Columbia River Fishing 2023

Nice mid teens spring chinook from the lower columbia river

Every year the Columbia River draws thousands of anglers to its banks and waterways to chase incredible numbers of salmon and steelhead. This blog post exists to provide tools you can use through the 2023 season to keep track of the runs of salmon and steelhead, monitor the forecasts and be dialed into fishing reports and in some cases detailed how-to pages.

The Columbia River is one of the largest rivers in the United States, and even the world. Beginning in the remote mountainous regions of British Columbia and picking up tributaries as it winds south and west draining a massive portion of water from the western side of the rocky mountains and everything in between.

Even visiting the Columbia River near Kettle Falls, WA you are presented with a massive river and that’s before many of the larger tributaries contribute their flows.

There are many pages of internet content dedicated to the topic of Columbia River salmon and steelhead fishing, so why create this post? It’s honestly kind of intimidating to write about the Columbia River.

One of the biggest tools missing from every angler’s arsenal is consolidated and condensed information that we need for fishing trip planning. I’m aiming to make that far easier for (selfishly) myself and others looking to spend time on the Columbia River chasing our favorite runs of salmon and steelhead.

One of the unique aspects of the Columbia River is that there are many dams that carve the river up into sections and create reservoirs as it flows towards the Washington and Oregon State lines and eventually dumps into the Pacific Ocean.

One of the coolest aspects of these dams from a trip planning perspective is that there are fish counting stations that report the daily numbers of fish traveling through the ladder system to navigate the dams. I’m not a fan of dams in general, but using this information to help plan trips and time salmon and steelhead runs is pretty cool.

The fishing regulations are also split into many sections based on a number of factors, often times related to which tributaries are in those sections. The tributaries alone of the Columbia River, taken together represent a major portion of the river fishing opportunity in the entire PNW!

So let’s get started, unpacking all this Columbia River salmon and steelhead information for 2023!

First of all, use the Table of Contents below to jump to each section of the Columbia River you are most interested in. Each section has:

  • Dam / fish counts relevant to it.
  • Fishing reports from WDFW creel surveys where applicable.
  • Key Tributary list
  • Salmon and Steelhead run / season forecasts that we have access to
  • Current permanent fishing regulations
  • Link to emergency regulations.

Latest fishing blog posts and news on the Columbia River:

Dams on the Columbia from wdfw
Dams on the Columbia from wdfw

The above graphic does a decent job depicting where the dams on the Columbia River are, and we will use this along with some hopefully helpful naming of sections to break up this massive river system.

Lower Columbia River

Columbia river between mouth and Bonneville
Columbia river between mouth and Bonneville

This lower section of the Columbia River extends for 146 river miles from the mouth all the way to the Bonneville dam, which is the first dam on the river when working our way from the mouth upstream.

This section of the river receives most of the angling pressure as it not only passes through the major metropolitan area of Portland, OR, but receives many angler trips from SW Washington and even the Puget Sound area for certain runs of salmon and steelhead.

Another thing to consider about the lower Columbia River up to Bonneville is that the entire stretch will be impacted by tides. That doesn’t mean saltwater in any form will travel all the way to Bonneville, but the because there’s such a massive influx of saltwater during heavy flood tides, it’s enough to stop the river up and affect currents all the way to Bonneville.

This is important as certain fishing techniques perform better when there is decent current, and fish behavior is also impacted as fish tend to be in more predictable parts of the river during heavier current.

Lower Columbia River Fishing Reports

No recent WDFW Creel Surveys

Lower Columbia River Fish / Dam Counts over Bonneville Dam

Lower Columbia River Map
Lower Columbia River Map

While the lower Columbia River itself is entirely downstream of the Bonneville Dam, the counts and trends of fish going over the Dam are predictive to what also hasn’t yet gone over the dam and is accessible in the lower river.

Lower Columbia River Fish Counts over Willemette Falls

Just like with looking at the Bonneville fish counts, watching the fish counts over the Willemette Falls tells us the trend of what’s still in the lower Columbia river downstream of the Willemette River.

Lower Columbia River Key Tributaries

  • Willamette River
  • Cowlitz River
  • Lewis River
  • Kalama River
  • Sandy River

Lower Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Forecasts

Spring Chinook forecast for 2023 in The Lower Columbia River

The nice thing about fishing the lower Columbia River is that nearly all fish will traverse these waters (some will head up lower tributaries like the Willamette, Cowlitz, etc).

The total forecasted return of spring chinook on the Columbia River looks to be outstanding and a “return” to much better abundance now that the low periods have been worked through from the 2018-2021 period.

The lower part of the Columbia River is having one of the best bounce backs of any section of the river when it comes to spring chinook.

Lower Columbia River WDFW Fishing Regulations for 2022->March 31st of 2023

COLUMBIA RIVER – WHERE THE RIVER COINCIDES WITH THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND OREGON, THE LICENSE OF EITHER STATE IS VALID. ANGLERS MUST COMPLY WITH THE LAWS OF THE STATE IN WHICH THEY ARE FISHING. AN ANGLER LICENSED ONLY IN OREGON MAY NOT FISH ON THE WASHINGTON SHORE OR IN WASHINGTON SLOUGHS OR TRIBUTARIES, EXCEPT CAMAS SLOUGH, WHERE THE LICENSE OF EITHER STATE IS VALID FROM A FLOATING DEVICE. AN ANGLER FISHING THE COLUMBIA RIVER IS RESTRICTED TO ONE DAILY LIMIT EVEN IF LICENSED BY BOTH STATES. SALMON AND STEELHEAD ANGLERS MAY NOT POSSESS IN THE FIELD, FISH MUTILATED SO THAT SIZE, SPECIES OR FIN CLIP CANNOT BE DETERMINED, UNTIL THE ANGLER HAS REACHED THEIR AUTOMOBILE OR PRINCIPLE MEANS OF LAND TRANSPORTATION AND HAS COMPLETED THEIR DAILY ANGLING. ANGLERS MAY FISH WITH EITHER A SALTWATER, FRESHWATER, OR COMBINATION LICENSE IN THE WATERS OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER BETWEEN A LINE FROM ROCKY POINT, ON THE WASHINGTON SHORE, TO TONGUE POINT, ON THE OREGON SHORE, AND THE BUOY 10 LINE DESCRIBED BELOW. FOR STURGEON RULES IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER TRIBUTARIES, SEE RULES FOR ADJOINING MAINSTEM WATERS.
North Jetty CRC (1)
All speciesA saltwater or combination license is required to fish the north jetty.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadYear-roundFishing for salmon and steelhead is open 7 days a week when Marine Area 1 or Buoy 10 areas are open for salmon. The daily limit and minimum size restrictions follow the most liberal regulations of either of these areas. Single-point barbless hooks required for salmon and steelhead.
SturgeonYear-roundNight closure. Catch-and-release.
Tuna and mackerelYear-roundNo min. size. No daily limit. Except northern bluefin, skipjack, and yellowfin tuna; daily limit of 2 each.
Herring, smelt, and sandlanceYear-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 10 lbs., all species combined. All smelt caught must be kept and count toward the daily limit except CLOSED to eulachon (Columbia River Smelt).
Anchovy and sardineYear-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 25 lbs., all species combined. May be taken by a cast net.
Bottomfish2nd Sat. in March-3rd Sat. in OctoberDaily limit is 9 bottomfish regardless of species except surfperch. Subject to individual limits and seasons.
3rd Sun. in Oct-2nd Fri. in MarClosed.
Lingcod2nd Sat. in March-3rd Sat. in OctoberNo min. size. Daily limit 2.
Rockfish2nd Sat. in March-3rd Sat. in OctoberNo min. size. Daily limit 7. No yelloweye may be retained.
Surfperch2nd Sat. in March-3rd Sat. in OctoberNo min. size. Not included in bottomfish limit. Daily limit 12 surfperch. Daily limit 15 shiner perch.
Cabezon2nd Sat. in March-3rd Sat. in OctoberNo min. size. Daily limit 2.
Sixgill, sevengill, and thresher sharksYear-roundCLOSED to fishing for, retaining, or possessing. Sixgill shark may not be removed from the water.
Other food fish (marine 1,2,3)Year-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 2 of each species.
All other fish (not listed in special rules)Year-roundCLOSED to fishing for, retaining, or possessing.
from a true north and south line through Buoy 10 to the Megler Astoria Bridge, except see Youngs Bay Control Zone CRC (519)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Year-roundAnglers may fish with either a saltwater, freshwater, or combination license in the waters of the Columbia River from the Buoy 10 line to a line from Rocky Point on the Washington shore, to Tongue Point on the Oregon Shore.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon, 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Apr. 1-July 31Closed.
Aug. 1-Aug. 24Chinook – min. size 24”. Coho – min. size 16”. Daily limit 2. Up to 1 Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.
Aug. 25-Sept. 7Chinook – min. size 24”. Coho – min. size 16”. Daily limit 2. Up to 1 Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 8-Sept. 30Salmon – min. size 16”. Daily limit 3. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery coho.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adult salmon may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adults, of which up to 1 Chinook and up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Forage fishYear-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 10 lbs., all species combined. Forage fish jig gear allowed. Forage fish may be used live for bait. CLOSED to fishing for eulachon (Columbia River Smelt).
BottomfishYear-roundDaily limits, seasons, size restrictions, and gear restrictions are the same as those of the adjacent portion of Marine Area 1.
Youngs Bay Control Zone – waters south of a line originating on the Oregon shore at the east end of the seawall at the Warrenton Fiber log yard (approx. river mile 10.1) northeasterly through green navigation buoys 29, 31, 33, 35A to the center of the Astoria-Megler Bridge abutment adjacent to, and north of the ship channel, and continuing southerly in line with the center of the Megler Bridge span to the Oregon shore. (The Youngs Bay Control Zone includes all waters from the line defined in this section, south to the Hwy. 101 Bridge.) CRC (519)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Aug. 1-Sept. 15CLOSED WATERS.
Sept. 16-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
Sept. 16-July 31Anglers may fish with either a saltwater, freshwater, or combination license in the waters of the Columbia River from the Buoy 10 line to a line from Rocky Point on the Washington shore, to Tongue Point on the Oregon Shore.
TroutSept. 16-July 31Catch-and-release.
Other game fishSept. 16-July 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon, 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Apr. 1-Sept. 15Closed.
Sept. 16-Sept. 30Salmon – min. size 16”. Daily limit 3. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery coho.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adult salmon may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adults, of which up to 1 Chinook and up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonSept. 16-July 31Catch-and-release.
Forage fishSept. 16-July 31No min. size. Daily limit 10 lbs., all species combined. Forage fish jig gear allowed. Forage fish may be used live for bait. CLOSED to fishing for eulachon (Columbia River Smelt).
BottomfishSept. 16-July 31Daily limits, seasons, size restrictions, and gear restrictions are the same as those of the adjacent portion of Marine Area 1.
from the Megler Astoria Bridge to a projected line from Rocky Point on the Washington bank through Red Buoy 44 to the red navigation marker 2 at Tongue Point on the Oregon bank CRC (519)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Year-roundAnglers may fish with either a saltwater, freshwater, or combination license in the waters of the Columbia River from the Buoy 10 line to a line from Rocky Point on the Washington shore, to Tongue Point on the Oregon Shore.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon, 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 24Chinook – min. size 24”. Coho – min. size 16”. Daily limit 2. Up to 1 Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery coho and hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 25-Sept. 7Chinook – min. size 24”. Coho – min. size 16”. Daily limit 2. Up to 1 Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 8-Sept. 30Salmon – min. size 16”. Daily limit 3. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery coho.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adult salmon, of which up 1 Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adults, of which up to 1 Chinook and 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Forage fishYear-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 10 lbs., all species combined. Forage fish jig gear allowed. Forage fish may be used live for bait. CLOSED to fishing for eulachon (Columbia River Smelt).
BottomfishYear-roundDaily limits, seasons, size restrictions, and gear restrictions are the same as those of the adjacent portion of Marine Area 1.
from a line from Rocky Point on the Washington bank through Red Buoy 44 to red navigation marker 2 at Tongue Point on the Oregon bank upstream to a line at the west end of Puget Island projected from green navigation marker 39 on the Washington bank to green navigation marker 41, then to red navigation marker 42, and terminating at red navigation marker 44A on the Oregon Bank CRC (521)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutMay 16-Mar. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Barbless hooks required. Release all trout other than hatchery cutthroat trout.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon, 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Apr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-June 15Salmon – min size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 24Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.
Aug. 25-Sept. 7Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon, of which up to 1 Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 8-Sept. 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adults may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery coho.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adult salmon, of which up to 1 Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adults, of which up to 1 Chinook and 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
from a line at the west end of Puget Island projected from green navigation marker 39 on the Washington bank to green navigation marker 41, then to red navigation marker 42, and terminating at red navigation marker 44A on the Oregon Bank upstream to the Longview Bridge CRC (521)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutMay 16-Mar. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Barbless hooks required. Release all trout other than hatchery cutthroat trout.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon, 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Apr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-June 15Salmon – min size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 7Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 8-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
from the Longview Bridge to a line projected from the Warrior Rock lighthouse through Red Buoy 4 to the marker atop the piling dolphin located at the downstream end of Bachelor Island on the Washington shore (Warrior Rock line) CRC (523)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutMay 16-Mar. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Barbless hooks required. Release all trout other than hatchery cutthroat trout.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon, 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Apr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-June 15Salmon – min size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 7Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 8-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
from upstream of a line projected from the Warrior Rock lighthouse through Red Buoy 4 to the marker atop the piling dolphin located at the downstream end of Bachelor Island on the Washington Shore (Warrior Rock Line) to the I-5 Bridge CRC (523)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutMay 16-Mar. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Barbless hooks required. Release all trout other than hatchery cutthroat trout.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon, 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Apr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-June 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 13Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 14-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
from I-5 Bridge to a line crossing the Columbia from Navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore westerly to the boundary marker on the Washington shore upstream of Fir Point 9 miles downstream from Bonneville Dam CRC (525)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 13Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 14-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
from a line between the lower end of Sand Island (near Rooster Rock) and a marker on the Oregon Shore upstream to a line between the the upstream end of Sand Island and a Marker on the Oregon Shore CRC (525)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Jan. 1-Apr. 30CLOSED WATERS.
May 1-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutMay 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
Other game fishMay 1-Dec. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadMay 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 13Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 14-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadMay 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Dec. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonMay 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from a line crossing the Columbia from Navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore westerly to the boundary marker on the Washington shore upstream of Fir Point nine miles downstream from Bonneville Dam to Beacon Rock CRC (525)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 13Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 14-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonMay 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Apr. 30Catch-and-release.
from Beacon Rock to a line from the Hamilton Island boat ramp to an Oregon boundary marker on the westernmost point of Robins Island to a marker on the Oregon mainland shore CRC (525)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 13Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 14-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Closed.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonMay 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Apr. 30Catch-and-release.
from a line projected from the Hamilton Island boat ramp to an Oregon boundary marker on the westernmost point of Robins Island to a line projected from a boundary marker about 4,000’ downstream from the fish ladder at the new Bonneville Dam Powerhouse south to the downstream end of Cascade Island and across to the Oregon angling boundary on Bradford Island (about 850’ downstream from fish ladder) CRC (525)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only). Must fish with a hand-casted line from shore only. Fishing from any floating device prohibited.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 13Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 14-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonMay 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Apr. 30Catch-and-release.
inside the south navigation lock at Bonneville Dam: from a marker on the westernmost point of Robins Island to a marker on the Oregon mainland shore
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from a boundary marker about 4000’ downstream from the fish ladder at the new Bonneville Dam powerhouse south to the downstream end of Cascade Island and across to the Oregon angling boundary on Bradford Island (about 850’ downstream from fish ladder) to a point 600’ below the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam powerhouse CRC (525)
All speciesFishing from any floating device prohibited. Night closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only). Must fish with a hand-casted line from shore only.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
Aug. 1-Sept. 13Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Sept. 14-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained, of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
ShadApr. 1-May 15Closed.
May 16-Mar. 31No min. size. No daily limit.
SturgeonMay 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Apr. 30Catch-and-release.
from a point 600’ below the fish ladder at the new Bonneville Dam Powerhouse to the upstream line of Bonneville Dam
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.

Lower Columbia River WDFW Emergency Regulations

The above permanent regulations for the lower Columbia River are subject to change at any time and without being updated on this blog. One must consult the WDFW Emergency Regulations before any trips to ensure they are in full compliance with state laws regulating fisheries.

Columbia River Gorge

Columbia river gorge
Columbia river gorge

The Columbia River Gorge area or “Bonneville Reservoir” is considered to be the 46 mile stretch of river between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam. The Gorge is aptly named based on the cliffs and Cascade mountains on either side of the river. The Gorge is the exact location where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountain range which extends north into Washington and south into Oregon.

Columbia River Gorge Fishing Reports

No recent WDFW Creel Surveys

Columbia River Gorge Fish / Dam Counts over Bonneville Dam

The below graphs of fish counts directly impact how many fish are available to catch as if they aren’t counted going over Bonneville Dam, they won’t be in this stretch of the river to catch.

Columbia River Gorge Fish / Dam Counts over The Dalles Dam

Columbia River gorge map
Columbia River gorge map

While fish counted going over the Dalles Dam are not available to catch in the gorge stretch of the Columbia River, it does tell you about the trend and what’s still headed that way.

Columbia River Gorge Key Tributaries

  • Wind River
  • Drano Lake / Little White Salmon River
  • White Salmon River
  • Hood River
  • Klickitat River

Columbia River Gorge Salmon and Steelhead Forecasts

Spring Chinook forecast for 2023 in The Gorge

The returns in 2022 and the 2023 forecast for spring chinook headed over the Bonneville Dam are fantastic and a very positive trend relative to recent years. One of the great things about fishing The Gorge section of the Columbia River is that all of these fish have to swim through these waters, making it an excellent place to target Spring Chinook when it’s open.

I’ve included Drano lake forecasts as that’s a key tributary we have forecast data for, and trends are very positive.

Unfortunately, the Klickitat is actually expected to have a decline in spring chinook this upcoming season despite a positive return compared to forecast in 2022.

Columbia River Gorge WDFW Fishing Regulations for 2022->March 31st of 2023

from Bonneville Dam to the Hood River Bridge CRC (527)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 15Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Mar. 16-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon. Bank fishing only. Must fish with a hand-casted line from shore only.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 38” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
waters within 1/4 mile of the USFWS Spring Creek Hatchery grounds between posted markers located 1/4 mile on either side of the fish ladder entrance
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from Hood River Bridge to the Tower Island power lines CRC (527)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 15Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Mar. 16-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon. Bank fishing only. Must fish with a hand-casted line from shore only.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 38” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from Tower Island power lines to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a boundary marker on the Washington shore (approx. 1.8 miles below The Dalles Dam) CRC (527)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 38” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a boundary marker on the Washington shore to the upstream side of the Interstate (Hwy. 197) Bridge CRC (527)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 38” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from the Washington shore from the upstream side of the Interstate (Hwy 197) Bridge to the navigation lock wall CRC (527)
All speciesBank fishing only. Night closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only). Fishing from any floating device prohibited.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-Mar. 31Daily limit 2. Release all salmon.
Apr. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Oct. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
Nov. 1-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon of which up to 1 may be a Chinook, or 2 hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 38” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from the Interstate (Hwy 197) Bridge to the upstream line of The Dalles Dam except the Washington shore from the upstream side of the Interstate Bridge to the navigation lock wall
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.

Columbia River Gorge WDFW Emergency Regulations

The above permanent regulations for the Columbia River Gorge are subject to change at any time and without being updated on this blog. One must consult the WDFW Emergency Regulations before any trips to ensure they are in full compliance with state laws regulating fisheries.

Columbia River Lake Celilo

Columbia river lake celio
Columbia river lake celilo

The Columbia River between the Dalles Dam and the John Day Dam is considered Lake Celilo, which extends about 24 river miles.

Columbia River Lake Celilo Fish / Dam Counts over The Dalles Dam

Columbia River Lake Celilo Fish / Dam Counts over John Day Dam

Columbia River Lake Celio Map
Columbia River Lake Celilo Map

No recent fish counts

Columbia River Lake Celilo Key Tributaries

  • Deschutes River

Columbia River Lake Celilo Salmon and Steelhead Forecasts

Spring Chinook forecast for 2023 in Lake Celilo

When looking at the upriver spring chinook forecast as it applies to Lake Celilo, you have to subtract the key tributaries from the gorge section like Drano Lake, Klickitat River, etc.

Columbia River Lake Celilo WDFW Fishing Regulations for 2022->March 31st of 2023

from The Dalles Dam to a line starting from a fishing boundary sign on the Washington north shore located approx. 1300’ upstream of The Dalles Dam and Lock boat ramp projected easterly across the Columbia River to a boundary sign on the Washington southern shore located approx. 200’ above the fish ladder exit
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadYear-roundClosed.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 43” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from a line starting from a fishing boundary sign on the Washington north shore located approx. 1300’ upstream of The Dalles Dam and Lock boat ramp projected easterly across the Columbia River to a boundary sign on the Washington southern shore located approx. 200’ above the fish ladder exit to the west end of the grain silo at Rufus, Oregon 2.4 miles downstream of John Day Dam CRC (529)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook and up to 1 may be a hatchery steelhead. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 43” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from the west end of the grain silo at Rufus, Oregon 2.4 miles downstream of John Day Dam to markers approx. 3,000’ downstream of John Day Dam CRC (529)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook and up to 1 may be a hatchery steelhead. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 43” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from 3,000’ downstream of John Day Dam to 400’ below the fishway entrance CRC (529)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only). Fishing from any floating device prohibited.
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook and up to 1 may be a hatchery steelhead. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 43” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
400’ below the John Day Dam fishway entrance to the upstream line of John Day Dam
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.

Columbia River Lake Celilo WDFW Emergency Regulations

The above permanent regulations for the Columbia River Lake Celilo are subject to change at any time and without being updated on this blog. One must consult the WDFW Emergency Regulations before any trips to ensure they are in full compliance with state laws regulating fisheries.

Columbia River Lake Umatilla

Columbia river lake umatilla
Columbia river Lake Umatilla

Lake Umatilla is the area of the Columbia River upstream from the John Day Dam which extends for 76 miles upstream until we hit the McNary Dam. The surrounding river landscape changes quite a bit from the Gorge to a more arid surrounding.

Columbia River Lake Umatilla Fish / Dam Counts over John Day Dam

No recent fish counts

Columbia River Lake Umatilla Fish / Dam Counts over McNary Dam

Columbia River Lake Umatilla Map
Columbia River Lake Umatilla Map

The Lake Umatilla portion of the Columbia River is downstream of McNary Dam, however seeing the trend of fish counts over McNary may paint a helpful picture of what’s still on its way through Lake Umatilla waters.

Columbia River Lake Umatilla Key Tributaries

  • John Day River
  • Umatilla River

Columbia River Lake Umatilla Salmon and Steelhead Forecasts

Spring Chinook forecast for 2023 in Lake Umatilla

When evaluating the upriver spring chinook forecast from the Lake Umatilla perspective, you need to subtract The Gorge and Lake Celilo numbers which aren’t all available but feature stopping points such as Drano Lake, Klickitat River and the Deschutes River.

Columbia River Lake Umatilla WDFW Fishing Regulations for 2022 -> March 31st of 2023

from John Day Dam to a line from the grain elevators at Patterson Ferry Road on the Oregon shore, straight across to the Washington shore at the west end of the old concrete foundation CRC (531)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook and up to 1 may be a hatchery steelhead. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 43” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from a line from the grain elevators at Patterson Ferry Road on the Oregon shore straight across to the Washington shore at the west end of the old concrete foundation to the I-82/Hwy. 395 Bridge CRC (531)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook and up to 1 may be a hatchery steelhead. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 43” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from the I-82/Hwy. 395 Bridge to a red and white marker on the Oregon shore on a line that intersects the downstream end of the wingwall of the boat lock near the Washington shore CRC (531)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook and up to 1 may be a hatchery steelhead. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonJan. 1-Apr. 30Daily limit 1. Min. size 43” fork length. Max. size 54” fork length. Check the WDFW website wdfw.wa.gov for in-season retention changes. Catch-and-release allowed if closed to retention.
May 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Dec. 31Catch-and-release.
from a line across the river from the red and white marker on the Oregon shore on a line that intersects the downstream end of the wingwall of the boat lock near the Washington shore to the upstream line of McNary Dam
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.

Columbia River Lake Umatilla WDFW Emergency Regulations

The above permanent regulations for the Columbia River Lake Umatilla are subject to change at any time and without being updated on this blog. One must consult the WDFW Emergency Regulations before any trips to ensure they are in full compliance with state laws regulating fisheries.

Columbia River Hanford Reach / Lake Wallula

Columbia river  hanford reach
Columbia river hanford reach

The Hanford Reach is one of the most scenic and beautiful sections of the Columbia River, featuring miles of free flowing river which thousands of salmon still return to spawn at. The Columbia River in this section passes through the tri-cities of Pasco, Kinnewick and Richland where it also picks up it’s most important tributary: The Snake River.

Upstream of the confluence with the Snake is the Hanford Reach National Monument where the river forms a sharp bend as it flows from NE to SE over a short stretch. This area offers many varied incredible recreation options I’ve yet to scratch the surface of.

Columbia River Hanford Reach Fishing Reports

No recent WDFW creel surveys

Columbia River Hanford Reach Fish / Dam Counts over McNary Dam

Columbia River Hanford Reach Map
Columbia River Hanford Reach Map

Columbia River Hanford Reach Key Tributaries

  • Walla Walla River
  • Snake River
  • Yakima River

Columbia River Hanford Reach Salmon and Steelhead Forecasts

Spring Chinook forecast for 2023 in Hanford Reach

This is the total upriver spring chinook forecast, not counting fish headed for tributaries between Bonneville and McNary Dam.

Some of the spring chinook swimming between McNary and Priest Rapids Dam will make a sharp right and head up the Snake River. Forecasted returns are expected to be decent in 2023.

I’m also quite excited about the Yakima River Spring Chinook return given my place in Prosser I like to stay at and welcome fisherman at via AirBnB!

Also, checkout our guidebook for other ideas of what to do in Prosser while fishing for spring chinook.

Columbia River Hanford Reach WDFW Fishing Regulations for 2022->March 31st of 2023

from McNary Dam to Hwy. 730 at Washington/Oregon border CRC (533)
All speciesNight closure and barbless hooks required (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 15-June 15Salmon, trout, and steelhead handling rules apply when fishing from vessels less than 30’ in length.
Aug. 1-Dec. 31Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon/steelhead angling gear until the daily salmon/steelhead limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook and up to 1 may be a hatchery steelhead. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
from Hwy. 730 at the Washington/Oregon border to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco CRC (533)
All speciesNight closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only). Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
Salmon and hatchery steelheadJan. 1-June 15Closed.
June 16-June 30Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack Chinook.
July 1-July 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon or 1 hatchery steelhead and 1 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Aug. 1-Aug. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook and up to 1 may be a hatchery steelhead. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho. Anti-snagging rule in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
Oct. 16-Dec. 31Salmon – min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be a Chinook. Release all salmon and steelhead other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
from Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco to the I-182 Bridge CRC (534)
All speciesNight closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only). Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
SteelheadYear-roundClosed to fishing for or retaining.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonAug. 16-Oct. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
400’ radius of the Columbia Irrigation District (CID) fish barrier at the mouth of the CID wasteway at Columbia Park
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from I-182 Bridge to WDFW markers 1/4 mile downstream of the South Columbia Basin Irrigation PE16.4 Wasteway (Ringold Wasteway) outlet CRC (535)
All speciesAnglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon. Night closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Steelhead (hatchery)Apr. 1-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Mar. 31Min. size 20”. Daily limit 2. Steelhead must be both adipose fin clipped and ventral fin clipped to be retained.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release wild adult Chinook.
Aug. 16-Dec. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
West Branch Esquatzel Coulee Block 1 Irrigation Wasteway Lagoon located in Sec.12, T10N, R28E CRC (535)
All speciesNight closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Sept. 1-Nov. 30CLOSED WATERS.
Dec. 1-Aug. 31Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon.
TroutDec. 1-Aug. 31Catch-and-release.
SteelheadDec. 1-Aug. 31Closed to fishing for or retaining.
Other game fishDec. 1-Aug. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release wild adult Chinook.
Aug. 16-Aug. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonDec. 1-Aug. 31Catch-and-release.
from 1/4 mile downstream of the South Columbia Basin Irrigation PE16.4 wateway (Ringold wasteway) outlet to 1/2 mile upstream of Ringold Springs Hatchery Creek CRC (535)
All speciesSee South Columbia Basin Irrigation PE16.4 spillway at the Ringold Springs access for spillway rules. Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon. Night closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Steelhead (hatchery)Apr. 1-Apr. 15Min. size 20”. Daily limit 2. Steelhead must be both adipose fin clipped and ventral fin clipped to be retained. Open to fishing from the bank on the hatchery side of the river only.
Apr. 16-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Mar. 31Min. size 20”. Daily limit 2. Steelhead must be both adipose fin clipped and ventral fin clipped to be retained.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release wild adult Chinook.
Aug. 16-Dec. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
between markers located 100’ upstream and 100’ downstream of the Ringold Springs Hatchery Creek and extending 100’ towards mid-river
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from WDFW markers 1/2 mile upstream of Ringold Springs Hatchery Creek to the Old Hanford townsite powerline crossing CRC (535)
All speciesAnglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon. Night closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Steelhead (hatchery)Apr. 1-Sept. 30Closed.
Oct. 1-Mar. 31Min. size 20”. Daily limit 2. Steelhead must be both adipose fin clipped and ventral fin clipped to be retained.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release wild adult Chinook.
Aug. 16-Dec. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release.
from the Old Hanford townsite powerline crossing to Vernita Bridge. CRC (536)
All speciesNight closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
Feb. 1-Oct. 15Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon.
Oct. 16-Jan. 31CLOSED WATERS.
TroutFeb. 1-Oct. 15Catch-and-release.
SteelheadYear-roundClosed to fishing for or retaining.
Other game fishFeb. 1-Oct. 15Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release wild adult Chinook.
Aug. 16-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonFeb. 1-Oct. 15Catch-and-release.
from Vernita Bridge to 400’ downstream of the Priest Rapids Hatchery outlet channel (Jackson Creek) CRC (536)
All speciesAnglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon. Night closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
SteelheadYear-roundClosed to fishing for or retaining.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release wild adult Chinook.
Aug. 16-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonMay 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Apr. 30Catch-and-release.
from the marker 400’ downstream of the mouth of the Priest Rapids Hatchery outlet channel (Jackson Creek) to the boundary markers 650’ below the fish ladder at Priest Rapids Dam CRC (536)
All speciesAnglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement, except sturgeon. Night closure (salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon only).
All game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
SteelheadYear-roundClosed to fishing for or retaining.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release wild adult Chinook.
Aug. 16-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and coho.
SturgeonMay 1-Aug. 31Closed.
Sept. 1-Apr. 30Catch-and-release.
at Priest Rapids Hatchery outlet channel extending to mid-stream Columbia River between boundary markers located 400’ downstream of outlet channel to marker 100’ upstream of outlet channel
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from boundary markers 650’ below the fish ladder at Priest Rapids Dam to the upstream line of the dam
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.

Columbia River Hanford Reach WDFW Emergency Regulations

The above permanent regulations for the Columbia River Hanford Reach / Lake Wallula area are subject to change at any time and without being updated on this blog. One must consult the WDFW Emergency Regulations before any trips to ensure they are in full compliance with state laws regulating fisheries.

Columbia River Upper Reservoirs

Columbia river upper reservoirs
Columbia river upper reservoirs

I’ve named this section simply the “Upper Reservoirs” as there are many, fairly tightly packed together reservoirs that I believe can be grouped for efficiency.

The lowest dam on the river here is Priest Rapids Dam and that extends upstream until Grand Coulee Dam on the higher end of the Columbia River.

This is also the section of the Columbia River that features the popular Brewster pool where thousands of sockeye and chinook will often hold in the summer waiting for cooler water to arrive from fall rains.

Columbia River Upper Reservoirs Fish / Dam Counts over Priest Rapids Dam

Columbia River upper reservoirs map
Columbia River upper reservoirs map

No recent fish counts

Columbia River Upper Reservoirs Key Tributaries

  • Wenatchee River
  • Entiat River
  • Chelan River
  • Methow River
  • Okanogan River

Columbia River Upper Reservoirs Salmon and Steelhead Forecasts

Spring Chinook forecast for 2023 in Upper Columbia Reservoirs

Summer Chinook forecast for 2023 in Upper Columbia Reservoirs

Columbia River Upper Reservoirs / Rufus Woods Lake WDFW Fishing Regulations for 2022->March 31st of 2023

from Priest Rapids Dam to a line from boundary markers 750’ downstream of east fish ladder and 500’ downstream of west fish ladder at Wanapum Dam CRC (537)
All speciesJuly 1-Oct. 15Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Steelhead (hatchery)Year-roundClosed.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook and up to 2 sockeye may be retained. Release coho and wild adult Chinook.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release. Night closure.
at Wanapum Dam between the upstream line of the dam to boundary markers 750’ downstream of east fish ladder and 500’ downstream of west fish ladder
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from Wanapum Dam to boundary markers 400’ downstream of the fish ladders at Rock Island Dam CRC (539)
All speciesJuly 1-Oct. 15Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Steelhead (hatchery)Year-roundClosed.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Aug. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook and up to 2 sockeye may be retained. Release coho and wild adult Chinook.
Sept. 1-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release. Night closure.
from the boundary markers 400’ downstream of the fish ladders at Rock Island Dam to the upstream line of the dam
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from the upstream line of the Rock Island Dam to boundary markers 400’ downstream of the Rocky Reach Dam fish ladders CRC (541)
All speciesJuly 1-Oct. 15Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Steelhead (hatchery)Year-roundClosed.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook and up to 2 sockeye may be retained. Release coho and wild adult Chinook.
SturgeonYear-roundCatch-and-release. Night closure.
at Rocky Reach Dam between the upstream line of the dam to boundary markers 400’ downstream of the fish ladders
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from the upstream line of Rocky Reach Dam to boundary markers 400’ below the spawning channel discharge (on Chelan Co. side) and fish ladder (on Douglas Co. side) at Wells Dam CRC (543)
All speciesJuly 1-Oct. 15Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement.
TroutYear-roundCatch-and-release.
Steelhead (hatchery)Year-roundClosed.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook and up to 2 sockeye may be retained. Release coho and wild adult Chinook.
SturgeonYear-roundNight closure. Catch-and-release.
between the upstream line of Wells Dam to boundary markers 400’ below the spawning channel discharge (on Chelan Co. side) and fish ladder (on Douglas Co. side) at Wells Dam
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
from Wells Dam to Hwy. 173 Bridge at Brewster CRC (545)
All speciesJuly 16-Sept. 30Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement.
TroutJuly 16-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 10. Barbless hooks required. Release wild trout.
Aug. 16-July 15Closed.
Steelhead (hatchery)Year-roundClosed.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 16-Sept. 30Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook and up to 2 sockeye may be retained. Release coho and wild adult Chinook.
SturgeonYear-roundNight closure. Catch-and-release.
from Hwy. 173 Bridge at Brewster to the Hwy. 17 Bridge CRC (545)
All speciesJuly 1-Oct. 15Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement.
TroutJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 10. Barbless hooks required. Release wild trout.
Aug. 16-June 30Closed.
Steelhead (hatchery)Year-roundClosed.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook and up to 2 sockeye may be retained. Release coho and wild adult Chinook.
SturgeonYear-roundNight closure. Catch-and-release.
from Hwy. 17 Bridge to the Corps of Engineers safety marker on the Douglas County shore to the rock jetty at the upstream shoreline of Foster Creek CRC (545)
All speciesJuly 1-Oct. 15Anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement.
Year-roundCLOSED to fishing from the Okanogan shore.
TroutJuly 1-Aug. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 10. Barbless hooks required. Release wild trout.
Aug. 16-June 30Closed.
Steelhead (hatchery)Year-roundClosed.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-Oct. 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook and up to 2 sockeye may be retained. Release coho and wild adult Chinook.
SturgeonYear-roundNight closure. Catch-and-release.
downstream of Chief Joseph Dam from the boundary marker to the Corps of Engineers safety zone marker
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.
RUFUS WOODS LAKE – DOUGLAS/GRANT/OKANOGAN CO. –
from Chief Joseph Dam upstream to State Route 155 Bridge
All speciesDouglas County shore (State license), on the water (either State or Tribal License accepted), Reservation (Tribal permit required or either license accepted at a signed “Designated Fishing Areas” (DFA) located and marked as such on the Colville Reservation shoreline).
TroutYear-roundDaily limit 2.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SturgeonYear-roundClosed.
from State Route 155 Bridge upstream to Grand Coulee Dam
All speciesCLOSED WATERS.

Columbia River Upper Reservoirs WDFW Emergency Regulations

The above permanent regulations for the Columbia River Upper Reservoirs area are subject to change at any time and without being updated on this blog. One must consult the WDFW Emergency Regulations before any trips to ensure they are in full compliance with state laws regulating fisheries.

Columbia River Upper / Lake Roosevelt

Columbia river upper
Columbia river upper

This portion of the Columbia River upstream of Grand Coulee Dam is considered to be Lake Roosevelt and it extends north all the way to the Canadian border.

While not exactly what salmon anglers are looking for in terms of chasing migratory fish, you won’t find a more scenic and beautiful stretch of river / lake anywhere. I feel like I could say that about many places I’ve visited, but this stretch is truly something everyone should take in and visit at some point, even if it’s just to enjoy the surrounding area and fish for the other species available.

Columbia River Upper / Roosevelt Lake WDFW Fishing Regulations for 2022->March 31st of 2023

ROOSEVELT LAKE – FERRY/GRANT/LINCOLN/OKANOGAN/STEVENS CO. –
Grand Coulee Dam to Little Dalles power line crossing including Hawk Creek downstream of the falls at Hawk Creek Campground and the Spokane Arm upstream to 400′ below Little Falls Dam CRC (549)
KokaneeYear-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 6. No more than 2 with intact adipose fins may be retained.
TroutYear-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 5. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be retained.
WalleyeYear-roundDaily limit 16. No size restriction.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonYear-roundSalmon count toward trout daily limit. No catch record card required.
SturgeonYear-roundClosed.
Kettle Arm upstream to Barstow Bridge CRC (549)
All speciesMar. 1-Fri. before Memorial DayCLOSED WATERS.
KokaneeSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.No min. size. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 with intact adipose fins may be retained.
TroutSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.No min. size. Daily limit 5. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be retained.
WalleyeSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Daily limit 16. No size restriction.
Other game fishSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Salmon count toward trout daily limit. No catch record card required.
SturgeonYear-roundClosed.
Little Dalles power line crossing upstream 1.7 miles to marked rock point CRC (549)
All speciesMar. 1-Fri. before Memorial DayCLOSED WATERS.
KokaneeSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.No min. size. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 with intact adipose fins may be retained.
TroutSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Min. size 18″. Daily limit 2.
WalleyeSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Daily limit 16. No size restriction.
Other game fishSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Salmon count toward trout daily limit. No catch record card required.
SturgeonYear-roundClosed.
from marked rock point 1.7 miles upstream of Little Dalles power line crossing to Northport power line crossing CRC (549)
KokaneeYear-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 with intact adipose fins may be retained.
TroutYear-roundMin. size 18″. Daily limit 2.
WalleyeYear-roundDaily limit 16. No size restriction.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonYear-roundSalmon count toward trout daily limit. No catch record card required.
SturgeonYear-roundClosed.
Northport power line crossing to most upstream point of Steamboat Rock CRC (549)
All speciesMar. 1-Fri. before Memorial DayCLOSED WATERS.
KokaneeSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.No min. size. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 with intact adipose fins may be retained.
TroutSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Min. size 18″. Daily limit 2.
WalleyeSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Daily limit 16. No size restriction.
Other game fishSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonSat. before Memorial Day-Last Day of Feb.Salmon count toward trout daily limit. No catch record card required.
SturgeonYear-roundClosed.
from most upstream point of Steamboat Rock To U.S. Canadian Border CRC (549)
KokaneeYear-roundNo min. size. Daily limit 6. No more than 2 with intact adipose fins may be retained.
TroutYear-roundMin. size 18″. Daily limit 2.
WalleyeYear-roundDaily limit 16. No size restriction.
Other game fishYear-roundStatewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonYear-roundSalmon count toward trout daily limit. No catch record card required.
SturgeonYear-roundClosed.

Columbia River Upper WDFW Emergency Regulations

The above permanent regulations for the Columbia River Upper area are subject to change at any time and without being updated on this blog. One must consult the WDFW Emergency Regulations before any trips to ensure they are in full compliance with state laws regulating fisheries.

Columbia River Upper Key Tributaries

Columbia River Upper Lake Roosevelt Map
Columbia River Upper Lake Roosevelt Map
  • Sanpoil River
  • Spokane River
  • Colville River
  • Kettle River

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