Despite a significant increase in the predicted 2023 spring chinook salmon run, anglers will get just one day longer than last year to keep hatchery spring chinook through early April.
Oregon and Washington met Wednesday and set early sportfishing seasons for below and above Bonneville Dam.
The 2022 forecast of 197,000 spring chinook to the Columbia River mouth — including the Willamette and other lower tributaries — resulted in a run of 286,954.
The estimate total for 2023 is 315,600.
However, biologists are juggling a court-ordered percentage of the early forecast set aside for treaty tribal fisheries, the need to protect endangered Snake River spring chinook, and a policy difference between Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife commissions that takes more than 1,000 catchable hatchery fish from the sportfishing allocations.
Fishing is open now from the Interstate 5 bridge downriver for two adult salmon per day, but from March 1 to April 7, the daily limit will be a single hatchery adult from Bonneville Dam downriver to Astoria, after which fishing will close until at least a run update in May.
That update, based on catches and passage numbers at Bonneville Dam, will provide a better look at the forecast’s accuracy and may or may not allow more sportfishing on the mainstem.
Last year’s early season ended April 6 downriver, but fishing was reopened later after run updates in May.
From Bonneville Dam upriver to the Oregon/Washington border, sportfishing for a single hatchery adult daily will open from April 1 to May 6