ODFW  fishery managers today released  a 2012 Willamette River spring chinook forecast of 83,400 fish.

That number is slightly higher than last year’s return of 80,254 fish and should be high enough for a seven-day-a-week fishery and a two bag limit when the fishing season in opens in January.

For the Columbia River, managers are predicting a strong return of 314,200 springchinook, which would make it the fourth largest return since 1938. The forecast also includes a record return of summer chinook (91,200 fish) and continued strong returns of summer steelhead and fall chinook. The only cloud in the 2012 forecast is coho salmon, where low jack counts last year suggest a weak return this year.

The 2012 fishing season for spring chinook on the Columbia will be set in January, according to Steve Williams, ODFW assistant administrator for Columbia River Fisheries.

“I anticipate some fishing days in April and hope we’ll be able to create the same kind of late season opportunity we enjoyed last year,” he said. “Once we’ve crunched the numbers and consulted with our Commission and our partners in Washington, we’ll have a better handle on the details.”

The final season will be set at a Jan. 26 meeting of the Columbia River Compact in Oregon City.

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