Fishery managers from Washington state, the federal government and tribal entities have set the dates for the spring chinook salmon season on the Columbia River.
The lower Columbia River will have a 38-day catch-and-keep season March 1 through April 9.
The joint managers set a daily limit of two salmon, and only one can be a hatchery-marked chinook. Sport-fishing anglers can only keep hatchery-marked spring chinook, which can be identified by a clipped adipose fin near the tail on top.
The exceptions to the open dates will be March 29 and April 5, which will be closed from Buoy 10 up to Beacon Rock. Also on those days, bank fishing will be allowed from Beacon Rock up to the Bonneville Dam deadline.
The stretch of the river from about six miles below The Dalles Dam to the Washington-Oregon border will have a catch-and-keep season from March 16 through May 6, for a total of 52 days. This area also includes banks between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.
The season was set based on a forecast of 188,800 upriver-bound Columbia River adult spring chinook in early December.
“The spring chinook forecast would rank as the ninth largest dating back to 1990, if it comes in as expected,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
The season will be reviewed when the joint managers meet on April 7. If the run is strong, the season could possibly be extended. Likewise, the managers can make adjustments if the run is weaker than forecast.
Last year, the spring catch-and-keep chinook season was open 74 days. According to records, 151,173 trips were taken with 19,586 spring chinook kept and 5,052 released.
Wild spring chinook are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act.