Columbia River spring Chinook season reopens

The spring Chinook season on the Columbia River has reopened, with various locations and rules for fishing in effect until May 24.
The spring Chinook season on the Columbia River has reopened, with various locations and rules for fishing in effect until May 24. File photo

The mainstem spring Chinook season reopened Friday and will continue through Wednesday (May 24)

The spring Chinook season on the Columbia River reopened Friday (May 19) and will continue to be open through Wednesday (May 24). The species affected are spring Chinook and hatchery steelhead.

Here’s a look at the various locations, dates and rules:

  • Columbia River, from Rocky Point/Tongue Point upstream to Beacon Rock (a deadline marker on the Oregon bank (approximately 4 miles downstream of Bonneville Dam’s Powerhouse One) in a straight line through the western tip of Pierce Island to a deadline marker on the Washington bank at Beacon Rock); including Deep River (Wahkiakum Co.).

A daily limit of six is allowed. Up to two adults may be retained of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Anglers are required to release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and also release wild steelhead. The minimum Salmon size is 12 inches.

  • Columbia River from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam (May 19 through May 24). Salmon and steelhead: Daily limit six, up to two adults may be retained of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. Release wild steelhead. Salmon min. size 12 inches.
  • Fishing from a vessel is prohibited. Bank angling with hand-cast lines only.
  • Columbia River, from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam). Fishing from a vessel is prohibited; bank angling with hand-cast lines only May 19 through May 24. Salmon and steelhead: Daily limit six, up to two adults may be retained of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. Release wild steelhead. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • From the Tower Island power lines to The Dalles Dam (May 19 through May 24). Salmon and steelhead: Daily limit six, up to two adults may be retained of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. Release wild steelhead. Salmon min. size 12 inches.
  • From a line starting from a fishing boundary sign on the Washington north shore located approx. 1300 feet upstream of the Dalles Dam and Lock boat ramp projected easterly across the Columbia River to a boundary sign on the Washington southern shore located approx. 200 feet above the fish ladder exit upstream to Hwy. 730 at the Washington/Oregon border (May 19 through May 26). Salmon and steelhead: Daily limit six, up to two adults may be retained of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. Release wild steelhead. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

The U.S. v. OR Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) updated the Columbia River upriver spring Chinook return and provided a minimum return expectation of 139,000 compared to the pre-season forecast of 198,600 on May 15, 2023. The pre-season buffer has been removed and when combined with pre-update catches, sufficient recreational allocation of upriver spring Chinook ESA impacts remain available for this fishery. 

The 2023 spring Chinook and steelhead season in the Columbia River is consistent with the Columbia River Compact action of February 22, April 4 and May 17, 2023. The fisheries were set within allowable catch levels for upriver spring Chinook and to minimize impacts to other stocks of concern. 

All other permanent regulations apply, including year-round closure areas as listed in the sport fishing rules pamphlet.

Staff will monitor the fishery in-season. After the closure of the fishery, staff will review catches and determine if additional fishing opportunity is warranted.

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360) 796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at (360) 902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.


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