Tag Archives: columbia river

Columbia At Deschutes Mouth, Lower Half Mile Of Trib Closing To All Fishing

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Columbia River around the mouth of the Deschutes River will close to all fishing, including catch-and-release, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9 in order to protect summer steelhead that may be utilizing the cooler water provided by this tributary.

THE COOL PLUME OF THE DESCHUTES RIVER WHERE IT ENTERS THE COLUMBIA IS A PRODUCTIVE PLACE TO FISH FOR FALL CHINOOK AS WELL AS STEELHEAD. GENARO RAMOS HOOKED THIS UPRIVER BRIGHT THERE IN 2016’S FISHERY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

At their Aug. 3 meeting, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission directed ODFW staff to amend fishing regulations for the Columbia River near the Deschutes and in the lower Deschutes from the mouth upstream to Moody Rapids. The direction included closing this area to all fishing until river temperatures have stabilized below 68 F. ODFW staff will continue to monitor river temperatures and run sizes throughout the fall to determine when the area can be reopened. This is unlikely to occur prior to late-September.

The closed areas will be:

  1. All waters south of a straight line projecting from the flashing red USCG light #2 upstream to the lower South Channel Range B marker located approximately 3/4-mile upstream of the mouth of the Deschutes;
  2. The lower Deschutes River from the mouth upstream to markers placed on the downstream end of Moody Rapids.

ODFW MARKINGS ON A NOAA CHART SHOW THE CLOSURE AREA. (ODFW/NOAA)

Concerns about the vulnerability of fish to fishing pressure in the mouths of some tributaries of the Columbia River were sparked by the historically low returns of Snake River-bound summer steelhead in 2017. At that time the states of Oregon and Washington adopted unprecedented restrictions to several fisheries to reduce mortality on these fish.

In June 2018, ODFW staff outlined for the Commission a plan to take a comprehensive look at potential thermal sanctuaries throughout the Columbia River. That review process will include a series of public meetings in the fall of 2018 followed by rulemaking in early 2019.

Columbia At Tri-Cities Closing For Salmon Fishing

With the lower Yakima running as hot as the ocean off Maui in recent days and preventing sockeye from migrating upstream, state managers are closing the Columbia at Tri-Cities to salmon fishing.

(BRIAN LULL)

The closure begins Monday and affects the big river between the Highway 395 and I-182 bridges through Aug. 15.

WDFW says the thermal block makes sockeye bound for the upper Yakima Basin more “vulnerable to over harvest” as they stage in the cooler waters of the Columbia waiting for temperatures in their natal stream to drop.

The Yakama Nation has been working to restore sockeye runs in the watershed.

It’s the first warm water closure in Washington this year and follows on a hoot owl restriction on a portion of Oregon’s North Umpqua announced yesterday and closures around tribs on parts of the mainstem Umpqua that went into effect in July.

According to a Department of Ecology statewide conditions report sent out yesterday, the Yakima at Prosser has “often exceeded 80 degrees during the month of July — similar to conditions found off shore of the Hawaiian Islands.”

A USGS gauge shows the river at the Kiona station hit more than 86 degrees July 27.

DOE reports that water temps from 73 to 77 “are considered lethal.”

The last time it was so hot that Northwest fishery managers were forced to restrict angling was during the summer of 2015, at the height of The Blob, but according to DOE, 12 of the 30 hottest daily readings at Prosser recorded since 1990 happened last month.

Nice Coho Biting North Of Columbia Mouth

In a week that marked the opening of the Buoy 10 fall salmon fishery, some anglers enjoyed pretty good coho success on nearby ocean waters.

CARMEN NEBEKER SHOWS OFF A NICE BRIGHT COHO CAUGHT IN OCEAN WATERS TO THE NORTH OF BUOY 10 WHILE FISHING WITH GUIDE BILL MONROE JR., RIGHT. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

“I was impressed with the size of the fish. They were as big as they usually are at the end of August,” reported Buzz Ramsey a day after trolling to the mouth of the Columbia.

He and three other fishermen fishing with guide Bill Monroe Jr. limited on hatchery coho in the 7- and 8-pound range.

“By the time Labor Day rolls around, they’re going to be pretty nice fish,” Ramsey says.

It’s believed that coho pack as much as a pound a week on this time of year in preparation for their spawning runs.

MONROE NETS ONE. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Ramsey reports they were running anchovies and cut-plug herring behind Fish Flashes, with the BMK, or Bill Monroe Killer, finish and the latter bait working best.

With overcast skies in the morning and the coho on top, he says that they only had to run out 12 to 15 feet of line at first, but gradually more to get deeper as the day brightened.

He says it was a roughly 60-40 split between clipped and unclipped silvers.

“We had a couple doubles,” Ramsey says.

Just under 214,000 coho are expected to the Columbia, nearly as many as actually returned last year.

BUZZ RAMSEY SHOWS OFF ONE OF HIS COHO. HE SAYS IF THEY’RE THIS SIZE NOW, THEY SHOULD BE PRETTY NICE FISH COME LABOR DAY. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

While no fall kings were welcomed aboard the boat that day, it’s a different story inside.

“Terry Mulkey got four nice Chinook that morning and three the day before,” Ramsey reports .

The longtime guide was fishing the outgoing tide around the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

Fishery managers expect a return of 375,000 fall kings to Buoy 10 this season, roughly half of the average over the past decade.

Because fewer upriver brights are coming back, there’s a lower harvest rate on the stock, and so the daily limit at the mouth of the Columbia is just one salmonid — Chinook, hatchery coho, or hatchery steelhead through Aug. 24.

After that date, Chinook retention is scheduled to close but the daily limit rises to two salmonids, but only one hatchery steelhead.

Limits and closing dates have also been tweaked in the Lower and Mid-Columbia. ODFW lays them out here.

Ramsey reminds anglers who might venture onto the Pacific for coho to cross the bar a couple hours into the incoming flood tide.

“When the tide’s going out, it can be rough and really buck up,” he warns.

Bipartisan Salmon Predation Prevention Act Passed By US Senate Committee

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM U.S. SENATORS MARIA CANTWELL (WA-D) AND JIM RISCH (ID-R)

Today, bipartisan legislation to build upon existing laws to manage the sea lion population passed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The legislation, proposed by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Jim Risch (R-ID), will give state and tribal fishery managers more flexibility to address predatory sea lions in the Columbia River system.

A CALIFORNIA SEA LION HOLDS A SALMONID — EITHER A SPRING CHINOOK OR STEELHEAD — BELOW WILLAMETTE FALLS. (ODFW, FLICKR)

The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, which helps protect endangered salmon and steelhead populations, passed without objection and will be considered next on the Senate floor. The bipartisan bill would allow wildlife agencies to better protect vulnerable fish populations through science-based management of these invasive, non-ESA listed sea lion populations, while also maintaining a strong Marine Mammal Protection Act that supports research, science-based management, and public process.

“Wild salmon are central to the culture, economy, and tribal treaty rights of the Pacific Northwest and protecting these fish is crucial to the health of Southern resident orcas,” said Senator Cantwell. “This science-based, bipartisan bill enhances existing tools that state and tribal wildlife managers need to address salmon predation, protect the health of sea lion stocks, and ensure that we are managing wildlife based on the best science available. Pacific salmon should be protected for generations to come.”

“Threatened and endangered species of salmon are being damaged by sea lions in the Columbia River, severely impacting Idaho’s efforts to restore the populations” said Senator Risch. “I’m grateful to Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for making this a committee priority and for quickly advancing our bill.”

Support for this legislation is bipartisan and crosses multiple Pacific Northwest states. The governors of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon wrote to the Northwest Senate delegation in support of the bill, and the four chairs of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission have all voiced their support. The National Congress of American Indians has called the legislation “essential” to protect salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon.

“Congressional action is critical to reducing the numbers of sea lions that prey on salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Bruce Botka. “We welcome the Senate’s progress and look forward to final passage of legislation that will enable the Northwest states and our tribal partners to better protect endangered fish.”

“We applaud the bi-partisan leadership of Senators Cantwell and Risch to get unanimous support today from the Senate Commerce Committee for S. 3119. The bill will expand the ongoing efforts of tribal and state co-managers who have collaborated both on the river and in Congress to address sea lion predation. This legislation reconciles two important conservation laws while it also recognizes the four treaty tribes expertise and role as caretakers of ancestral resources in the lower Columbia River basin,” said Jaime Pinkham, Executive Director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

“This bill provides a thoughtful and practical approach to addressing sea lion predation in critical areas of the Columbia River,” said Guido Rahr, President of the Wild Salmon Center. “It also for the first time enables managers to respond before the number and habits of sea lions become an insurmountable problem for returning wild salmon and steelhead populations. Salmon recovery requires a multi-faceted response. We appreciate the leadership of Senator Cantwell on this issue.”

“Senator Cantwell has stepped up during a crisis and delivered a solution to prevent extinction of fragile Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead stocks. The businesses of NSIA are appreciative of the Senator’s leadership in resolving this very tough issue. All who care about salmon recovery, food for Southern Resident Killer Whales, and have jobs that depend on healthy fish stocks owe Senator Cantwell our deepest gratitude,” said Liz Hamilton, Executive Director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.

“Sea lions are killing as many as 43 percent of the spring-migrating Chinook salmon in the Columbia River, including threatened and endangered species. This is an immediate problem that needs an immediate solution, a more streamlined and effective process for removing the most problematic sea lions,”said Guy Norman, a Washington member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. “The bill enables states and tribes to deal with a major bottleneck to salmon survival. It’s a big win for the fish and for the people of the Northwest who are deeply invested in salmon recovery.

Federal, state, and tribal governments and other organizations have made significant conservation and restoration investments throughout the Pacific Northwest. Sea lion populations have increased significantly along the West Coast over the past 40 years; today, there are roughly 300,000. These sea lions have entered into habitat where they had never been before, including areas around the Bonneville Dam and Willamette Falls.

recent study by Oregon State University found that increasing predation from sea lions has decreased the fishery harvest of adult Chinook salmon in the Pacific Northwest. According to the study, if sea lions continue their current salmon consumption habits, there is an 89 percent chance that a population of wild steelhead could go extinct. The study also noted that future long-term salmon management plans will need to address the increased salmon predation throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Companion legislation has already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

………………………………..

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation today passed a legislative proposal by U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that would give state and tribal managers more flexibility in addressing predatory sea lions in the Columbia River system that are threatening both ESA-listed salmon and steelhead. S. 3119, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, passed without objection and will be considered next on the Senate floor. Companion legislation has already passed the House.

“Threatened and endangered species of salmon are being damaged by sea lions in the Columbia River, severely impacting Idaho’s efforts to restore the populations,” said Senator Risch. “I’m grateful to Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for making this a committee priority and for quickly advancing our bill.”

“Wild salmon are central to the culture, economy, and tribal treaty rights of the Pacific Northwest and protecting these fish is crucial to the health of Southern resident orcas,” said Senator Cantwell. “This science-based, bipartisan bill enhances existing tools that state and tribal wildlife managers need to address salmon predation, protect the health of sea lion stocks, and ensure that we are managing wildlife based on the best science available. Pacific salmon should be protected for generations to come.”

There are ESA threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead being significantly harmed by the increasing sea lion population. This predation of ESA-listed fish is negating the large investments being spent on salmon recovery associated with habitat, harvest, and hatcheries. If enacted, this bill would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to provide for better management of these invasive, non-listed sea lions.

Yuasa: Plenty Of Places To Catch Chinook, Coho This Month, And Lake WA Perch Peaking

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

Wow! We’ve hit August in a flash and by now anglers have gotten their chances to hook salmon in what’s clearly turning out to be a memorable summer.

KINGS ARE THE TARGET FOR ANGLERS EVERYWHERE FROM BUOY 10 TO DEEP SOUTH SOUND THIS MONTH. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

And while we’ve just eclipsed the midway point of summer, one shouldn’t let a lack of sleep or the ever growing “must do” list of house chores hold them back from getting out on the water.

In early June, my fishing journey began when the early summer chinook run ramped up in south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) around the Tacoma area off the Clay Banks, Flats and even as far south as Fox Island!

Fast forward to mid-July when the hatchery king fishery in northern and central Puget Sound (Areas 9 and 10) started off on a high note with anglers averaging more than half-a-fish-per rod during the Area 9 opener. Fishing was so good that WDFW had to shut-down the chinook season – it’s still open for hatchery coho – earlier than anticipated.

Here is a historical snapshot of Area 9 angler trips with total fish caught and days open – 2018: 1,640 anglers caught 629 fish in seven days (doesn’t include July 26-29 data); 2017: 1,312 caught 383 in 14; 2016: 785 caught 157 in 19; 2015: 1,283 caught 212 in 11; 2014: 759 caught 96 in 30; 2013: 1,079 caught 251 in 19; 2012: 737 caught 206 in 34; 2011: 812 caught 50 in 46; 2010: 662 caught 107 in 46; 2009: 930 caught 135 in 17; 2008: 739 caught 153 in 25; and 2007: 1,211 caught 329 in 15.

This kind of success and pure fishing fun reminded me why I enjoy being on my boat during this short window of opportunity in the summer chasing migratory kings from Puget Sound into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and down to the Columbia River mouth.

We’re all limited to how much time we get on the water especially when we’ve got jobs to hold down, family vacations to take and spending time with the kiddos. But, being smart and choosing where to fish locally will often lead to “fish-on” time-and-time again.

Looking at the month of August and September, anglers will still have plenty of choices to hook into kings and silvers.

Some of my favorite spots are Buoy 10 located near the Columbia River mouth; Westport on the south-central coast; Willapa Bay; Puget Sound in the Vashon Island/Tacoma area; and Long Beach just outside of Ilwaco off the southern coast.

While the Columbia chinook and coho returns aren’t as glamorous compared to recent year averages – the total fall chinook forecast is 365,000, which is about half of the 10-year average and falls below the 582,600 forecast and actual return of 475,900 last year – it will still provide ample hook-ups to make for a worthwhile trip to Ilwaco.

I first got hooked on the shallow water fishery off Long Beach by Tony Floor (a long-time sport-fishing advocate and dear fishing partner for many years) where we’d troll in 20 to 50 feet of water with just a banana weight and whole herring. Trolling through the huge schools of anchovies would constantly make your rod tip vibrate.

Keeping up the speed on your boat by going at a fast clip of 3 to 3.5 miles per hour is vital and you only need 13 to 15 pulls of line off the reel. Then kick back and watch those kings smash your bait and head out into the horizon like a fast-moving locomotive.

Just inside the Columbia River mouth is the famous Buoy 10 salmon fishery where on busy weekends will have an armada of boats stretching in all directions as far as the eyes can see.

Look for hungry salmon at places like the “Wing Walls” on the Washington side of the river, Desdemona Flats, above and below the Astoria-Megler Bridge and the Blind Channels just above the bridge.
If you want to stay close to home it’d be wise to hit central (10) and south-central Puget Sound (11) since the South Sound-bound hatchery chinook forecast of 227,420 is up 21 percent from 10-year average and a 35 percent increase from 2017. Be sure to check the WDFW website or hotline just in case the fisheries close sooner than expected.

As of press time Area 10 was under a hatchery king quota of 4,743, which is twice as large as last year’s quota, and scheduled to remain open until Aug. 30. Look for good fishing from Kingston south to Jefferson Head, and other locales like Point Monroe, West Point, Yeomalt Point and Skiff Point.

Back in early July, the WDFW decided to keep Area 11 open on a Friday to Monday only schedule for boat angling to slow down the fast-paced chinook catch that is under a quota of 5,587 fish. However, catches eventually slowed down and WDFW made a decision to revert back to the area being open daily starting Aug. 1. The Area 11 scheduled closure date is Sept. 30.

Look for hatchery kings around Dolphin Point, Redondo Beach, Brace Point, Three Tree Point and Point Robinson.

Further south of the Narrows Bridge is where “13” could be your lucky number! This deep-south sound region is known as Area 13 and will be the final staging area of the strong hatchery chinook returns. Anglers were already hooking up on good numbers of hatchery king around Fox Island in July, and seek them out at Anderson Island, the Nisqually Flats, Dover Point near Zangle Cove, Itsami Ledge, Dickenson Point, Little Fish Trap Bay, Big Fish Trap Bay and Johnson Point.

Another sleeper spot in late-summer is the San Juan Islands and is open to wild and hatchery kings through Sept. 3.

Great summer warm-water fish action

Fish species like yellow perch and rock bass just don’t get the attention as much as our beloved salmon, but I will often sneak away to my favorite lakes for these fine tasting fish.

WDFW BIOLOGIST AND HARDCORE ANGLER DANNY GARRETT SHOWS OFF A NICE STRINGER OF LAKE WASHINGTON YELLOW PERCH. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

The cool thing about this fishery is that you can easily catch them from the shore or boat, and Lake Washington – which is 20 miles long and covers more than 22,000 acres – is excellent for yellow perch, rock bass as well as many other fish species.

The yellow perch population is one of the most prolific and are extremely easy to find and catch. It’s peak time right now as the water temperature heats up making them very active all-day long.

Look for schools of yellow perch in shallow water, 15 to 35 feet, and close to the shoreline. They will school up in shaded locations just outside the cover of weed beds, milfoil, aquatic weeds and lily pads or under docks, piers and overhanging trees and brush.

Target Seward Park; Montlake Cut; Newport Canal; Newport Shores; Kenmore log boom and pier; Juanita Bay; Magnuson Park shoreline; Andrews Bay; Newport area and slough; Webster Point in Union Bay; Yarrow Bay in Kirkland; Gene Coulon Park in Renton; Mercer Island near Luther Burbank Park; and in South Seattle off Leschi Park, Madison Park, Stan Sayres Pits and Mount Baker Park. Lake Union around Gasworks Park and other areas are good spots too!

A simple light-to-medium-action trout fishing rod and spinning reel loaded with 4- to 6-pound line on a drop-shot (egg-style) weight attached to a three-way swivel is the “go to” tackle. Baits of choice are worms, maggots or a skirted crappie jig. Once you catch your first perch cut a small chunk of the meat or even a perch eyeball, which works great as bait.

Other lakes to target perch are Sammamish; Kapowsin; Sawyer; Goodwin; Steven; American; Angle; Desire; Meridian; Samish; Whatcom; and Bosworth. The WDFW website offers a wealth of information at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/Species/1849/.

Word on NW Salmon Derby Series

The derby series got off to a good start with 362 adult and 45 youth anglers turning out for the PSA Bellingham Salmon Derby on July 13-15. Participants weighed-in 155 fish and the winner of the $7,500 first-place prize was Darren Anderson with a 24.28-pound hatchery king. Second was Kevin Klein with a 21.60; and third was Ryan Johnson with a 20.44. By comparison in 2017, there was 329 anglers with 167 fish caught.

DARREN ANDERSON HOLDS AN OVERSIZED CHECK FOR $7,500 AFTER WEIGHING IN THE BIGGEST CHINOOK DURING THE BELLINGHAM PSA SALMON DERBY. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

That was followed by the Big One Salmon Derby on July 25-29 at Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho.

The Brewster Salmon Derby on Aug. 3-5 was cancelled then reinstated after WDFW verified the summer chinook return to the Upper Columbia River was stronger than expected. The fishery reopened July 25 from Rocky Reach Dam to Wells Dam, including the Wenatchee and Chelan rivers; and Aug. 1 from Wells Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, including the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers. The change came after fishery managers were confident they’d achieve escapement goals.

Brewster Salmon Derby anglers in early July were refunded so they needed to re-register online at http://brewstersalmonderby.com/ by Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 5 p.m.

Other derbies are the South King County PSA Derby on Aug. 4; Gig Harbor PSA Derby on Aug. 11; and the Vancouver, B.C. Canada Chinook Classic on Aug. 18-19.

It’s also not too soon to start getting excited about coho in September and be sure to enter the PSA Edmonds Coho Derby on Sept. 8, and the biggest derby on West Coast – the Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 22-23.

That is where we’ll draw the lucky name to win a grand-prize $65,000 KingFisher 2025 Falcon Series boat powered with Honda 150hp and 9.9hp motors on an EZ-loader galvanized trailer. It is fully rigged with Scotty downriggers, Raymarine electronics, a WhoDat Tower and a Dual Electronic Stereo. Details: www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.

Now it’s for me to start tying up bunch of leaders and bolt out the door to see if I can entice a late-summer king to take my bait. See you on the water!

 

Time To Sign Up For Mid-August’s Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association invites anglers from all over the Pacific Northwest to join them for a day of friendly competitive fishing at the Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge in Astoria, OR on August 16 & 17th, 2018. Registration is still open with a cost per angler at $110. Runs have picked up significantly in the last couple weeks, with people catching their quota shortly after hitting the water! We have high expectations that this is indicative of good things to come this August.

FORMER NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN AD SALES MANAGER BRIAN LULL SHOWS OFF A FALL CHINOOK CAUGHT ON A HERRING AND FISH FLASH WHILE FISHING NSIA’S 2012 SALMON CHALLENGE. (BRIAN LULL)

Participants can join NSIA on August 16th at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds for the pre-tournament Team Reception from 5 – 7pm. The Reception is an opportunity to review the rules and participate in a Tule ID training. The derby takes place on August 17th, with weigh-in between 3-5pm and a delicious awards dinner at 6pm.

(NSIA)

Lucky anglers will compete for thousands in cash and gear prizes, including a $1000 cash prize for Biggest Fish donated by North River Boats, as well as a $1100 Mystery Fish Prize donated by Weldcraft/Duckworth.

AN ANGLER FIGHTS A SALMON DURING A PAST AUGUST’S BUOY 10 SALMON CHALLENGE. (BRIAN LULL)

As always, NSIA will be promoting catch and release of Lower Columbia River Wild Chinook, known as Tule Chinook, to increase survivability of the threatened stock. NSIA will not weigh wild Tules during this tournament. All ODFW and WDFW rules and regulations apply.

(NSIA)

Proceeds from the event go to support NSIA’s work preserving, restoring and enhancing sportfisheries and the businesses dependent on them. To register contact NSIA at 503.631.8859 or email events@nsiafishing.org.

Shad Top 6 Million Mark At Bonneville

Just over 6 million shad have now been counted at Bonneville, adding to a tally that exceeded 2004’s old high mark of 5.35 million nearly three weeks ago.

A BIG RUN OF SHAD YIELDED WHAT’S BELIEVED TO BE THE SECOND HIGHEST SPORT CATCH SINCE 1969. (ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS)

The 10-year average is 2.1 million. The true count is likely higher because some portion of the fish go through the locks instead of past the counting windows.

This year’s biggest days were 379,739 on June 18, 373,447 on June 20 and 349,260 on June 21.

While those didn’t challenge the biggest days on record — 520,664-shad June 6, 2003 and 504,224 on June 5, 2003 — a 10-day period between the 17th and 26th produced nearly half the run, 2.93 million.

Bank and boat anglers were catching thousands of shad a week during the peak of the run

Shad are not native to the Northwest or West Coast and those that return now are the descendants of those introduced into the Sacramento and stocked in the Columbia in the late 1800s.

Their numbers have been rising since counting began at the dam, with 1979 the first year they topped 1 million.

Interestingly, while 2004’s and 2005’s high shad runs occurred in years that also saw high overall Chinook returns, that coincidence isn’t likely to repeat this year, at least by numbers we’ve seen and the fall forecast.

It’s possible that shad are benefiting from a good spawn in 2015, when the Columbia was low and warm, but the anadromous species doesn’t necessarily spawn after dying like salmon.

For more on shad, including their history, biology, fishing tips and a recipe, go here.

Lower, Middle Columbia, SW WA Tribs Fishing Report (7-10-18)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED WITH BRYANT SPELLMAN AND RYAN LOTHROP, WDFW; JIMMY WATTS, ODFW; AND PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW; AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Preliminary Washington Lower Columbia River mainstem and tributary creel sampling summaries July 2-8 ,2018

Elochoman River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream:  2 bank rods had no catch.  Above the I-5 Br:  10 bank rods kept 2 steelhead.   19 boat rods kept 4 steelhead.

COWLITZ RIVER STEELHEADERS ARE HAVING A SLOW SUMMER, JUDGING BY CATCH STATS, UNLIKE 2012 WHEN JACOB OLSEN CAUGHT THIS ONE. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

TAC update

Here are a few highlights to today’s TAC call.

There were no changes to the mouth run sizes for sockeye (209k) or summer Chinook (44k) to last week’s updates.  Run timing appears to be 1-2 days early, with sockeye numbers potentially trending down slight, and summer Chinook ever so slightly trending up.  Allocations/catch sharing do not change from last week that led to fishery changes.  With a run size below 50k for summer Chinook, Treaty impacts are 10,627 and NT sharing of impacts in-river are:
Above PRD (90%): 3,859 (Colville (70%): 2,701; Sport: 958; Wanapum: 200)
Below PRD (10%): 429.

FYI, if you are looking at the Bonneville count numbers, you will notice summer Chinook numbers are above TAC’s updated run size.  That difference is because the Corp starts summer counts June 1, instead of June 16 that USvOR recognizes.

Lower Columbia mainstem sport update

During July 1-8, steelhead anglers on the lower Columbia made 3,950 trips and caught 668 summer steelhead (444 kept and 224 released), 24 sockeye (21 kept and three released) and 86 adult Chinook (released).

Tri-cities Area Summer Chinook Fishery (Hwy 395 to Priest Rapids Dam)

The Columbia River from Highway 395 (Pasco/Kennewick) upstream to Priest Rapids Dam opened to fishing for summer chinook on June 16. On July 1 the fishery was expanded to include the harvest of sockeye (wild & hatchery). On July 6 the fishery was closed to retention of all adult chinook upstream to Priest Rapids Dam. All sockeye greater than 12 inches in length are categorized as adults.

Between July 2 and July 8 WDFW staff interviewed 144 anglers from 71 boats with 6 adult hatchery chinook, 2 chinook jack, 74 sockeye, and 1 hatchery steelhead harvested (This area is closed to harvest of steelhead. This was an illegal take). Based on the data collected there were 569 angler trips for salmon last week with a harvest of 48 adult hatchery chinook, 16 jack hatchery chinook, 593 sockeye, and 6 hatchery steelhead. Anglers averaged 1.2 salmon per boat, 8.9 hours per fish.

There have been 1,781 angler trips for summer chinook and sockeye since the opener on June 16 with a harvest of 108 adult hatchery chinook, 20 jack hatchery chinook, and 790 sockeye. An additional 26 adult wild chinook, 117 sockeye, and 4 hatchery steelhead have been caught and released.

Sockeye numbers are declining and river temperatures are warming which will likely signal a decline the fishery this week but the fishery is likely to still be fair/good for the upcoming week.

 

It’s Official! Columbia Sockeye Will Open, Tho Kings To Close Below Bonneville

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Starting July 1, anglers can catch and keep sockeye salmon on the Columbia River, but will be required to release any chinook salmon they intercept downriver from Bonneville Dam.

ANGLERS WILL BE ABLE TO KEEP SOCKEYE IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER UP THROUGH THE BREWSTER POOL, WHERE THESE WERE CAUGHT BY BROTHERS AND A FRIEND OF GUIDE DON TALBOT A FEW SEASONS AGO. (DONSFISHINGGUIDESERVICE.COM)

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today agreed to modify fishing rules in joint waters of the Columbia, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) followed up by extending the sockeye fishery upstream to Chief Joseph Dam.

Before the season got underway, both states agreed to forgo scheduling any sockeye fisheries on the Columbia River due to low projected returns, especially those to the Wenatchee River.

However, an updated run forecast now projects that 209,000 sockeye will return this year – up from the 99,000 previously estimated – providing a sufficient number of fish for recreational fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia, said Bill Tweit, a WDFW special assistant.

“It’s always exciting to see salmon come in above the pre-season forecast,” Tweit said. “Sockeye can be elusive in the lower river, but anglers generally do well fishing for them from the Tri-Cities to Brewster.”

Snake River fisheries remain closed to protect Snake River sockeye listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

While the preseason forecast for summer chinook has not yet been updated, Tweit said current data indicate that chinook returns are tracking about 20 percent below the initial projection of 67,300 adult fish. That prompted fishery managers to close the lower Columbia River summer chinook season four days earlier than previously scheduled.

“Based on the low catches to date above Bonneville, we decided to close the chinook fishery in the lower river but leave it open upriver from the dam,” Tweit said.

Starting July 1, anglers fishing from the Megler-Astoria Bridge to Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River can still catch a total of six salmon/steelhead a day. The daily limit for adult fish in those waters is two adult sockeye salmon or hatchery adult steelhead, or one of each. Anglers can round out their daily six-fish limit with hatchery jack chinook salmon.

For more information and details on daily limits in each section of the river, see the Fishing Rule Change at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

Congress Moves Closer To OKing States, Tribes To Lethally Remove More Columbia Sea Lions

Efforts to reduce sea lion predation on ESA-listed Columbia River salmon and steelhead got a big boost today with the passage of a bill that would provide state and tribal managers more latitude to deal with the hungry pinnipeds.

A CALIFORNIA SEA LION CAPTURES A SPRING CHINOOK. (BRYAN WRIGHT, ODFW, VIA NMFS FLICKR, HTTPS://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY-NC-ND/2.0/

HR 2083, introduced by a pair of Lower Columbia Congressmen from either side of the river and political aisle and which would allow sea lions to be culled in parts of the mainstem and its tribs to save fish, sailed out of the U.S. House of Representatives on a 288-116 vote this afternoon.

Cosponsors Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA3) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR5) were joined by every single one of their fellow Washington and Oregon representatives, as well as both of Idaho’s, in voting for the measure.

The move comes just days after similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate, making action now suddenly more likely after previous versions of the House bill had stalled.

Herrera Beutler said it was the result of a “team effort” and credited Schrader for getting the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act to a vote, Washington U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D) and Idaho U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R) for introducing one in the upper chamber, and “all the local and tribal agencies and fishermen who have trumpeted the plight of our salmon for years.”

A SEA LION SURFACES NEAR A FISHING BOAT DURING 2017’S LOWER COLUMBIA SPRING CHINOOK SEASON. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Along with testimony from the Columbia River Inter-Tribe Fish Commission last year, the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association has lent its strong support.

An exultant Liz Hamilton, NSIA’s executive director, called this “truly a good day for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon!”

She said lawmakers’ action offered “huge progress … giving fishery managers another tool to prevent extinction and help with recovery.”

Essentially, the bill would expand the scope of removals by, according to a Coastal Conservation Association of Washington press release, amending a portion of the “Marine Mammal Protection Act to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to provide states and local tribes the tools necessary to humanely manage sea lions on the waters of the Columbia River and its tributaries as long as the sea lions are not classified as an Endangered Species Act listed species.”

Between 2008 and 2016, as predation at Bonneville Dam increased, ODFW and WDFW were allowed by NOAA to remove 161 California sea lions, euthanizing 139 of those and finding zoos and aquariums for another 15.

But they’re smart critters and know where the food is at and readily return to unnatural pinchpoints.

In a joint letter, the heads of CRITFC, IDFG, ODFW and WDFW said passage of HR 2083 was “critical to ensuring we can manage the ever-increasing issue of predation on sturgeon, lamprey, and Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin,” according to a press release.

Back in April, ODFW took the strongest stance, specifically calling on Congress to act, pointing out that male sea lions gathering below Willamette Falls were driving the basin’s steelhead “closer to extinction,” not unlike what Herschel did at the Ballard Locks to Lake Washington’s stocks.

Earlier this year, federal researchers said that California sea lions had reached their “optimal sustainable population,” a triggering point in the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and a high enough level that West Coast states could begin to take over management.

“The California sea lion population has experienced a huge population recovery in recent years; unfortunately, that population has now grown to numbers totally inconsistent with its historic range, posing a very serious threat to the endangered salmon and steelhead throughout the Columbia River system,” Rep. Schrader said in a press release.

Even as passage of HR 2083 put the focus on pinnipeds, that’s not to say that NOAA issuing one-year take permits to CRITFC, IDFG, ODFW, WDFW, and the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, Yakama and Cowlitz Tribes to take out up to 100 of the Chinook-, steelhead- and sturgeon-munching marine mammals is a be-all, end-all solution to fish run woes.

“Salmon recovery isn’t about just one issue, and the data is crystal clear that this [sea lion predation] is an important component, just as dam removal must be,” said angler Chase Gunnell, a Wild Steelhead Coalition boardmenber. “We can’t ignore the real short term threats from unnaturally high predation on endangered salmon and steelhead, even if Bonneville and other dams have exacerbated the situation. Pragmatic, strategic conservationists and wild fish and river advocates should celebrate this sensible policy, just as we should continue working to remove the lower Snake River Dams. It’s not either/or.”

But in the short term it is progress.

NSIA’s Hamilton thanked all three states’ Congressional delegations,  especially Herrera Beutler and Schrader, and also urged fellow fishermen to show gratitude to their representatives.