2024 Spring Chinook Fishing Extended on the Columbia River

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The Oregon and Washington Fish and Wildlife departments have added another four days to their early-season spring Chinook salmon seasons on the lower Columbia River.

After two extensions, anglers will now be able to chase these prized salmon through Thursday, April 11.

This is excellent timing because catch rates have really just started to improve in the past few days.

“The way fishing has picked up in the last couple of days, it has me excited to be able to keep fishing the Columbia River this weekend,” said Marvin Henkel Jr. from his Marvin’s Guide Service boat, soon after netting a Chinook salmon for a client on Thursday, April 4.

Like many local fishing guides, Henkel will move his trips to the lower Willamette River after the Columbia closes.

Until then, the stretch of the Columbia River that will remain open to fishing those additional days is below Bonneville Dam. Boaters can fish below Beacon Rock while bank anglers can fish below a deadline closer to the dam. The lower boundary is Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River.

That area includes plenty of great fishing spots from below Longview up into the Columbia River Gorge, including right in the Portland and Vancouver areas.

Biologists have determined that a slow start to this year’s catches has left enough fish for anglers to harvest before hitting their pre-season quota limit, and commissioners from both states agreed with that assessment during an April 4 teleconference.

The states jointly set harvest limits based on run forecasts so that an adequate number of both wild and hatchery fish are available to create the next generation of spring salmon.

Spring Chinook are considered one of the tastiest of not just the Chinook runs but of all Pacific salmon.

While the Columbia River is open, anglers can keep up to one Chinook salmon. Hatchery steelhead are also open to harvest, and very lucky anglers could potentially keep both a Chinook and a steelhead or two steelhead. These fish have clipped and healed fins to indicate hatchery origin.

Be sure to check the permanent regulations and licensing requirements of the relevant state before fishing. For example, barbless hooks are required throughout this Columbia River salmon fishery.

Read the official Columbia River Action Notice.