Columbia Springer Update (4-20-11)

UPDATED: 4:40 p.m., APRIL 20, 2011: Salmon managers extended the spring Chinook fishery on the Columbia River above Bonneville to the Washington-Oregon line east of McNary for seven days.

Fishing will be open through May 1 from the Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to Oregon/Washington border plus the Oregon and Washington banks between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.

State managers had initially recommended keeping it open through May 5.

“Catch and effort to date has been minimal, reflective of the low Bonneville Dam counts. Catch estimates through April 17 total 39 Chinook kept and 24 released. Upriver Chinook mortalities total 41 fish, compared to the 1,032 available pre-update (4%),” says a fact sheet distributed today.

Season also opened today on parts of the Snake River.

As for a lower Columbia fishery, despite signs that more fish are now in and moving, if there is any extension, it would be put on on the “back side” of the run after a run-size update rather than on the front side of its peak.

“Right now we’re in a holding pattern for springs,” says fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver.

Fishing ended Tuesday after eight-day and then four-day extensions following the April 5 closure.

Through yesterday, all of 1,803 springers have gone over Bonneville. The river has been higher and colder than usual.

Revised numbers released this afternoon say that from Feb. 1 through April 19, anglers made 109,180 springer trips, keeping 7,440 and releasing 1,939. Of that, 5,669 were upriver-bound salmon, roughly 75 percent of the prerun-size update guideline.

“Oregon bank anglers enjoyed their best season in years,” Hymer says.

In April, they caught 1,168 while their Washington-side counterparts managed, err, 107.

Nontribal commercial anglers have taken 2,039 springers, 1,915 of which were bound for tribs above Bonneville.

While steelheading on the Lower Columbia is now closed through May 15, anglers did pick up over 1,500, keeping two-thirds, again primarily on the Oregon shore.

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