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Columbia River Spring Chinook Salmon Fishing

Very happy woman with her spring chinook on the Columbia River.

*UPDATE* 10 More Days Added for Columbia River 2024 Spring Chinook Salmon Retention

Fishery managers from ODFW and WDFW announced that 10 additional days will be added to the Columbia River Spring Chinook salmon season. Retention will be allowed from Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam, with boat fishing restricted to below Beacon Rock. Bank fishing will be allowed from Tongue Point up to Bonneville Dam. The additional retention dates are May 17th-19th, 25th-27th, and June 12th-15th. This means we can move right into our Columbia River Summer Chinook salmon season that’s open from June 16th-19th. The Willamette River offers Spring Chinook salmon fishing opportunities throughout the Springer season. 

2024 Columbia River Spring Chinook Salmon Season

Spring Chinook fishing starts out on the Columbia River before fish move into the tributaries. Retention of Spring Chinook and Steelhead will be allowed from the Buoy 10 line upstream to Beacon Rock from March 1st through April 11th. Further upriver, retention will be allowed from the Tower Island Power lines to the Oregon/Washington border. The daily bag limit is two adult adipose fin-clipped salmonids (Chinook or Steelhead), only one of which may be a Chinook. With this year’s forecast, we should have some good Columbia River Springer opportunities before shifting to the Willamette River to finish out the season through May and possibly into June. Now is the time to book your guided fishing trip. Columbia River Spring Chinook salmon are prized for their flavor and fat-content, and nothing beats catching and cooking your own springer.

 columbia river spring chinook salmon fishing with guide Lance Fisher

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.

Seasons from Bonneville Dam to Astoria

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.

Seasons from Bonneville Dam to the Washington border

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 we’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.

Spring Chinook caught on the on the Columbia River with guide Lance Fisher

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 region’s 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.