Columbia Managers Mull More Springer Days East Of Gorge

Washington and Oregon salmon managers are mulling opening the Columbia from Bonneville Dam east to the state border upstream of McNary Dam for four more days as a sudden surge of spring Chinook pump upstream.

Under a proposal released this afternoon, that area would be open from this Saturday through next Tuesday, May 7-10.

The same bank and boat restrictions that the fishery operated under before the May 1 closure would be in effect.

During that season, anglers there kept 453 of the 1,032 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 would be reached, a fact sheet says.

With Sunday’s massive 15,766-Chinook day and another 15,000-plus over in the past two days, managers appear to be slightly less worried about the run size, which otherwise had been lagging and late.

“With the strong counts at Bonneville Dam in recent days, TAC is more optimistic about the run status now compared to one week ago,” reads the fact sheet.

Through yesterday, nearly 69,000 have gone over the dam, 90,000 fewer than at this point last year, but 56,000 more than 2006, 30,000 more than 2009, 2007 and 2005, and 16,000 more than 2008. Most of those years were late-timed runs and smaller in size, except for 2010, one of the largest on record.

“Based on the recent 5-year average, which includes four late-timed years, passage is typically about 35% complete by May 3 and the average 50% passage date is May 8,” reads the fact sheet.

“The U.S. v Oregon Technical Advisory Committee has not updated the run size; TAC prefers to be closer to the 50% cumulative arrival date at Bonneville Dam before updating the run size,” it says.

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