Thursday, April 26, 2012
If you wait, the fish will come.
The Hood River opens for spring chinook this Sunday, but someone forgot to tell the fish.
The spring run has been getting later and later for the last decade, and this year is proving to be no exception as the chinook salmon slowly make their way up the Columbia.
"Our projected numbers we over 300,000," said The Dalles-based Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fish biologist Rod French of the expected chinook run over Bonneville Dam. "Right now we are at 140 … we have a ways to go."
Yes, that is 140 - without any commas or zeros tacked on to the end.
When the fish do make it to the Hood, the run is not expected to be as good as in recent years.
The ODFW projects a run of about 650 hatchery chinook in the Hood River this year.
Meanwhile on the Deschutes, which also opens Sunday, ODFW is projecting a strong run of nearly 14,000 hatchery fish.
"We were predicting a very strong run for the Deschutes; not so good for the Hood," said French. "We still expect those numbers but we are seeing a very large delay in fish ascending the Columbia through Bonneville." Typically about 50 percent of the run is through Bonneville by second week of May."
The delay has led to the lower Columbia chinook season, which was already extended once, to be extended again to April 22.
The number of fish above the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia, where the season lasts through May 2, has also been meager.
"We've been seeing more late runs in recent years and this looks to be especially late," said John North, ODFW Columbia Fisheries manager. "We will probably meet in late April to look at that fishery to see where we are."
That meeting may lead to an extension on the upper Columbia season as well, but if the late run of fish comes through in the next few weeks, it could still end on schedule.
"It's too early to tell now," North said. "The majority of the catch will be expected to come through from now on."
Whether the Columbia is extended or not, the Hood has a hard June 30 spring chinook closure date, in order to protect low numbers of fall chinook.
The lower water temperature and high water levels in the Columbia due to recent heavy rains have not helped the big salmon get up the river, but French said there are signs good things are on the way for patient anglers.
"A test fishery tested last week in the lower part of the Columbia looked really good," he said.
While anglers will have to wait for chinook to arrive in the Hood in large numbers, French added that the winter steelhead run has been particularly good.
Steelhead season runs year-round, and should be peaking later this month.
"It's been good," French said "We have well over a thousand hatchery fish."
At least some fish got the memo.
ODFW 2012 fishing regulations for the Hood River:
While access is somewhat limited in the Hood River due to private property, all of the former PacifiCorp lands remain open to the public. Anglers should note, however, that the access road to the former Powerdale Dam site has been closed by a private landowner.
Other upstream angler access points include the Tucker Park and the lands surrounding Punchbowl Falls. Anglers need to obtain permission from private landowners prior to accessing private lands to get the river.
Floating the Hood River is not recommended, due to the extremely dangerous conditions present in the river.
The Hood River opens for adipose fin-clipped chinook from April 15 through June 30 from the mouth to main stem confluence with the East Fork, and the West Fork from the confluence with the main stem upstream to the angling deadline 200 feet downstream of Punchbowl Falls.
The catch limit is two adult adipose fin-clipped salmon per day, and five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.
All non-adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon must be released unharmed.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge