River patrol seeks to lessen conflict between anglers shipping

first_imgWOODLAND — Half a dozen hoglines stretched out from the Washington shore and crept into the edge of the Columbia River channel just downstream of the Lewis River.“This is one of our problem areas and it will get worse than this,” said Clark County sheriff’s deputy Todd Baker, patrolling the Columbia by boat. “The ships coming downstream have to make a turn here.”Baker nodded toward the boat on the outside of the anchored line of fall chinook salmon fishermen.“They’re in the channel right now,” he said. “If a ship comes by, they are going to have to move.”Baker typed the boat’s registration numbers into the computer and learned it was registered to a Moses Lake owner.“Often it’s out-of-area fishermen,” he said. “The ones around here have been checked so many times they know.”Fall chinook season is a busy time of year on the Columbia River. Thousands of anglers are anchored in the deeper stretches of the river trying to catch a few of the 678,600 chinook working their way upstream this year.The deeper spots have the cool water preferred by the chinook, but also overlap with much of the shipping channel.Baker and deputy Shaun Robertson patrolled the river from Vancouver to Woodland Sunday as part of Operation Make Way, a joint effort by law enforcement and other boating interests to avoid accidents on the lower Columbia.The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has a boat on its 50 miles of the Columbia River daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.last_img

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