First Springer Over B. Dam?

A second spring Chinook has been hauled out of the Lower Columbia, but this fish was much higher up the big river than yesterday’s.

According to biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver, the 24.5-pounder was caught between the mouth of the Lewis River and the Clark-Skamania County line east of Washougal during the same overnight non-tribal commercial white sturgeon fishing period as the first.

That one, a 16-pounder, was caught somewhere near Cathlamet.

That upstream movement sent me off to the UW’s Columbia River Data Access in Real Time site where I discovered that, holy smokes!, it appears as if the season’s first springer went over Bonneville Dam yesterday as well.

The Fish Passage Center reports the same information on its daily log.

Hymer’s checking to confirm that it was indeed a spring Chinook.

Previous years, such as 2010 and the early 2000s, have seen pilot springers over Bonneville in January, though it was not until March 2 that the first of the delectable fish poked its head over the dam in 2009.

Fish managers forecast that somewhere around 100,000 5-year-old springers will return to the Willamette and Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon and Central Idaho tribs this season, and they tend to come in earlier than the 4-year-olds.



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