Test Fishery Finds Increasing Numbers Of Springers

UPDATE: 9:27 A.M., MARCH 29, 2011: Allen Thomas has an article in today’s C0lumbian on tonight’s commercial fishery.

A Saturday night-Sunday test fishery on the Columbia River between Tongue Point and the mouth of the Lewis yielded 102 spring Chinook, the most of the season and twice as many has have been landed in that stretch in all five of the previous nettings.

And with that, salmon managers approved a four-hour commercial fishery Tuesday night on the river from the mouth up to Kelley Point, which is at the mouth of the Willamette.

They estimate it would catch 2,700 springers, of which 1,581 would be upriver-bound kings, or 85 percent of the quota available before a possible run update.

“Delaying the fishery would increase the likelihood that full fleet fisheries would be even shorter in duration, or may not occur until after a run size update (early May),” says a fact sheet distributed early this afternoon.

The increased catch is a good sign also for sport fishermen who have seen relatively slow fishing.

“(Worst) Springer season I have seen in years but still managed to go 2/3… what the heck!” guide Bill Swann posted on his Facebook page last Friday afternoon.

Around 3:30 p.m. this past Saturday, an ODFW fish checker at the 42nd St./Gleason ramp said she’d counted 10 springers for 70 boats.

That day’s Spring Fishing Classic saw a total of 18 salmon weighed in by 95 teams. Our boat hooked two, landing one, on chartreuse Fish Flashes and chartreuse cutplugs fished 1000 yards downstream of the ramp.

A BEAUT FOR CRAIG HULTGREN, LANDED IN THE INTERSTATE EARLIER THIS MONTH. HE WAS FISHING HERRING WITH FRIEND BARRY DUBNOW, WHO ALSO HAD TO RELEASE A WILD HOG THAT DAY. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

That said, the sport catch appears to be ticking along as predicted, according to fishery managers.

“Catch rates began to improve last week, and reports indicate the improvement carried through the week-end. Improving river conditions and increased fish abundance are contributing to improving angler success,” the fact sheet says. “Based on catch to date, and catch projections, the recreational fishery below Bonneville Dam will remain open as scheduled through April 4. The states will continue to monitor sport catch and will provide an update on lower river sport catch through March 27 this week.”

catch projections appear to be ticking along as predicted, according to fishery managers, who add that it is picking up.
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