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Winter steelhead peaking, chinook season starts March 16

March 12, 2011

The removal of the Powerdale Dam on the Hood River opened up new fishing opportunities to area anglers, and soon enough, there will be more than enough fish in the river to catch.

The winter steelhead run is about to hit its peak and it's shaping up to be a good one.

All told, around 2,000 steelhead should be making their way up the Hood River by the time the run finishes.

"It should be at least an average run for sure," said Rod French, district biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Dalles regional office.

The ODFW reports that anglers are already seeing success on bright winter steelhead in the lower Hood River and French said "fish are just getting to the Hood River."

On the Columbia, the steelhead run is down from last year's big run of 315,000, but is still in good shape and should wind up at around 198,000, according to ODFW spokesman Chris Kern.

"That's about an average run," Kern said.

Below the Bonneville Dam the season is already open for spring chinook salmon, and it will open March 16 above the dam. The season is expected to last until around April 24.

The season opens for chinook on the Hood River April 16.

Catches on all fish are limited to hatchery fish with their adipal fins clipped.

Limit for Columbia chinook is two fish per day. The same limit applies to Hood River chinook.

Anglers can keep three Hood River steelhead.

The recent removal of the Powerdale Dam has opened up the fish run and has also changed the fishing area on the Hood River.

The entire mainstream of the Hood River is open from the confluence with the West Fork of the river to the Columbia. Fishing is open on West Fork from the confluence to 200 feet downstream from Punchbowl Falls.

With the winter steelhead run about to hit its peak and the spring chinook run about to get under way, the continuation the average run may not be as high as previous years, but it's not shaping up to badly, either.

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