Good news for anglers in the Columbia River area: Biologists in both Oregon and Washington have determined that the spring run of chinook this year will be much higher than previously anticipated. The original estimate used to set the spring chinook season was 282,000 as of February. A revised run prediction now has the count at 350,000. This increase came as a relief to biologists, who have seen inaccurate spring chinook predictions the past few years.
Unfortunately, the increase in chinook isn’t enough to reopen sport fishing in the area. Both states agree that sport fishing should remain closed until the number of chinook reaches at least 380,000. There are still a number of weeks left to count fish at Bonneville Dam, however, and reaching that number isn’t out of the question.
Although recreational fishing is still on hiatus, commercial fishing has been opened in select Columbia River areas. Commercial seasons have also been adopted for tribal fishermen above the Bonneville Dam. The most recent catches for commercial fishing took roughly 7,500 fish, lower than expected. Because of the new prediction of 350,000 chinook, commercial anglers have up to 3,000 to 4,000 more upriver fish available.
Read all about the latest commercial fishing season openings.