Mid-Columbia To Close For Springers

UPDATED 12:40 P.M.: Oregon and Washington salmon managers announced this afternoon that the mid-Columbia River will close Monday, May 10, for spring Chinook.

The decision affects the river from the Tower Island power lines (roughly 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to McNary Dam as well as the Oregon and Washington banks from Bonneville Dam to the Tower Island power lines.

They estimate that through May 9, 3,400 springers will have been caught in that stretch by sport anglers.

With the current return estimate of 310,000 to 370,000 upper Columbia system springers, a “closure is necessary to ensure other fisheries have similar opportunity at the reduced run size level,” a fact sheet out this morning says.

However, the managers reopened hatchery salmon and steelhead fishing in the four SAFE areas near the mouth of the Columbia starting tomorrow, May 8. They had closed Youngs Bay, Knappa Slough and elsewhere after a large number of upriver-bound springers unexpectedly moved into them.

“Based on the results of the test fishing and limited commercial fishing in the Select Areas, the number of upriver fish in these areas has decreased and is expected to remain at low levels,” the fact sheet says.

Overall, 174,000 springers have passed Bonneville Dam as of May 6, “the highest cumulative count to date since 2002 and the 3rd highest count to date (1977-current),” the fact sheet states.

It also indicates that the overall recreational and commercial upriver springer catch from the mouth up into the Snake and upper Columbia through May 9 will stand at 36,623.

ANGLERS LIKE JEFF MAIN OF SPOKANE HAVE BEEN CATCHING SPRING CHINOOK IN RECENT DAYS ON THE SNAKE RIVER. THIS ONE BIT AT "THE WALL" AT LITTLE GOOSE DAM. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

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