The flowering cherry trees that line Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park are in full bloom. To many, that is a sign that spring has come to Portland. The Spring Chinook Salmon, known as Springers, are arriving as well. These local favorites are stunning, in color, texture, and taste. If you’re looking to fire up the grill or smoker at home, why not experience a day on the river with your friends and family beforehand? Talk about farm (or river) to table freshness!
Fishing conditions for Springers have been good and the early catches of Spring Chinook reflect that. We’ve definitely had some interesting late winter weather and I’m really excited for things to warm up as we move into the prime months of Springer fishing. The Columbia River is slated to remain open for Chinook retention through April 7th, which is great news. It gives us 3 solid weeks where we can fish either the Columbia or Willamette River, whichever is fishing better on a given day. As we toward April I expect fishing to pick up as more and more fish move into the area. The Multnomah Channel is a favorite area to fish this time of year, and we’ve seen some beautiful fish already. The 2023 Columbia River Spring Chinook forecast is for over 300k fish, and of those, over 70k Springers are expected to head into the Willamette River. That’s almost 50% more fish than the actual return for 2022. I think the 2023 Springer season is going to be some of the best fishing we’ve seen in the Portland area in awhile. Get your fishing trip on the calendar so you don’t miss out.
April and May should be good fishing months, but of course the areas we fish and conditions are going to change 3x’s over before we hit June. Our focus will shift to the Channel, the Willamette and by the end of the month, Drano and The Wind. The nice snowpack we have should keep the rivers from warming up too quickly, but how hot it gets in April and how much rain shows up will be what ultimately drives our temperatures. At a minimum, snowpack should help with flows, but how much so, really depends on how much spill we get out of the Columbia River dams. Too much spill and it backs the Willamette up big time. While this isn’t ideal at moderate levels, I’ve seen some killer fishing as levels approach the top of the boat ramps. Of course, I’m praying for the ladder.
There’s lots of Salmon fishing to do right now. If you’d like to add a little variety, you can always go catch and release Willamette River sturgeon for part of the day. This combo trip is very popular amongst our guests! White sturgeon claim the Willamette and Columbia Rivers as their home year-round, and the months of April and May tend to offer lots of action. Of course it’s your trip, and we want to provide you with the experience you’re looking for.