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Columbia River Spring Chinook Salmon Fishing

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

*UPDATE* 2023 Columbia River Spring Chinook Salmon Season Closed

ODFW/WDFW met today and determined that the last day of the 2023 Columbia River Spring salmon season will be today, May 31st. The quick closure isn’t due to a lack of fish. It’s actually because the impact numbers for an endangered species, the Wild Snake River Chinook, have been met and can’t be exceeded. We need these fish to survive and their numbers to increase, which will benefit future Columbia River Spring Chinook runs.

Spring Chinook salmon fishing will continue as planned on the Willamette River in the Portland area, where the fish are biting and should be for the next month. These are Columbia River Spring Chinook as well. We won’t have to wait long to be chasing salmon on the the Columbia River again since it will open for summer salmon retention on June 16th.

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 salmon fishing with guide Lance Fisher

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.