COLUMBIA RIVER SPRING CHINOOK FISHING
Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing is one of the most popular fisheries in the Pacific Northwest; it is up there with Columbia River fall chinook salmon fishing. The Columbia River is the main highway for the majority of returning spring Chinook salmon.
When on Guided Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing trips I tend to go where the salmon are. Guided spring Chinook fishing seems to be based on two key factors, “Location and Timing”! These two factors seem to make or break the majority of spring Chinook salmon fishing guides on the Columbia River.
I try my best to figure out where the fish are going to be during what part of the day, working closely with a small network of other great fishermen and guides. Usually early in the season you will find guiding spring Chinook salmon on lower the Columbia River near Rainer Oregon or Longview Washington. I will either be on anchor or trolling downstream. As a spring Chinook fishing guide I am always looking for signals that alert me to leave the lower river and to head up stream, these signals are key.
I will leave the lower river and move closer to Portland, Oregon / Vancouver, Washington. The Portland area is very large and you can find yourself making long runs from one spot to another. I tend to work my way either up the Columbia or down the Columbia, hitting each spot as I come to it. By doing this I am creating an opportunity instead of waiting for an opportunity to happen. Trolling herring seems to be the technique of choice for this section of the river.
Some of the names of the spots I will concentrate on while guiding for spring Chinook is the airport troll, I-5 Bridge, Davis Bar, Frenchman’s Bar, Willow Bar, the nude beach, and Caterpillar Island. These are probably the most known areas for targeting Spring Chinook salmon. I will even sometimes head a little east and fish near Beacon Rock and Multnomah Falls. The problem with these two locations you either nail it perfectly or you strike out bad, you are kind of stuck when you fish this area.
Once the Columbia River below Bonneville closes for spring Chinook retention, I make my way east up the Columbia River. I will start guided spring Chinook fishing trips in Dalles pool on the Columbia River. Using similar techniques as the lower river; herring, kwikfish and brad’s super baits. The hardest part about this fishery is that the season is short and the fish have to be there to catch them. If the spring Chinook aren’t going over the Dalles Dam they won’t be in the Dalles pool. If that’s the case I will guide for spring Chinook salmon at Drano Lake or the Wind River .
For the most part I do pretty well at guided Columbia River Chinook fishing trips, most days the boat is hooking and landing multiple fish. I have a lot of return clients who only want to fish for spring Chinook because they tell me, “it is cheaper for them to catch their fish with me than to go and buy it from Zupans or Wholefoods”. Columbia River spring Chinook salmon a very sought after, with a store bought price of $40 per pound.
Here is something to keep in mind if you are trying to find a Columbia River spring Chinook fishing guide. Not every day is the same and each year is different. For instance 2017 verse 2016. 2017 was (is) a high water year; the Columbia River is running 8 to 10 inches of visibility. As a Columbia River fishing guide I cannot expect to fish the Columbia River with the same technique each year if the conditions have drastically different. This is why it is so important when choosing a spring Chinook fishing guide you choose the guide that knows how to fish all the conditions and isn’t going to take you out on a boat ride.
If you would like more info on Columbia River Spring Chinook fishing please feel free to CONTACT ME.
Also here is some more information on Spring Chinook Fishing.