Spring chinook fishery will reopen above and below Bonneville Dam

Columbia River

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

OLYMPIA – Starting Friday (May 25), the popular sport fishery for adult spring chinook salmon will reopen on the Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upriver to the Washington/Oregon border near Umatilla.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed to reopen the fishery, based on an updated run forecast projecting that 116,500 upriver origin spring chinook will return to the Columbia River this year.

While that projection is down from the preseason forecast of 166,700 fish, the run is still strong enough to allow for some additional days of fishing, said Ryan Lothrop, a Columbia River fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“We’ve been monitoring fish passage at Bonneville very closely, because we didn’t want to reopen the fishery without a better idea of the actual run size,” Lothrop said. “We now know that run was both late and smaller than expected, but it’s still strong enough to support reopening the fishery.”  

The fishery is set to run through June 6 below Bonneville Dam and through June 15 above the dam, although fishing could close sooner if the catch reaches area harvest quotas before those dates or if the run-size is downgraded again.

Lothrop said more than 2,500 adult spring chinook are currently available for harvest below Bonneville Dam, along with 500 chinook in the area above the dam. Those numbers reflect a reduction in catch quotas consistent with the new run forecast.

As in previous openings, anglers will be allowed to catch one hatchery adult chinook and one hatchery steelhead, or two hatchery steelhead each day. All wild chinook and wild steelhead must be released.

In the lower river, the spring chinook fishery will be open for boat and bank fishing from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line near the mouth of the Columbia, to Beacon Rock. Bank anglers can also fish upstream from Beacon Rock to the deadline below Bonneville.

Above Bonneville Dam, the fishery will be open to boat and bank anglers from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon border near Umatilla. Bank fishing (hand-casted only) is also allowed between the dam and the Tower Island power lines, located about six miles below The Dalles Dam.

For more information, see the Fishing Rule change at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=2138.

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