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Ecology and salmon related articles

Spring Chinook Slow to Show in
Columbia River over Bonneville Dam

by Rich Landers
Spokesman-Review, April 5, 2017

River water 'spills' through Bonneville Dam spillways. FISHING -- The patience of salmon fishermen is being tested as Bonneville adult spring chinook counts reached a new LOW yesterday.

"Through April 3, only 22 adult spring chinook have been counted at Bonneville Dam," reports Joe Hymer, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife salmon specialist in Vancouver. "The previous low was the 25 fish counted through April 3, 1949."

Anglers have to have a little faith. Although commercial prices for fresh wild chinook are soaring to more than $45 a pound, the run reaching Bonneville Dam usually peaks around the first week of May.

Other numbers offer perspective and encouragement. For instance, Columbia River flows at Bonneville Dam are at record levels. Yesterday's average flows at Bonneville Dam were 445,300 cfs, Hymer said. "Flows have never been above 400,000 cfs on April 3 since at least 1950. The previous high were the 381,500 cfs on April 3, 1969." Hymer adds:

That last bullet means the springers appear to be on their way with an optimistic note that fewer sea lions are gobbling them up.

Better yet, Chris Donley, WDFW regional fisheries manager and salmon fishing expert says he expects the state to open three sections of the Snake River to spring chinook fishing near Clarkston, Little Goose Dam and Ice Harbor Dam for two days per week. The season, which will be determined later, would be almost identical to last year's season as he envisions it at this time.

Idaho seasons start April 22.

Related Pages:
First Columbia River Spring Chinook of Season Swims Up, Over Bonneville Dam by Rich Landers, Spokesman-Review, 2/14/17

Rich Landers
Spring Chinook Slow to Show in Columbia River over Bonneville Dam
Spokesman-Review, April 5, 2017

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