More days added to Columbia spring Chinook fishery, which marks its best return since 2015
With the number of spring Chinook continuing to exceed expectations on the Columbia River, fishery managers have agreed to allow 11 more days on the lower Columbia River for recreational spring Chinook fishing beginning today.
Fishery managers had increased the forecast for adult spring Chinook returning to the Columbia River upstream of Bonneville Dam in 2022 to 180,000 adults, up from the pre-season forecast of 122,900.
To date, this is the 11th best cumulative count since 1980 and the best return since 2015.
“We continue to see strong counts daily, which supports the increased run size estimate leading to more fishing opportunity,” said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fishery manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Managers previously agreed to open the area downstream of Bonneville Dam for two distinct openings, with the second opening taking place starting Tuesday, May 24 through Wednesday, June 15.
Fishing will be open on these dates from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank), plus bank angling by hand-cast only from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline.
“By taking these measured steps to re-open, it has allowed us to provide additional opportunities while ensuring we remain within harvest constraints,” Lothrop said. The fisheries and run will continue to be assessed regularly.
The spring Chinook fishery upstream of Bonneville Dam reopens May 26 and May 28 only from the Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to the Oregon/Washington border, plus bank angling by hand-cast only between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.
Anglers should review the permanent rules for the waters they plan to fish in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, as well as check for any emergency rule changes – available at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ – before heading out.
Permanent rules remain in effect through June 15 on all days (shad retention open river-wide, and steelhead and jack retention below I-5). These areas revert to permanent rules as listed in the 2021-22 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.
Members of the public can sign up to receive Columbia River fishery updates at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists.