Tag Archives: columbia river

So About Monday’s Huge Bonneville Shad Count … LOL

Remember Monday’s insane shad numbers at Bonneville?

Half a million!!

Third most ever!!!

Oh, my god, the dam’s failing there are so many shad battering against it!!!!

There’s a slight update to report.

The Army Corps of Engineers has since revised its initial 497,738 count for June 19 down to 247,366.

SHAD SWIM THROUGH THE FISH LADDER AT BONNEVILLE DAM YESTERDAY. (ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS)

True, that’s still a creditable effort for this year’s run, but more workmanlike than anything to get all cray-cray about.

Quarter-million shad days, while not overly common, do happen as the annual run peaks, a review of the records show.

Broadly speaking, there have been three so far this week, and early June 2004 saw five of them in a row.

But there’s a bit of a difference between a quarter and a half mil.

A FISH PASSAGE CENTER GRAPH, SINCE REVISED, INITIALLY SHOWED THE MONDAY COUNT BASED ON DATA FROM THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS. (FPC)

So what happened with Monday’s tally, the one that sent this “reporter” and a certain peddler of fancy fish “factoids” into OMG! mode?

We turn to Corps spokesman Karim Delgado in Portland for an explanation:

“I just got off the line with our natural resources team,” he reports by email this morning. “It seems there was a technical glitch in our count recording system, which has since been resolved. The count was redone based on a recording of the fish passage window and the fish counters arrived at 247,366 in the recount.”

For shame, for shame.

Still, that’s a buttload of fish, and it stands to reason there are a few biters amongst them.

For deets on how to fish for shad, go here.

Columbia-Snake Pikeminnow Program Catch Nears 70,000

Pikeminnow catches ticked up over the previous week on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, with 10,950 qualifying fish brought in for the sport reward program June 12-18.

Once again The Dalles station recorded the highest number overall, with 3,915 checked, a dropoff of about 900 fish over June 5-11, but this year’s catch to date of 31,563 there has already surpassed nine of the last 10 complete seasons.

A SCREEN SHOT OF A MAP PUT TOGETHER BY THE NORTHERN PIKEMINNOW SPORT-REWARD PROGRAM SHOWS BOAT LAUNCHES AND HOT SPOTS AROUND CATHLAMET, WHERE THE LOWEST CATCH STATION ON THE COLUMBIA IS. DOZENS MORE STRETCH UPSTREAM TO PRIEST RAPIDS DAM, AND UP THE SNAKE TO CLARKSTON. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

Action heated up on the Snake, where Boyer Park took in 1,102 pikeminnow, while on the Lower Columbia, 899 were recorded at Kalama.

Speaking of Kalama, it saw the highest catch per registered angler of the week, with 45 fishermen accounting for those 899 pikeminnow, an average of 20.0 fish each.

Other stations seeing relatively high catch per angler include Washougal (13.7), The Dalles (12.1) and Cascade Locks (11.1).

Thirty-one specially tagged pikeminnow were caught last week, with seven of those turned in at Bingen, six each at The Dalles and Columbia Point, five at Washougal, and one each at Cathlamet, Rainier, Kalama, Gleason, Giles French, Umatilla and Boyer Park.

Since the 2017 season started May 1, 69,195 qualifying pikeminnow have been removed from the Columbia and Snake, 69,340 overall.

The sport reward program pays anglers from $5 to $8 per pikeminnow, with tagged ones worth $500. The idea is to reduce the numbers of the native species that prey on young salmon and steelhead in the Columbia hydropower system.

For more details, including fishing maps, check out pikeminnow.org, and if you’re interested in putting your angling skills to work, check out the June 22 seminar coming to Longview and put on by program leader Eric Winther.

‘Long Past Time’ To Act On Sea Lion Predation In Columbia System, NSIA Tells Congress

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association is lending its support to a bipartisan sea lion management bill that had a hearing in Washington DC this week.

“It’s long past time for an amendment to the (Marine Mammal Protection Act) to prevent an outcome whereby the protection of one species precipitates the extinction of another,” wrote Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Portland-based organization in a letter to the Water, Power and Ocean Subcommittee of the House Natural Resource Committee.

A SEA LION PREPARES TO EAT A FISH BELOW WILLAMETTE FALLS IN THIS 2011 ODFW IMAGE. (ODFW)

Members were hearing about HR 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, introduced by Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R) with cosponsorship from Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader (D), among others.

The bill would in part provide four Columbia River tribes with the authority to remove problem California sea lions from more of the lower river, as well its tributaries.

Hamilton addressed pinniped predation in the Willamette in her letter, noting that the area below the falls is not unlike the fish death trap at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia.

“Unable to escape or go elsewhere, they are trapped like sitting ducks for the growing numbers of sea lions congregating below the falls in Oregon City. I fished in this area with my family for over 30 years and watched firsthand the arrival, then growth in numbers of marine mammals and the growing consumption of steelhead, salmon and sturgeon,” she wrote.

IN THIS SCREEN GRAB FROM A TWITTER VIDEO, REP. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER SHOWS A HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SUBCOMMITTEE PHOTOS OF SOME OF THE “OFFENDERS” PICKING OFF ESA-LISTED SALMON AND STEELHEAD AND OTHER COLUMBIA WATERSHED STOCKS. HERRERA BEUTLER INTRODUCED A BILL TO EXPAND MANAGEMENT OF CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS.  (TWITTER)

Hamilton says that they’re affecting the near-recovery of ESA-listed Willamette winter steelhead, and that a draft estimate of sea lion consumption rates on this season’s run is 25 percent, up from 2015 and 2016’s 15 percent.

“This 25 percent consumption rate is especially disturbing as the winter steelhead run has collapsed to one-tenth of the 10-year average, down to less than 1,000 fish,” she writes. “We fear the sea lions will consume this race of fish to extinction, much as they did to the steelhead in the mid 1990’s at Ballard Locks, near Seattle Washington, due to ineffective actions that occurred too late to prevent the catastrophe.”

Hamilton’s letter adds to testimony before the Water, Power and Ocean Subcommittee by Leland Bill, chairman of the Columbia River Inter-Tribe Fish Commission. He told members that “data shows a growing predation problem” but “that the current approach is not enough. I’m here to tell you that more needs to be done.”

In another letter of support, Coastal Conservation Association’s Oregon and Washington chapters called the situation “critical.”

“We simply must act before it’s too late,” wrote Chris Cone and Nello Picinich, executive directors of the two chapters.

Added Hamilton:

“Northwest sportfishing for salmon and steelhead is more than an economic engine and a cultural birthright, it is a funding source for conservation. License fees, collected primarily through NSIA retailers, fund much of the conservation mission at the fish and wild life agencies. In addition, our industry pays a federal excise tax on manufactured goods that is returned to the states through the Sport Fish Restoration fund. Even for those who do not fish, salmon are an ever-present icon — seen on our license plates, on buildings and artwork everywhere. For the Native American Tribes in the Northwest, salmon are a sacred part of their culture.”

She said that while industries such as forestry, agriculture and power production are regulated to minimize fish impacts, “the consumption of salmon and steelhead by marine mammals grows, nearly unchecked, at an alarming rate.”

Columbia Tribes’ Chair Testifies For Sea Lion Management Bill

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE COLUMBIA RIVER INTER-TRIBAL FISH COMMISSION

The Pacific Northwest needs more efficient and effective management tools to address the growing issue of sea lion predation on the Columbia River’s at-risk salmon populations. That was the message delivered earlier today by Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) Chairman Leland Bill when he testified in support of H.R. 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act. Invited to testify by committee Chairman Lamborn, today’s hearing was before the Water, Power and Oceans, a subcommittee to the House Natural Resource Committee.

 

THE BACK OF A COLUMBIA SYSTEM SPRING CHINOOK BEARS SCARS FROM AN ATTACK BY A SEA LION. (CRITFC)

Introduced by Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA) and co-sponsored by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Rep. Don Young (R-AK), H.R. 2083 would extend pinniped removal authority to CRITFC and the four sovereign tribes that they represent  (the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Yakama and Warm Springs tribes) who have co-management authority on the Columbia River. In addition to removal authority, the legislation implements area-based management rather than individual sea lion management and allows fishery management agencies to remove California sea lions upstream of river mile 120 or in any Columbia River tributary. This streamlined process would allow the region to effectively manage sea lion predation on endangered salmon populations.

Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit, the four tribes’ comprehensive anadromous fish management plan, addresses the challenges facing Columbia River salmon throughout their entire life cycle including marine mammal predation.  The effects of land and water management, harvest, hydroelectric passage, hatcheries and predation must be considered in a holistic manner. As explained by the Commission’s Chairman, “the Creator placed an obligation on the Indian people to speak for the salmon. Our testimony and management actions help fulfill this commitment.”

Over the past 15 years, sea lion populations throughout the 145 river miles between the estuary and Bonneville Dam have significantly increased. The subsequent spike in predation on endangered salmon has resulted in a significant loss of adult salmon. NOAA Fisheries found that 45 percent of the 2014 spring chinook run was potentially lost to sea lions. Last year, approximately 190 sea lions killed over 9,500 adult spring chinook within a quarter mile of Bonneville Dam – a 5.8 percent loss of the 2016 spring chinook return.

A limited sea lion removal program has been in effect at Bonneville Dam since 2011. However, a cumbersome process and litigation has hampered the program’s success and the current program has not reduced sea lion predation below Bonneville Dam.

Sea lion populations have seen resurgence under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In 1972 when the Act was passed, the California sea lion population hovered around 30,000 animals. Today, there are over 325,000 animals along the West Coast and the species has fully recovered.

“The actions proposed under H.R. 2083 are guided by 10 years of data,” explained Chairman Bill. “This data shows a growing predation problem and our on-the-river experience implementing Section 120 removal permits has taught us that the current approach is not enough. I’m here to tell you that more needs to be done.”

Columbia, SW, South-central WA Fishing Report (D-Day-2017)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED FROM TANNA TAKATA WATTS, ODFW, PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW, AND JOE HYMER, PSMFC, AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY HYMER

Weekend Fishing Opportunities:

*         Shad angling is open from Buoy 10 upstream to the OR/WA Border.  Shad angling is good in the gorge.

*         White sturgeon retention is open from Buoy 10 upstream to Wauna power lines on Saturday June 10 and Saturday June 17 (see special regulations for details).

*         The Bonneville Pool is open to the retention of legal white sturgeon on Saturday June 10 (see special regulations for details).

*         The McNary Pool is open to the retention of legal white sturgeon through July 31.

*         White sturgeon retention is closed from Wauna Power lines upstream to Bonneville Dam, and from The Dalles Dam upstream to McNary Dam, but remains an option for catch-and-release fishing. Anglers are reminded that spawning sanctuaries take effect May 1 (see special regulations for details).

*         Walleye fishing has been outstanding in The Dalles and John Day pools.

HUNTER HIGGINBOTHAM GOT IN ON THE EAST COLUMBIA GORGE POOLS’ GOOD WALLEYE FISHING LAST MONTH, CATCHING HIS FIRST ON A TRIP IN WHICH HE, HIS DAD AND GRANDFATHER CAUGHT 60. (JAROD HIGGINBOTHAM)

Current Columbia River regulations for salmon, steelhead, shad and sturgeon can be found at the Sport Fishing Regulation Update<http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/reg_changes/index.asp> page.

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed 550 shad kept for 121 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats:  Weekend checking showed 230 shad kept for three boats (nine anglers).

Bonneville Pool:  Weekly checking showed 1,296 shad kept, plus 586 shad released for 135 bank anglers.

STURGEON

Buoy 10 upstream to McNary Dam: Catch and release only.

Gorge boats: Catch and release only.

The Dalles Pool: Catch and release only. Weekly checking showed 10 sublegal and one oversize sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

John Day Pool: Catch and release only. Weekly checking showed four sublegal sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed 293 walleye kept, plus 24 walleye released for 30 boats (77 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed 220 walleye kept, plus 69 walleye released for 40 boats (108 anglers).

………………………………………………………..

Salmon/Steelhead

Elochoman River – No effort for salmonids.

Cowlitz River -271 bank rods kept 51 adult and 3 jack spring Chinook, 1 steelhead, 2 cutthroats and released 3 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook, 1 steelhead, and 2 cutthroats.   46 boat rods kept 7 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook, 4 steelhead and released 1 cutthroat.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 806 spring Chinook adults, 52 spring Chinook jacks, three winter-run steelhead adults, one winter-run steelhead jack, 20 summer-run steelhead adults and nine cutthroat trout in four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 149 spring Chinook adults and 20 spring Chinook jacks and one winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek and they released 303 spring Chinook adults and 14 spring Chinook jacks into Lake Scanewa located near Randle.

In addition, Tacoma Power employees released 157 spring Chinook adults and eight spring Chinook jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood and one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 12,300 cubic feet per second on Monday, June 5. Water visibility is eight feet and water temperature is 47.1 degrees F.

Kalama River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.  18 boat anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook.

Lewis River – 4 boat anglers kept 1 adult spring Chinook.

North Fork Lewis River – 8 bank anglers kept 1 adult spring Chinook.  5 boat anglers kept 4 adult and 5 jack spring Chinook.

Wind River (mouth) – 7 bank anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook.  36 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook.

Drano Lake – 171 boat rods kept 16 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook and released 1 adult spring Chinook.

Klickitat River – 22 bank anglers kept 16 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook and released 5 adult spring Chinook.

Lower Yakima River Spring Chinook Fishery: April 28-June 4 – Fishing for all species continues to be very slow in the lower Yakima River. Although anglers continue to talk about fishing for spring Chinook no anglers have been observed.  Flows in the Yakima River have remained well above normal all season.

Paul A. Hoffarth
District 4 Fish Biologist
WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia from the mouth upstream to the Wauna powerlines including adjacent tributaries and Young’s Bay – Reports from yesterday’s opener was it very crowded.  Effort based on trailer counts was likely 500+ boats, not including charters.  Preliminary reports indicate maybe a legal kept per every 2 boats (not including charters).

Next fishery dates are Wednesday June 7, Saturday June 10, Monday June 12, Wednesday June 14, Saturday June 17
Legal size: 44-inch minimum and 50-inch maximum fork length
(Fork length is measured in a straight line from the tip of the nose to the fork in the caudal fin (tail) with the fish laying on its side on a flat surface, with the tape measure/ruler positioned flat under the fish).
Daily bag limit: One fish
Annual bag limit: Two fish
Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited
On days open to white sturgeon retention, angling for sturgeon is prohibited after 2 PM, including catch and release.

Mainstem Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam (except for the sturgeon spawning sanctuary) and all adjacent tributaries- Sturgeon retention will be allowed for one day only, Saturday June 10. Retained sturgeon must measure between 38-inches and 54-inches fork length.
(Fork length is measured in a straight line from the tip of the nose to the fork in the caudal fin (tail) with the fish laying on its side on a flat surface, with the tape measure/ruler positioned flat under the fish).
Daily bag limit: One fish
Annual bag limit: Two fish
Angling for sturgeon is prohibited from May through July from The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore.

Bass and Channel Catfish

Lower Yakima River Fishery: April 28-June 4 – Anglers are catching a few smallmouth bass and channel catfish but in much fewer numbers than in previous years. WDFW staff has interviewed 117 anglers this season (April 28-June 4) with 90 smallmouth and 27 catfish. Total effort is estimated at 756 angler trips with 550 bass and 130 channel catfish harvested (287 bass and 16 catfish released).

By the end of May in 2016, staff had interviewed 460 anglers with 1,629 smallmouth bass and 275 catfish. An estimated 5,141 angler trips were made in May of 2016.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows in SW WA waters.
Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per pound
Hatchery
Notes

ROWLAND LK (KLIC)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=ROWLAND+LK+%28KLIC%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Klickitat County – Region 5
May 30, 2017
Rainbow
440
2.5
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

ROWLAND LK (KLIC)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=ROWLAND+LK+%28KLIC%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Klickitat County – Region 5
May 30, 2017
Rainbow
2,058
2.51
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

SWIFT RES (SKAM)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=SWIFT+RES+%28SKAM%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Skamania County – Region 5
May 30, 2017
Rainbow
51,440
2.56
SPEELYAI HATCHERY

SWIFT RESERVOIR ON OPENING DAY (Sat. June 3)
51 anglers
121 fish kept
39 fish released
160 total caught
Kept: 2.37/angler
Total fish: 3.14/angler
Several holdovers caught in the 16″+ range. Smaller rainbows were real beefy.  Attached are some pics taken by WDFW Region 5 staff.
Windy and cold but anglers extremely happy. Only complaints were limiting too fast.

————–

Swift Power Canal
15 anglers
7 rainbow kept; 0 released
0.47 fish/angler

Shad

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – No report on angling success but lots of effort just below the dam with nearly 350 bank anglers counted there last Saturday June 3.   Daily dam counts vacillate between 2,000 and 20,000 fish per day.

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (5-9-17)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED FROM TANNA TAKATA AND JIMMY WATTS, ODFW,  AND JOE HYMER, PSMFC, AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY HYMER

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – 98 bank rods with 6 adult Chinook kept.  26 boat rods with 3 adult and 1 jack Chinook kept.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 277 winter-run steelhead adults, one cutthroat trout, 706 spring Chinook adults, 41 spring Chinook jacks and seven summer-run steelhead adults in five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

GUIDE SHANE MAGNUSON SHOWS OFF A DRANO LAKE SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT ON A “COWGIRL” PATTERN MAG LIP 3.5 LUBED UP WITH GRAYBILL’S SAND SHRIMP SCENT, AND DRAGGED 70 FEET BACK. (UPPER COLUMBIA GUIDE SERVICE VIA YAKIMA BAIT)

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 208 spring Chinook adults, 17 spring Chinook jacks, and 26 winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek and released 155 spring Chinook adults, eight spring Chinook jacks, three winter-run steelhead and three winter-run steelhead jacks into Lake Scanewa located near Randle.

Last week, Tacoma employees released two winter-run steelhead adults and one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and released 157 spring Chinook adults and nine spring Chinook jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 14,700 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 8. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 46 degrees F.

Lewis River including North Fork – Little to no effort for hatchery steelhead.

Lewis River spring Chinook returns are 737 hatchery adults and 14 natural origin adults as of May 8.  An estimated 700 adult spring Chinook were expected to return to the Lewis River in 2017.  The escapement goal is about 1,300 adults

Wind River – 94 boat rods with 7 adult Chinook kept and 1 released.

All access to Shipherd Falls on Wind River is closed at this point.  WDFW trail/access from Shipherd Falls road is closed due to safety concerns.  The Hot Springs Resort is not allowing access to due to trespass and property concerns.  Therefore, all access to the area is closed to the public.  There is no timeframe on when this could be corrected but we are working with the Hot Springs resort owners on a possible solution.

Drano Lake – 373 boat rods with 71 adult and 1 jack Chinook and 1 steelhead kept and 5 adult Chinook released.

Klickitat River – 5 bank anglers with 1 steelhead released.

Trout

Tacoma Power released 4,000 rainbow trout into Mayfield Lake this past week.  No report on angling success

………………………………………

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Closed. Weekly checking showed no catch for 11 bank anglers.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam):  Closed.  Weekly checking showed one adult spring Chinook kept for 22 bank anglers; and no catch for five boats (nine anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam):  Closed.  Weekly checking showed no catch for four boats (10 anglers).

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam): Closed for retention. No report.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Closed for retention. No report.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam):  Closed for retention.  Weekly checking showed two sublegal sturgeon released for four boats (14 anglers).

WALLEYE

The Dalles Pool:  Weekly checking showed three walleye kept for six bank anglers; and 614 walleye kept, plus 66 walleye released for 39 boats (104 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed 904 walleye kept, plus 625 walleye released for 58 boats (141 anglers).

ODFW Looking For Input On 2017 Columbia Gorge, Tribs Steelhead Seasons

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

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a public meeting on May 11 to solicit input for recreational summer steelhead fisheries upstream of Bonneville Dam in the mainstem Columbia River and adjacent streams, including the lower Deschutes and John Day rivers. The meeting that will be held at the ODFW Screen Shop, 3561 Klindt Drive, in The Dalles.  The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m.

COLUMBIA GORGE STEELHEAD ANGLERS LIKE ROGER GUZMAN, HERE WITH A JOHN DAY-AREA SUMMER-RUN, ARE BEING ASKED FOR INPUT ON THIS YEAR’S SEASONS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Forecasted 2017 returns for Columbia and Snake River summer steelhead are at unprecedentedly low levels and restrictions to recreational fisheries will be necessary. The agenda will include an overview of the 2017 summer steelhead forecast and Columbia River fall fisheries proposals.  Management issues and the season structure for Columbia River sport fisheries (including the lower Deschutes and John Day rivers) will be discussed.

People who cannot attend the meeting can send input to John North (john.a.north@state.or.us), Rod French (rod.a.french@state.or.us), or Tucker Jones (tucker.a.jones@state.or.us)

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (5-2-17)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED FROM TANNA TAKATA AND JIMMY WATTS, ODFW,  AND JOE HYMER, PSMFC, AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY HYMER

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed one adult spring Chinook kept for 14 bank anglers.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam):  Weekly checking showed no catch for 30 bank anglers; and no catch for four boats (eight anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam):  Weekly checking showed no catch for 12 bank anglers; and no catch for two boats (four anglers).

DRANO LAKE IS BEGINNING TO PERK FOR SPRING CHINOOK, DESPITE LOW COUNTS AT BONNEVILLE DAM. THIS ONE’S HELD BY JOSH WEINHEIMER AND WAS CAUGHT LAST SPRING. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam): Closed for retention. No report.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Closed for retention. No report.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam):  Closed for retention.  No report.

WALLEYE

The Dalles Pool:  Weekly checking showed 269 walleye kept, plus five walleye released for 15 boats (47 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed 55 walleye kept, plus 45 walleye released for 13 bank anglers; and 109 walleye kept, plus 61 walleye released for eight boats (18 anglers).

…………………………………………

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – Fish are still being caught throughout the river.  75 bank anglers kept 11 adult and 1 jack Chinook and released 1 steelhead and 1 sturgeon. 20 boat anglers kept 2 jack Chinook, 1 steelhead and released 1 cutthroat and 4 sturgeon.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 418 winter-run steelhead adults, three winter-run steelhead jacks, 703 spring Chinook adults, 27 spring Chinook jacks and seven summer-run steelhead adults in five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 145 spring Chinook adults, four spring Chinook jacks, and seven winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek and released 327 spring Chinook adults, eight spring Chinook jacks, 36 winter-run steelhead and one winter-run steelhead jack into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

Last week, Tacoma employees released two winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and released 80 spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 10,800 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 1. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 44.6 F

Mainstem and North Fork Lewis River – Little to no effort during the current hatchery steelhead season.  1 bank angler had no catch.  A dozen hatchery summer run steelhead had returned to the facilities through April 26.

Washougal River – No report on hatchery steelhead angling success from the Mt. Norway Bridge downstream.  However, 4 hatchery summer run steelhead had returned to Skamania Hatchery through April 22.

Wind River – Light effort and catch.  12 boat anglers had no catch.

Drano Lake – 167 boat anglers kept 21 adult Chinook and released 2.  About 40 boats here last Saturday morning.

Klickitat River – 1 bank angler kept 1 steelhead.

Trout

Mixture of rainbows (up to 3 pounds), browns, cutthroats, and steelhead recently planted into SW WA waters.  No report on angling success.

Catchable Trout Plant Reports For fish 3 per pound or larger, including broodstock

Search Results: 04/24/2017 to 04/30/2017
Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE+GROUND+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 24, 2017
Rainbow
2,500
1.95
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

KRESS LK (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 24, 2017
Steelhead
1
0.1
KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY
Adult Winters

KRESS LK (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 24, 2017
Steelhead
3
0.1
KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY
Adult Late Winters

BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE+GROUND+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 25, 2017
Rainbow
100
0.3
TROUT LODGE COMMERCIAL
Average 3 lbs. each

HORSESHOE LK (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=HORSESHOE+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 25, 2017
Rainbow
300
0.3
TROUT LODGE COMMERCIAL
Average 3 lbs. eacH

KLINELINE PD (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE+PD+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 25, 2017
Rainbow
100
0.3
TROUT LODGE COMMERCIAL
Average 3 lbs. each

KNUPPENBURG LK (LEWI)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KNUPPENBURG+LK+%28LEWI%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Lewis County – Region 5
Apr 25, 2017
Brown Trout
500
2.5
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

KRESS LK (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 25, 2017
Rainbow
130
0.3
TROUT LODGE COMMERCIAL
Average 3 lbs. each

KRESS LK (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 25, 2017
Steelhead
4
0.1
KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY
Adult Late Winters

KLINELINE PD (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE+PD+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 26, 2017
Cutthroat
1,500
2.46
SKAMANIA HATCHERY

MAYFIELD RES (LEWI)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=MAYFIELD+RES+%28LEWI%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Lewis County – Region 5
Apr 27, 2017
Rainbow
4,400
2.2
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

LK SACAJAWEA (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LK+SACAJAWEA+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 28, 2017
Rainbo
3,000
2.5
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

Mayday! Columbia Springer Run Sets New Low Through April

Ever try to start your rig and it just won’t turn over?

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

That’s what comes to mind this morning as I look at the spring Chinook count.

Faced with high, cold flows pumping down the Columbia, the 2017 run has had a heckuva time getting going. Only 10 through March 15, triple digits not reached till April 8, the thousand-fish mark breached April 21, just under 3,350 through yesterday.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

A FISHING BOAT RUNS UPSTREAM IN THE WESTERN COLUMBIA GORGE ON THE LAST DAY OF THE FISHERY THIS YEAR. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The collection of emails from Fish HQ with the words “record low” is slowly building towards grimmer signs.

The Bonneville tally through yesterday, April 30, is less than 60 percent of the old record low for the same date, and not even 6 percent of the 10-year average.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

A total of 3,347 have been counted, well below 1949’s 5,770, the former record low.

And it’s a fraction of 1998’s and 1999’s very low runs in the upper 30,000s, though those appear to have been early-timed returns.

R-r-r-r.

“Weird year. Washington Lower Columbia hatcheries are on track based on the preseason forecasts,” says fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver. “Willamette only has 16 fish through the falls fishway through April 27.”

“Flows, water temps, and pinnipeds all probably are affecting the counts,” he adds.

It almost felt like the run was going to turn over coming out of April’s second fishery extension. Good numbers were caught, especially below Bonneville.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-vrooom-r-r-r.

But in the week after it closed, the count didn’t do much.

Elizabeth Daly at Oregon State University wonders if fishcounting devices at the dam have been affected by water conditions, but she has her doubts that high flows are slowing the progress of springers upstream.

Daly, a senior faculty research assistant at OSU’s and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies in Newport, was a coauthor of a paper published earlier this year that predicted this year’s springer run could come in well below the forecast of 166,000-plus above-Bonneville-bound fish.

She says the paper didn’t give a specific forecast, but gave a range of 200,000 down to 80,000, based on different indicators.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r.

Bill Monroe had an interesting tidbit in an Oregonian article that came out 10 days ago. He wrote:

John North, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Columbia River program, said a rough look at 152 coded wire tags recovered by fish checkers from anglers showed nearly a quarter of the salmon were close to the 24-inch mark.

However, he said, all were 4- and 5-year-old adults.

When this year’s returning adults went to sea as juveniles in summer 2015, The Blob was at its strongest, most destructive for Northwest fish and wildlife.

Offshore surveys found spring Chinook that were “thin, with empty stomachs, just not doing well,” says Daly.

(OSU/NOAA)

“That first year is really critical to survival to adulthood,” she says.

Many probably died, starved or eaten.

Perhaps for some reason this year’s springers are just behaving differently, Daly wonders.

Similar to the adult count, jacks are just 2 percent of the 10-year average. Packed with fat for their long upstream journeys to spawning grounds they’ll visit in summer, maybe springers can afford to wait a bit for better flows.

But on the other hand, steelhead don’t appear to be having issues at Bonneville. Though this year’s return is below the average over the past decade, that rate held steady through April.

This speculation springs to mind: Perhaps a Blob-hamstrung year-class just doesn’t have the strength to swim upstream in the face of such cold volumes of water pouring downstream?

I call this my “have your springer and eat it too” theory.

For the time being, me and Daly will continue watching the dam count — “every day,” she says — hoping there’s some gas in the tank somewhere.

R-r.

Springer Catch Stays Below Quota But Doesn’t Look Like Enough For Reopener

That good springer fishing on the Lower Columbia that wrapped up Sunday evening was the last on the big river for awhile, at least till a runsize update that’s now not expected until mid-May.

State managers estimate that the recently concluded four-day opener brought the catch to within 423 fish of the upriver quota, and after release mortalities on wild Chinook are factored in and visual stock identifications are double-checked against coded-wire tag data, it’s unlikely there will be any more time on the water for several weeks.

KEVIN GRAY NABBED THIS SPRING CHINOOK OUT OF THE LOWER COLUMBIA ON SUNDAY, THE LAST DAY OF FISHING FOR CHINOOK UNTIL, AT THE VERY EARLIEST, MID-MAY’S RUNSIZE UPDATE. GRAY WAS USING A FLASHER WITH A HERRING BRINED IN GRAYBILL’S SCENT, RUN ON BOTTOM. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

“We’ve got between 350 and 360 fish available for harvest prerunsize update below Bonneville Dam, and that’s not enough to have any kind of opener,” says WDFW’s Ron Roler in Vancouver.

According to the latest stats, from April 20-23 we caught 6,355 adult kings, of which 5,784 were kept, with 75 percent of those coming from the constraining above-Bonneville stocks.

That brought the season totals to 8,947 kept Chinook, including 6,482 upriver fish, over 61,020 anglers trips.

The quota for before the run size is updated is 6,905 Chinook headed for Eastern Washington, Central Idaho and Northeast Oregon streams.

“We were concerned we were going to be over,” says Roler. “That number turned out to be a relief for me and Oregon.”

Nearly all of this season’s salmon have been caught in April, with an estimated 7,772 for boaters, 750 for Oregon bankies, and 379 for Washington plunkers.

Over the final four days, best catch was in the western Columbia Gorge, where 1,192 were brought over the rails of jet sleds fishing above the eastern tip of Reed Island to the boat deadline below the dam.

“I think we’re done in the lower river until the runsize update — that may not be till mid-May,” says Roler, pointing to high, muddy, cold water that gives springers “no reason to hurry” upstream.

The dam count sits at 1,732 through yesterday, just 6 percent of the 10-year average.

Roler does say that it’s likely there will be talks about the springer fishery above Bonneville to the Oregon-Washington border, which is slated to otherwise wrap up May 5.