SW WA Fishing Report, With Prawns/Spinner Combos For Coho!

There’s an interesting note in today’s Southwest Washington fishing report from Joe Hymer at PSMFC: “Bonneville Pool – Boat anglers averaged just over an adult coho kept per rod.  Prawn/spinner rigs accounted for a lot of the catch. Most of the effort is off the mouth of the Klickitat where 70-80 boats were counted each morning this past weekend.”

Wait a minute, I thought, did I read that right — prawn/spinner combos for coho?!?

Can’t be, can it?

I immediately emailed Rob Phillips, the Northwest Sportsman scribe in Yakima as well as all-around Eastside fish/hunt guy. Ever hear of this new rig, Rob?

He responded back shortly: “Yes, I fished it twice last week, and while all the fish (9 in two days) we caught were on plugs — specifically FatFish ½ ounce — I did see several fish caught on prawn spinners off of dropper weights.  Even saw a couple of boats using Fish Flash flashers ahead of the rigs, similar to spring salmon set-up. I think they were doing better at times because they were fishing right off the bottom, while us plug trollers were only getting down 15 feet or so.”

“This is the first year that I have seen much of the bait fishing going on,” Phillips says. “And like any other fisheries, there were times when the bait rigs seemed to work and times when the plugs worked.”

Hymer says the setup has been in use at the mouth of the Klick the past few years.

Here’s the rest of his report:


Cowlitz River – Anglers continue to catch coho as well as some chinook, steelhead, and sea run cutthroats.  Through October 21, nearly 35,000 hatchery adult coho had returned to the salmon hatchery, the highest count to date through at least 1990.

Flows below Mayfield Dam are 4,900 cfs today.  However, flows are expected to increase to nearly 6,000 cfs by tomorrow.

Kalama River – Anglers are catching some coho and steelhead plus a few dark chinook that were released.

Lewis River – Bank anglers near the salmon hatchery averaged just under ½ adult coho per rod when including fish released.  Over two-thirds of the fish were kept.  Some fall chinook (which have to be released) and steelhead were also caught.  Bank angling effort has been heavy around the salmon hatchery.

Klickitat River – Bank and boat anglers averaged a fish per rod.  Majority of the catch were adult coho.   Effort has been heavy on the lower river.

Flows at Pitt are currently 700 cfs which is the long-term mean for this date.  Flows are expected to double by early next week.

Yakima River – Recap by Paul Hoffarth, WDFW biologist in Yakima – The Yakima River salmon fishery closed on Oct 22. An estimated 457 adult fall chinook, 71 fall chinook jacks, 79 adult coho, and 4 coho jacks were harvested in the Yakima River this fall.  Also, 54 adult fall chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 5 hatchery steelhead, and 25 wild steelhead were caught and released. Very little effort or harvest was observed in the river downstream of Horn Rapids Dam.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Most of the effort and catch was in the Camas/Washougal area where boat anglers almost ½ fish per boat when including fish released.  Almost all the catch were coho.

Bonneville Pool – Boat anglers averaged just over an adult coho kept per rod.  Prawn/spinner rigs accounted for a lot of the catch. Most of the effort is off the mouth of the Klickitat where 70-80 boats were counted each morning this past weekend.

Hanford Reach – Recap from Paul Hoffarth, WDFW biologist in Yakima –     An estimated 6,555 adult fall chinook, 2,080 fall chinook jacks, 10 coho, and 114 hatchery steelhead were harvested by salmon anglers in Catch Area 535 between August 16 and October 22. An additional 159 adult chinook,  127 jacks, 10 hatchery steelhead, and 135 wild steelhead were caught and released.

An estimated 7,089 boat trips were completed for salmon in the Hanford Reach in 2009.  WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 1,376 boats, 19.4% of the effort.

The October 15 return estimate for the Hanford Reach (not including hatchery returns) was 34,103 adult chinook. After harvest, the expected escapement is 27,548, roughly 1,000 chinook below the escapement goal for the Reach of 28,800.  Retention of salmon was closed after October 14 after the in-season return estimate was downgraded from 38,000 to 34,000 on October 10.


Lower Columbia from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam – About one in ten bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam had a keeper last week.  Effort remains fairly high with a nearly a couple hundred anglers there during open retention days.  Effort and catch was light on the lower river.

Report courtesy Joe Hymer, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

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