Shhh, don’t tell the Missus, but I’m here at the office late, figuring that WDFW would probably fire off some sort of Miller Time press release about spring Chinook somewhere, and, yup, they did.
The agency just announced that the 163 1/2 miles of the Columbia above Bonneville to the state line east of McNary Dam will re-open this Saturday for four more days of hatchery springer fishing.
The lower Yakima River will also be a go this weekend in an announcement made earlier; the middle section the following Saturday
“We haven’t done an official run update yet, but the recent dam counts are strong enough to allow anglers four more days of fishing and still remain within the current buffered harvest guideline for the area,” said salmon manager Cindy LeFleur.
Above Bonneville Dam, fishing for hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon will be open to boat and bank anglers between the Tower Island powerlines below The Dalles Dam and the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam. Bank fishing is also allowed from Bonneville Dam upriver to the powerlines located about 6 miles below The Dalles Dam.
During the earlier season in that stretch, anglers kept 453 of the 1,032 fish available — mostly in the John Day Pool — before the run size is updated. Even with four added days, it’s not expected that the guideline will be reached, a fact sheet says.
Anglers fishing above Bonneville Dam can retain up to two marked, hatchery-reared adult chinook salmon or hatchery steelhead as part of their daily limit. All wild salmon and wild steelhead must be released unharmed.
Salmon fishing below Bonneville remains closed at this time.
Harvest guidelines for spring chinook fisheries above and below Bonneville Dam are based on a projected return of 198,400 upriver fish, minus a 30 percent “buffer” to guard against overestimating the run.
LeFleur said additional fishing time may be allowed in both areas if a run update confirms that returns are large enough to allow more harvest by non-Indian fishers. A run update could occur as early as next week, she said.