Fish & Feathers: Spring Chinook catch perks up

This albacore taken by Tim Morrow is certainly a keeper.

The spring Chinook salmon run, which started on the slow side because of water conditions, has certainly lived up to expectations as evidenced by liberal limit changes around the region.

Sturgeon fishing in the Columbia River from Tongue Point to the mouth of the river remained slow this past week and hopefully will pick up Memorial Day weekend. Sturgeon season will close June 27 to June 30 to catch and release only, but will reopen July 1 to July 4. The end date depends on quotas being met. It is best to make your charter boat reservations soon if you are planning to fish in June as many boats are already booked.

If you happen to miss the last days of clamming this past weekend, you missed a good one. The weather and the ocean were perfect, the clams were plentiful and so were the WDFW enforcement team.

Fishing for albacore is still a couple of months away but checking the sea surface temperature charts show that there are several hot spots at about the 129 line. This a long way out for recreational and charter boats but well within range of larger commercial vessels.

If you have never tried the albacore fishery out of Ilwaco, you don’t know what you’re missing. In my opinion it is the most exciting fishing experience Washington state has to offer. It generally heats up around the end of July and runs through September, it’s really a marine showcase of birds and fish of several species. You never know what you are going to encounter in the “blue water.”

   Keeping up with WDFW press releases and fishing rule changes can be quite a challenge, to say the least. Check them out on the WDFW website:

Ron Malast can be reached at 665-3573 or

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