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Warm water and fall fishing on the Columbia River

A nice columbia river fall chinook caught out of astoria at buoy 10 with guide, lance fisher

The good news is that none of these closures have anything to do with our Fall Salmon fishery that is just around the corner. The first I heard of emergency action in the region was a call from FM News 101.1, KXL looking for comment on the just imposed closures. I scrambled, heart racing, to read the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife news release on the subject. Sure enough, numerous closures were listed and rightfully so during what continues to be a very unique weather year in the Pacific Northwest. The good news is that none of these closures have anything to do with our Fall Salmon fishery that is just around the corner.

What is closed?

Most of what is closed are areas without any fishing, that are simply void of flows. A lack of water flow or current allows temperatures to warm and can have deadly effects on salmonids. A year were with 30% of our annual snow pack coupled with a very warm temperature year has really set the stage for what we’re experiencing today. I think fisheries managers are doing the right thing, but I think this years conditions should also lead us to think about how to deal with this in the future as it relates to the hydro system. At this point sections of the John Day, Clackamas and Willamette are closed, plus a plethora of other areas are either closed entirely or restricted.

Columbia River Fishing

The Columbia River below Bonneville Dam remains open and Salmon fishing in the Astoria has been good. This year’s emergence of an estuary Summer Chinook fishery has really been the surprise of the year. Although fishing below the Astoria Megler Bridge does not open until August 1, an hour an a half to either side of high slack has produced limits for those that have decided to target the limited opportunity. The Summer Chinook run is small potatoes compared to what’s about to break loose, but it’s a good sign as to how the Salmon bite could fair when things really get going in August.

Fisheries managers are expecting 900,000 Fall Chinook and another 500,000 Coho to return to the Columbia River from August to September. The Fall Chinook return could be one of the top few returns in modern history and as a result there are lots of reasons to be excited. I’ll start fishing the Astoria Buoy 1o fishery on the 8th of August and remain in the area through the 7th of September.

Post Buoy 10, I’ll be moving camp to the Columbia River Gorge and hanging out at the White Salmon, Klickitat and Deschutes Rivers. It will be interesting to see how the warm conditions affect this section of the Columbia River as this section of river is already traditionally warm in September and October. Fishery managers have again offered us a 3 Chinook limit without any fin clip regulations so if fishing is anything like the past few years, we should again have loads of fun.

If you’re looking to go fishing with friends, family or business associates, I’d be glad to help. Call 503.680.6809 or email info@lancefisherfishing.com for more information.