Columbia River Continues to be
by Mark Yuasa
The Columbia River spring chinook fishery remains the hotbed on the fishing scene, but Puget Sound anglers can now add halibut to the menu.
"Spring chinook catches have been pretty strong, and there was a pretty good bite [Wednesday morning] from the [Portland] airport down to the railroad bridge just below the I-5 bridge," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Anglers at the Marine Park boat ramp just above I-5 were averaging anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters of a fish per boat.
While some of the best sport catches have been coming from the airport downstream to the railroad bridge off Hayden Island and Vancouver, further upstream places like from Camas-Washougal up to Bonneville Dam have picked up.
"The Port of Camas check showed they're still catching fish, and the best fishery has been up towards the dam," Hymer said. "One recent check showed it was a two-plus-fish-per-boat average, and Oregon was seeing the same catch rates."
The portion of the Lower Columbia from the west power lines on Hayden Island to Buoy 10 has closed, but the river from the Hayden west power lines up to McNary Dam is open for fishing.
"The Columbia spring chinook is the talk around town, and it is pretty much a no-brainer fishery," said Bryan Nelson at Three Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville. "Trolling with a Fish Flash and cut-plug herring does the job, or anchor up and put down a Kwikfish."
From April 1 to 6, an estimated 24,590 angler trips were made with 4,438 chinook kept and 624 released.
The Columbia mainstem above Bonneville, the Wind River and Drano Lake are open daily, but fishing is slow. The Klickitat River is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
"The [Bonneville] dam counts have broken 100 fish per day, but they are going to start spilling more water over the dam [beginning today] and that could spur more fish to move over the dam. That could also spur the bank fishery bite just below Bonneville, too."
The sport halibut fishery in Puget Sound [Marine Catch Areas 6-11 and 13] opens today, but don't expect much early on until we get into a more mild tidal exchange starting this Sunday.
"It should be a pretty good halibut show once we get past these big low tides," said Shawn Davidson at Ted's Sports Center in Lynnwood. "There should be some halibut around Mutiny Bay and Hein Bank areas."
There is a daily limit of one halibut per angler, with no minimum size limit. In those areas, halibut fishing is open Thursdays to Mondays only through June 13.
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