2022 is almost here and we’re already looking forward to Spring Chinook fishing on the Columbia River. Fishery managers released some preliminary numbers and at this point we are expecting close to 200,000 Chinook in the Spring run. That’s a lot of fish and we’ll be chasing them from the end of March through May, possibly June, first on the Columbia River and then on the Willamette River. Let us know if you would like to get a trip on the calendar.
Columbia River Spring Chinook are probably the most prized of all Spring Chinook. Columbia River Springers have a fat content (good fat!) that is as much as nine times that of their Fall Chinook relatives. Single fish might fetch as much as $600 during some seasons, so as you can imagine, there’s quite a bit of interest on the sport fishing front.
Columbia River Spring Chinook fishing is highly regulated and often times we’ll only get a few weeks of fishing in a given year. Granted, it’s darn good fishing, but way too short for the number of clients that are trying to get out for them.
Today the joint Columbia River commission announced additional Chinook retention dates for the Columbia River. 18 total days are slated to be open for Chinook salmon fishing below Bonneville Dam, beginning this weekend: May 21st – May 23rd. Then the river opens again for Chinook retention on June 1st, dovetailing right into the summer Chinook season that begins on June 16th and goes through July 5th. That’s a nice long stretch to chase Chinook in the mainstem of the river. Above Bonneville, newly added Chinook retention dates are May 22nd, 23rd, 29th, and 30th.
Typically you can count on fishing to be worthwhile from the middle of March through the first week of April. The fish move and so do we. If you have a particular location you’re are looking to fish, just let us know. Timing is everything and some sections of the river could be potentially better than others at certain points during the season.
The fishing above Bonneville Dam is good for a stint. Usually the last week of April through the first week of May is really the window. The opportunity is brief, but fishing can be lights out. The furthest East we fish is the John Day area. If you need to fish further east, just let me know and I’ll refer you to someone that can help.
When the Columbia is done all the fishing moves into the Willamette River, which I’ll fish from the time the Columbia River closes in early April through the end of the season in May, or sometimes even into June.
I run day trips and occasional evening half day trips for my clients. Let me know how I can help, this is definitely one of the regions favorite seasons. If you’re looking for a place to stay, we’ll be happy to refer you somewhere that will work for your situation.
For any questions you might have about spring Chinook Salmon fishing, or to simply book a trip, contact us or give us a call.