ODFW is today reporting that spring Chinook fishing “got off to a strong start on the lower Columbia during February.”
“Salmonid angler effort is beginning to increase, and catch rates were very good for the end of February. On Saturday’s (2/26) flight, 107 salmonid boats and 57 Oregon bank anglers were counted. Most of the effort was found upstream of St. Helens,” the agency reports.
Yesterday, the 27th, found Northwest Sportsman contributor Andy Schneider on the water, catching his first February springer since 2003. Here’s his tale:
The last time I personally caught a February Springer was Valentine’s Day 2003, so it’s been a long drought. I’ve made an effort to get out at least once every February in an attempt and catch a early Springer. Last year I made 4 February Springer trips, a record for me, but proved Springerless until March.
Tom VanderPlaat proved tough enough to volunteer to pursue some Springers with me. We started off at Davis Bar, (at the mouth of the Willamette) and made our way almost to the bottom of Sauvie Island. A boat that started fishing at the exact time we did, hooked a fish with a mere minute into their Springer Season….it took us 3 hours of fishing before I was rewarded with a bite. Throughout the day we say only 3 other fish caught, maybe it was my special brine of Sea Salt and Pautzke Nectar, the spin of the Herring, or just being in the right spot at the right time, no matter I couldn’t be happier!
The bite came just seconds after telling Tom to reel them up to make another pass. The bite and fight was pretty uneventful and before we could really comprehend what had just happened a chrome February Columbia River Spring Chinook was flopping in the bottom of the boat. While I cant prove otherwise, I swear that a February Springer tastes better than a ‘Peak Season’ Springer 😉
Thanks Tom for the excellent net job and great company! And here is hoping that it doesn’t take another 8 years for a February Springer!
ODFW also reports that last week between Portland and Longview, 11 ad-clipped springers were kept and another four wild fish were released between 24 boats with 60 anglers.