VANCOUVER - Anglers may continue fishing for hatchery spring Chinook salmon in the Lower Columbia River from the Interstate 5 bridge downstream to Buoy 10 through April 15 under an agreement reached last week by Washington and Oregon fishery managers.
In addition, the two states approved a spring Chinook season above Bonneville Dam from March 16 through April 30 between the Tower Island power lines upstream to McNary Dam. The power lines are located approximately six miles below The Dalles Dam.
Anglers participating in those Chinook fisheries may also retain hatchery steelhead and shad within daily catch limits established by each state.
The fishery below the Interstate 5 bridge has been open seven days per week since Jan. 1, although the bulk of the spring chinook run generally does not arrive until March.
Seasons approved last week are based on preliminary run projections that significantly fewer spring Chinook will return to the Columbia River this year than in 2006.
Pre-season estimates indicate that approximately 164,000 fish will return to the Columbia River this year, compared to an actual return of 225,000 fish last year.
"Given current run-size estimates, we need to take a conservative approach in setting this year's seasons," said Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.