By Wayne Kruse
Spring chinook runs — arguably the most popular on the Columbia River with recreational fishermen — have been especially robust the past few years, so a prediction for 2013 that’s more in line with historical averages seems like a letdown.
Washington/Oregon salmon managers forecast a springer run of 141,000 adult fish, well below last year’s prediction of 314,200 (actual return of 203,000) but still judged “average” in historic context.
The run generally peaks in March and April, although the season opens Jan. 1 below I-5 at Vancouver, with a limit of two fin-clipped adult fish. The recreational fishery last spring was an odd one, with fish coming in so late that a scheduled season closure in early April had to be pushed back nearly to the end of the month. Unfortunately, many anglers had already moved on to greener pastures by then.
State predictions for the Cowlitz spring chinook run call for 5,500 fish, compared to a forecast of 8,700 last year and an actual return of 9,200.