Columbia anglers are projected to catch about 1,520 chinook in the six days, with about 1,170 being upriver fish. That would bring the lower Columbia total to about 2,950, or 44 percent of the allocation.
The allocation for anglers between Bonneville Dam and the Washington-Oregon boundary is 951 adult chinook. Sportsmen killed 568 in the April 1-May 6 season, leaving them a balance of 383 adult chinook.
Anglers in the mid-Columbia are projected to accrue 194 additional upriver mortalities, bringing them to 762, or 80 percent of their current allocation.
The daily bag limit both upstream and downstream of Bonneville Dam will be two adult hatchery-origin fish, but only one chinook. Steelhead are part of the two-fish bag limit.
Jeff Whisler of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the biologists are “recommending some opportunity now while fish abundance is still high with the possibility to add more opportunity as information becomes available next week.’’
Another joint state hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. May 24 to consider additional spring chinook fishing.
Whisler said the spring chinook return appears late-timed this year.
The Columbia River at Bonneville Dam is flowing at 353,000 cubic feet per second, higher than the five-year average of 318,000 cubic feet per second. The water temperature is 55 degrees, same as the five-year average.
Water clarity is 3 feet, down from the average of 4.4 feet for the date.
Robert Moxley, a member of the bi-state Columbia River Recreational Advisory Group, said the Columbia is dirty and high and fishing this weekend is expected to be poor. Then, angling effort will plummet after a weekend of low catches, he added.
River conditions are projected to improve after May 25.
Moxley urged the states to open the season and leave it open until the summer chinook season begins June 16.