Salmon Season Extension Good News
Strong Spring Chinook Run Below and Above Bonneville Means More Fishing
This is going to be a good year to fish below and above the Bonneville Dam. The spring chinook salmon season extension is due to the fish passing Bonneville Dam are coming in at higher numbers than expected this year and this equates to more lines in the water. The fish managers from Washington and Oregon have agreed to extend the fishing season on the Columbia River and that is great news for area fishermen. The extension runs along miles below and above the dam.
This year the fishery in the lower river will reopen Saturday, May 9, for one day, and again from May 16 through June 15 from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Beacon Rock for boat and bank anglers. Anglers can also fish farther upriver to the fishing boundary just below Bonneville Dam.
Those looking to hit the water above the dam will find that the current salmon season extension is for four extra days through May 10 from the Tower Island power lines to the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam. Anglers can also fish upriver from Bonneville Dam to the Tower Island power lines during that time.
Local fishermen are excited about the salmon season extension. “I am looking forward to the extra fishing time,” says Tara Spector of Vancouver. “We fish the Columbia every year for Chinook so extra time just means extra fishing…who can argue with that?” In both sections of the main stem of the Columbia River, anglers can retain one hatchery adult chinook salmon as part of their daily catch limit. Any wild salmon or steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed.
The salmon season extension was based on a new annual run forecast of 241,000 adult upriver fish past Bonneville Dam – 8,500 more than originally projected. Through May 6, the total catch by anglers from the mouth of the river to the Washington/Oregon state line is expected to reach 13,170 adult upriver fish.
It is important to note that the lower river has been closed to spring chinook fishing since May 4 but fishery managers agreed to open the lower river May 9 for one day, and will provide several weeks of additional fishing opportunities starting May 16 to coincide with the opening of the steelhead fishery.
For more information on fishing seasons, see WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/