Washington and Oregon agreed Wednesday that spring chinook salmon angling in the lower Columbia River will continue through June 4, with a good chance of fishing even deeper into June.
State, federal and tribal biologists on Monday projected that 153,000 spring chinook will enter the Columbia in 2023 headed for waters upstream of Bonneville Dam.
At that number, management plans allocate 7,331 adult upriver chinook for sport fishing downstream of Bonneville, said Ryan Lothrop of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at a hearing on Wednesday.
Through Wednesday, lower Columbia anglers have harvested a projected 2,391 upper Columbia-Snake river chinook, which is 33 percent of their allocation. The biologists predict that in the coming 11 days sportsmen will handle about 2,800 chinook, keeping 2,115 fish, of which 1,639 are upper Columbia-Snake origin.
That would increase the lower Columbia harvest to 55 percent of its allocation, Lothrop said.
A hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 1 to consider additional spring chinook fishing time.
Mid-Columbia closes — Angling between Bonneville Dam and the Washington-Oregon border east of Umatilla, Ore., is closed beginning Thursday (May 25).
The mid-Columbia reservoirs have an allocation of 1,047 adult chinook, with a projected catch through Wednesday of 999. That is 95 percent of the allocation for that portion of the Columbia.
Randy Woolsey of the Northwest Sport Fishing Industry Association asked if the states could transfer some the lower Columbia allocation upstream to prevent a mid-Columbia fishing closure.
Robert Moxley of the bi-state Columbia River Recreational Advisory Committee asked the states to allow fishing in the boat-closure zone between Beacon Rock and the deadline at Bonneville Dam.
The states took no action on either request.
Columbia River is high and dirty — Lothrop said the five-day average streamflow at Bonneville Dam is 424,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average of 330,000 cubic feet second. Water visibility is 2.8 feet compared to an average of 4.1 feet.
Commercial fisheries — Net fishermen in the off-channel areas in the lower Columbia have caught 12,039 spring chinook so far, which is about four times larger than the five-year average, Lothrop said.
The off-channel fisheries have harvested an estimated 364 upper Columbia-Snake spring chinook.