Continue Springer Fishing

A fact sheet out from Washington and Oregon salmon managers says that even though it’s likely a guideline for how many upriver-bound springers can be handled by sport anglers will be topped beforehand, season on the lower Columbia will continue through the previously scheduled last day, Sunday, April 18.

The document reads:

* Given recent effort and catch rates, it is very likely that the lower river recreational fishery will reach its preseason guideline before April 18.  However, as outlined in Winter Fact Sheet #3 the states intend to use their discretion relative to the pre update run size buffer and total fish available for use in the recreational fisheries to meet recreational fishery objectives set at the February 18 Joint State Hearing.

* Recreational fisheries will continue as adopted.

To preserve some salmon for upstream anglers and protect listed wild stocks in light of recent years’ late and short runs, managers have been working with a catch — keepers plus release mortalities — of 17,200 above-Bonneville-bound springers, and restricting angling from I-5 to Bonneville Dam. The fact sheet says that 87 percent of that mark has been filled through April 11, a handle of just under 15,000 kings.

The river from interstate to the dam was closed after April 3, but the Columbia below I-5 remains open.

Last week saw smoking fishing and a huge effort. Of the 2,300 boats on the river last Saturday, 1,500 — as well as 700 bank anglers — were working the Columbia between I-5 and the north end of Sauvie Island. Northwest Sportsman’s Andy Schneider was among the fleet wailing on the fish there.

The fact sheet also revises yesterday’s kept-fish estimate to a total of 18,714 in the river below Bonneville. through the 11th. Another 2,663 have been released.

When yesterday’s fish count at Bonneville is posted, it will likely put the run over 10,000 for the season. Through late winter, the run at the dam had only been 10 percent of the 10-year average, but it has since increased to about 40 percent.

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