Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing

April 3, 2016 was a different kind of day fishing for me and it turned out to be unforgettable. My husband and I went out fishing for spring chinook with our friend Brian May of Northwest Premier Outfitters. We got to skip all of the craziness at Fred’s Marina and launch the Yacht Club where Brian has his sled moored. It felt strange leaving the house and getting on a boat without any of my fishing gear, but I quickly got over that and was excited to fish.

The sun was rising as we got into the boat and took off to the 1-5 bridge. While we were trolling we saw a few fish caught but not the numbers we were hoping for so we moved on. Fishing was tough everywhere we went, but we were determined to get fish. We made one pass by the shipping containers and went back for a second only this time closer to the containers. I looked at the tug boat that was anchored and I had a feeling there might be a few fish under it. Our boat was almost past the tug boat and my rod bent for a split second. The fish came right back for another bite before she ran with my herring.

Not grabbing the rod on the first bite was so hard… I had a case of springer fever that was out of control. It seemed to take forever for the fish to start taking line and when she did I was ready. There were many California sea lions on the river and there was one in the area we were fishing. I was determined to fight this fish quickly and not give the sea lion a chance at my fish. The fight was short and to the point. My fish tried to make a big run but I was able to turn her and get her under control for the net. Brian was ready with the net and did a great job at keeping the boat in a good position for me to fight the fish.


We did a few more passes at the shipping containers and did not see any other action there. Brian decided we should move on to work a few more spots on the river. We fished next to boats that had not gotten a single bite and heard reports that the river was dead. I felt so thankful for my fish in the box and for all the fun we were having in the boat.

When we pulled into the Yacht Club that night my husband and I were both exhausted from the day on the water. On our way home we talked about spring chinook and started to plan for spring fishing on the Oregon Coast.  My case of springer fever was not cured by the fish that was sitting in our cooler that night. The only cure I know of for springer fever is many weekends of limits with good friends.

It was nice to get to see Brian at work as a guide after knowing him as a friend. The experience on his boat was fantastic and he worked hard to get a beautiful fish in the boat. We did not get limits for the boat but we will next time. I highly recommend Northwest Premier Outfitters for your next fishing adventure.  Check out Brian’s website at