Opinion Columns & Blogs

Lower Columbia spring king season gets a six-day extension

Washington and Oregon conferees agreed to an extension of this spring's lower Columbia River personal use fishery for early kings Monday, April 7 to Monday, April 14.

In this scenario, managers also included a one-day sport closure set for Tuesday, April 8 to allow commercial nets to be briefly set.

Evaluations of sport catch data to date found the hook and line fishery is well behind the project catch rate that was cause for the previous closure date. The catch total as of April 7 was expected to have been 12,000 but estimates are that anglers actually have landed only 3,000 chinook.

Higher, muddier than usual flows are blamed for the lack-luster angling result, but with water conditions getting better, they expect catch effort and encounter rates to increase.   

During the extension, the daily bag limit is one hatchery chinook (adipose fin-clipped), also shad may be kept, as can hatchery steelhead. If the catch allocation of early kings is not taken in this new six-day stretch and the run strength is as forecast, managers say there will be another opening later in this spring.

Wild kings and steelhead possessing an intake adipose fin must be released unharmed without being removed from the water.

This fishery rule applies to Columbia waters from Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon rock allowing both bank and boat fishing. Bank anglers also may ply the Columbia reach from Beacon Rock upstream to the closure zone line below Bonneville Dam.