WDFW - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

02/21/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/21/2024 15:22

2024 Columbia River spring Chinook fishing seasons announced

Photo by NOAA Fisheries

OLYMPIA - Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon on Wednesday approved this year's recreational spring Chinook salmon fishing season for the Columbia River.

The 2024 forecast for upriver spring Chinook is 121,000 fish, fewer than the 141,179 that returned to the Columbia River in 2023, and lower than the 10-year average of 152,289 fish.

"Although this run is smaller than the last few year's returns, we are still able to provide some quality fishing opportunities," said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fisheries manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. "We have an obligation to ensure the most limiting run, Snake River natural-origin spring Chinook listed under the Endangered Species Act, has adequate protection so future opportunities can still be possible."

Salmon fishing is now open daily from the mouth of the Columbia River to the Interstate 5 bridge under permanent regulations, but spring Chinook usually don't arrive in large numbers until late March and April.

The river will open for the following dates and locations in 2024:

  • March 1 through April 5: Buoy 10 line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank), plus bank angling only by hand-cast from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline.
    • The daily limit is six, including no more than two adults, of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Anglers must release all wild steelhead and all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. The salmon must be 12 inches minimum to keep. Shad retention is also permitted, with no minimum size or daily limit.
  • April 1 through May 2: From the Tower Island power lines (approximately six miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to the Washington/Oregon border, plus bank angling by hand-cast only between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.
    • The daily limit is six, including no more than two adults, of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Anglers must release all wild steelhead and all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. The salmon must be 12 inches minimum to keep.

In 2024, recreational anglers are projected to harvest approximately 4,400 adult Chinook below Bonneville Dam, and 500 from Bonneville Dam to the Washington/Oregon state line.

Managers will monitor the fisheries, dam counts, and hatchery returns in season and adjust as necessary. The run-size update typically occurs in mid-May.

Based on preseason forecasts, anglers can also expect to harvest spring Chinook in the Cowlitz, Kalama, and Lewis rivers in 2024. Some locations may have modified season dates and reduced daily limits to help meet hatchery broodstock collection goals.

Salmon and steelhead rules and limits in Deep River will be the same as the mainstem Columbia River when the mainstem is open to spring Chinook retention.

Anglers should review the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for the waters they plan to fish, as well as check for any emergency rule changes before heading out. Regulations may be modified in-season as returns materialize.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.