Mid-March spring Chinook fishing on the Columbia River can be tough on normal water condition years, but 2017 Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing has been something else. With record rain fall in the Pacific Northwest, enormous amounts of snow had lead to one of the slowest spring Chinook seasons I have personally seen, but one would expect it to be when the Columbia River was a near flood stage for almost a month.
Fishing in the Northwest revolves around water conditions. Just like winter Steelhead fishing, even the smallest amount of rain can blow out a small tributary. Well record amount of rain blew out the Columbia River and it is still affecting the Spring Chinook from passing over Bonneville dam.
Water conditions improved long enough to allow some good fishing on the Columbia River during the two weekend fishing extensions and now with warm air temperatures and more spring rain we can expect the Willamette and Multnomah Channel to dirty up, and increase in the turbidity level.
The question is now, when will the Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing above Bonneville Dam improve? Or should the question be, when will the Spring Chinook start moving over Bonneville Dam so fishing east of the dam will become better. It seems like there are Salmon holding in the lower Columbia River, test nets have been doing extremely well.
The test nets are actually getting more fish per netting then they normally do, so there must be good numbers of fish holding. Also, the numbers of spring Chinook that were caught the last 2 days of the Columbia River spring Chinook extension is another sign that fish are here, but not moving.
Now I am just waiting for these fish to push over Bonneville Dam so I am able to start Fishing Drano Lake, which is my most popular May fishery for guided Spring Chinook Salmon fishing. Also I enjoy spring Chinook fishing on the Columbia River near the Dalles and Rufus, but until the fish start coming by the thousands I will continue to guide spring Chinook Salmon on the Willamette River and Multnomah Channel.