In a matter of days we will be faced with a fish or flight situation on the lower Columbia River. Should you decide to partake in this fishery, there is a sense of urgency this year — if for no other reason that the season is limited to 14 days. And should you decide to take a hall pass and find an alternative body of water to fish in mid-August, there will be no hard feelings. In fact, I would venture a guess that one less angler will be welcome news by the thousands of others who plan to make the most of the opportunity.
Personally, I’m excited to fish the lower Columbia, which in modern-day vernacular is referred to as Buoy 10, which is nothing more than a nickname to the area we fish. (And that is from the mouth upriver to Tongue Point). Pardon me for sounding old, but ‘back in the day’ we actually spent a lot of time fishing near the red buoy with the painted white numbers one and zero. Buoy 10 was the proverbial ‘welcome mat’ where we greeted salmon in the hundreds of thousands on an incoming tide making short work of our limits. Oftentimes it was where we started our day, and ended our day with a cooler full of salmon as our reward. A lot has changed when I first fished here on a puker boat out of Hammond. (And yes, I vomited with reckless abandon on my inaugural trip and happy to report it hasn’t happened since). What was once predominantly a coho fishery has evolved into a chinook fishery.