Spring chinook sport fishery on Lower Columbia moving at a snails pace, but commercial test fishery found good fish numbers of late

Not much change for spring chinook fishing along the Lower Columbia River, and I had a chance to get a first-hand look at the mighty river while crossing the I-5 Bridge on Friday and Sunday.

Sure enough even the quick visual saw the water level pretty high and muddy on both days, and it sounds like success was equally as murky.

“Between Oregon and Washington (department of fisheries) we sampled 700 anglers who had two spring chinook,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “What you have to find is some clear water between the tributaries. Otherwise there are some people still fishing, but not having a lot of success.”

While sport anglers continue to struggle it looks like good numbers of spring chinook (including upriver fish) are being caught in the test fishing in the Longview-Cathlamet area, Hymer reported. However, daylight fishing conditions are good with the high and turbid water and fewer pinnipeds.

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State Fish and Wildlife plans to meet on April 5 to discuss the spring chinook fishery and see if an extension on the keeping it open is a possibility.

The Lower Columbia spring chinook fishery is open through April 6 for boat and bank fishing from mouth at Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock, and bank fishing only from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam.

Here are some of the latest facts and figures on the Columbia River spring chinook return provided by Hymer:

The 12 adult spring chinook have been counted at Bonneville Dam through March 25, and it’s the sixth lowest total since at least 1938. The lowest are the two fish counted through March 25, 1949.

In more recent years, just eight fish had been counted through March 25, 2006.

Flows at Bonneville Dam are the highest since at least 1950, which was 459,600 cubic feet per second on March 25.

No other flows have been higher…

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