I hope your year is off to a positive start. This year looks very good for our upcoming fisheries. Below is a overview of the upcoming season, but isn’t limited to every fishery I’m involved in. Keep in mind I’m fishing twelve months of the year so let me know if there is a time where you have special guest or business contact coming into town and would like to take them out for a special day on the water.
The Spring Chinook forecast for the Columbia River is very strong with a predicted number of 314,200 adult Chinook bound for the Upper Columbia River and a additional 83,400 returning to the Willamette River. This is a increase of approximately 95,000 Spring Chinook from last years forecast.
The best fishing will most likely take place around the end of March and go through June. I will be focusing on the Columbia River until the quota is caught. At that time I will move into the Willamette River, where I’ll fish through June.
The Columbia will have a one fish limit and must be a hatchery fish and the Willamette River will allow a TWO fish limit requiring both fish to be hatchery.
Remember this is known to be the best table fare of all salmon and they’re coming to our back yard of Portland. No need to travel to the coast when we can just wait until end of March to catch them in the Portland area.
Sturgeon fishing was a big topic of discussion in our meeting. The DFW from both sides (WA & OR) have taken aggressive measures in reducing quotas by as much as 40% each year for the last 4 years to reduce the impact of a shrinking fishery. Based on discussion of the department with the advisory committee this month. It is my belief that we could be seeing the last season for the retention of White Sturgeon for a very long time. A lot of this stems from predators(Sea Lions) and a lack of two major food sources for the sturgeon. First being the smelt run and second the lamprey’s steady decline over the past few years has forced our resident white sturgeon to seek food in other coastal waters to the north and south of the Columbia River.
With all this depressing news, it still remains a great fishery. The lower Willamette this February will be a very short season due to a small quota of a maximum of 2,022 fish. There will only be four days open this February (17th,18th,24th,25th). It is the believe of the DFW that approximately 500 sturgeon will be caught each day reaching our quota on the 25th of February.
The later fishery for these Sturgeon will take place in the lower section of the Columbia river near Astoria. The allowed quota for this fishery will be approximately 5,005 sturgeon. The season will open the second week of May and close around the 5th of July. Based on the previous 4 years the season has been extended into the end of July where the fishing has been the best.
The final Chinook run starts around the 2nd week of August in Astoria. As the salmon come in from the ocean I’ll be there to intercept them and will follow them up the river. Around the end of August I will “leap frog” up river to the Mouth of the Cowlitz River near Rainier, OR. This fishery will remain open until approximately the second week of September. After the DFW (OR & WA)closes this section of river. I will jump up river below Bonneville Dam, where I will fish until the second week of October. This run of Fall Chinook and Coho will be comparable to last years numbers of over 600,000 Chinook and coho will be approximately 270,800.
All of these fisheries are a lot of fun and makes for great memories for a family or friend outing. Also makes a good opportunity to entertain customers/clients.