Tag Archives: columbia river

Study Shows 74 Percent Loss Of Columbia Tidal Wetlands, 85 Percent Up And Down West Coast

THE FOLLOWING IS A NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION STORY

An unprecedented survey has revealed the loss of about 85 percent of historical tidal wetlands in California, Oregon, and Washington. The report, published in PLOS ONE, also highlights forgotten estuary acreage that might now be targeted for restoration.

Where West Coast rivers reach the sea, estuaries serve as critical nurseries for juvenile salmon and steelhead as they make the transition from freshwater to the ocean. They are among the most dynamic and productive habitats known, also supporting migratory birds and a variety of other fish, shellfish, and terrestrial wildlife.

A FEDERAL GRAPHIC SHOWS THE AMOUNT OF TIDAL WETLANDS UP AND DOWN THE WEST COAST, INCLUDING IN SOME OF THE REGION’S MOST IMPORTANT SALMON SYSTEMS. (NOAA)

A team of scientists applied new technologies and data to identify and estimate the historic reach of nearly 450 West Coast estuaries. Their results show that the estuaries historically extended far beyond where they exist now. More than a century of development has erased roughly 85 percent of original vegetated estuarine wetlands, especially around major river deltas.

San Francisco Bay has lost about 85 percent of its original vegetated tidal wetlands, the study found. The Columbia River estuary has lost about 74 percent. While other scientists have estimated losses for these and other well-studied estuaries, this is the first time researchers have applied consistent methods across all 450 estuaries of the contiguous U.S. West Coast.

Mapping Reveals Restoration Opportunities

“Given how valuable estuaries are to so many different species, it’s important to understand how much they have changed and what that means for fish and wildlife that depend on them,” said Correigh Greene, research biologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle and coauthor of the new study.

The lost estuary habitat includes areas that were long ago diked and drained for agriculture, and forested wetlands that had not been widely recognized as estuary acreage, said Laura Brophy, lead author of the study and director of the Estuary Technical Group at the Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis, Oregon. Identifying such areas may open new opportunities for restoration of estuary habitat that otherwise might go overlooked.

BEFORE AND AFTER IMAGES FROM THE TILLAMOOK ESTUARY PARTNERSHIP SHOW THE EFFECT OF REMOVING LEVEES AND TIDE GATES NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE TRASK RIVER. (TILLAMOOK ESTUARY PARTNERSIHP VIA NMFS)

“By folding in these areas that may not have been recognized as part of estuaries, we have a better idea of just how important and extensive these estuaries were,” Brophy said. “Now we can see new restoration opportunities that people didn’t realize existed.”

The study’s high-resolution mapping also highlights low-elevation areas at greatest risk of flooding as the sea level rises with climate change. Tidal wetland restoration in these vulnerable areas can re-establish natural processes like sediment delivery. This will help these wetlands remain productive into the future.

Estuaries Once Covered 2 Million Acres

The scientists combined precise elevation mapping known as LIDAR with NOAA water level modeling to establish the extent of tides that define estuary habitat. Based on these maps, they estimated that all West Coast estuaries once covered nearly 2 million acres. This is an area nearly three times the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Scientists have data on the historic and current wetlands in 55 of the larger estuaries. Those estuaries have lost about 85 percent of their original vegetated wetlands. These 55 estuaries represent about 97 percent of historical estuary area on the West Coast, so their losses reflect almost all of the estuary losses.

Since Brophy has studied estuaries for years, she found the losses “dismaying but not surprising.” She said the good news is that fish and wildlife that live in estuaries must be adaptable because of the ever-changing tidal environment. She says “if you give them the chance to move back in, they will literally jump at the opportunity.”

The authors of the study include researchers from NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center, the Institute for Applied Ecology, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, The Nature Conservancy, Moss Landing Marine Labs, and Pacific Spatial Solutions. The project was coordinated by the Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership.

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SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (8-14-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River– 1 bank angler had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 1 boat/4 rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br – 31 bank rods kept 25 steelhead. 27 boats/73 rods kept 37 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.

NATE SCANLON BEAMS WITH PRIDE AT HIS MOM LARA AND HER ESTIMATED 30-POUND UPRIVER BRIGHT, CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY ON AUG. 7 JUST ABOVE THE ASTORIA-MEGLER BRIDGE. THEY WERE FISHING WITH GUIDE JOEL HENLEY AND TROLLING A GREEN-LABEL CUTPLUG BEHIND A CUSTOMIZED FISH FLASH AND 14 OUNCES OF WEIGHT TO KEEP THE SETUP “HUGGING THE BOTTOM.” (ANVILOUTDOORS.COM)

Tacoma Power employees recovered 121 summer-run steelhead adults, 68 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, 62 spring Chinook mini-jacks, and two Cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released nine spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released six spring Chinook adults and two Cutthroat trout at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 606 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

Kalama River – 23 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 26 bank anglers kept 3 steelhead and released 1 Chinook jack. 3 boats/8 rods released 4 Chinook.

Drano Lake – 5 boats/7 rods kept 1 Chinook jack and released 1 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – No anglers sampled.

Trout:

Merrill Lake – Fishing has been good for rainbow and cutthroat, some browns are being caught.

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond Date Species Number Fish/lb Hatchery

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) August 6, 2019 Rainbow 2,680 1.34 EELLS SPRINGS

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 28, 2019 Rainbow 2,648 1.32 EELLS SPRINGS

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 24, 2019 Rainbow 2,786 1.39 EELLS SPRINGS

GOOSE LK (SKAM) July 18, 2019 Rainbow 1,644 2.30 GOLDENDALE

Warmwater:

Lacamas Lake – Bass and yellow perch fishing has been excellent.

Rowland Lake – Anglers have been catching some bluegill and pumpkinseed.

Swofford Pond – Bass and channel catfish fishing has been excellent.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam). http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Buoy 10 

Date Number
of Boats
Number
of Anglers
Chinook
Kept
Coho
Kept
Comments
1-Aug 35 85 3 3 Opener
2-Aug 40 100 7 7  
3-Aug 192 505 45 34  
4-Aug 128 338 35 22  
5-Aug 73 180 47 30  
6-Aug 86 212 85 45  
7-Aug 0 0 0 0 Not Sampled
8-Aug 114 287 129 82  
9-Aug 35 97 31 27  
10-Aug 264 756 217 143  
11-Aug 334 997 82 66  

 

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport Aug. 5-11

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 14 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal bank: 4 anglers with 1 Chinook jack kept
I-5 area bank: No report
Vancouver bank: 23 anglers with nothing
Woodland bank: 50 anglers with 1 Chinook kept
Kalama bank: 42 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz bank: No report
Longview bank: 52 anglers with nothing
Cathlamet bank: 5 anglers with nothing
Private boats/bank: 3 anglers with nothing

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 14 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: 7 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 23 anglers with 1 Chinook kept
Woodland boat: 24 anglers with 4 Chinook kept and 1 Chinook released
Kalama boat: 25 anglers with 2 Chinook kept
Cowlitz boat: 24 anglers with 5 Chinook kept and 10 steelhead released
Longview boat: 41 with 1 Chinook kept
Cathlamet boat: No report
Private boats/bank: 11 anglers with 1 Chinook kept and 1 jack released

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 2 anglers with 7 sublegals and 1 oversize released
Longview bank: 1 angler with nothing
Longview boat: 3 anglers with 1 sublegal, 2 legals and 1 oversize released

Walleye:

Camas/Washougal boat: 8 anglers with 2 kept and 2 released

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SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (8-7-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Columbia River and Tributary Fishery Reports July 29-Aug. 4, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River:

July 29-31– No anglers sampled.

Aug 1-4 – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

FISHING HAS BEGUN AT BUOY 10, AT THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA, AND THAT’S WHERE BUZZ RAMSEY AND BILL MONROE JR. PICKED UP THIS NICE UPRIVER BRIGHT TROLLING AN ANCHOVY BEHIND A FISH FLASH. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream:

July 29-31– No anglers sampled.

Aug 1-4 – 1 bank angler had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br:

July 29-31– 7 bank rods kept 1 Chinook jack and 1 steelhead. 11 boats/25 rods kept 15 steelhead.

Aug 1-4 – 32 bank rods kept 2 steelhead and released 8 jack Chinook. 27 boats/79 rods kept 35 steelhead.

Tacoma Power employees recovered 228 summer-run steelhead adults, 67 spring Chinook adults, six spring Chinook jacks, 84 spring Chinook mini-jacks, one fall chinook adult, and one cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released nine spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released one spring Chinook adult and one spring Chinook jack at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood. They also released one fall Chinook adult at Gus Backstrom Park in Morton.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 579 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,110 cubic feet per second on Monday, Aug. 5. Water visibility is 15 feet and the water temperature is 45.9 F.

Kalama River:

July 29-31– No anglers sampled.

Aug 1-4 – 2 bank angler had no catch. 2 boats/3 rods had no catch.

Lewis River:

July 29-31– 5 bank rods had no catch. 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Aug 1-4 – 7 bank rods kept 2 steelhead and released 1 Chinook. 1 boat/2 rods released 1 steelhead.

Drano Lake: July 29-31– 10 bank rods had no catch. 30 boats/62 rods kept 11 steelhead and released 55 steelhead.
Aug 1-4 – 6 boats/14 rods kept 2 Chinook, 2 Chinook jacks, released 3 Chinook jacks and 4 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – No anglers sampled.

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond Date Species Number Fish/lb Hatchery

LK MERWIN (COWL) July 14, 2019 Rainbow 1,142 0.80 MERWIN

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 28, 2019 Rainbow 2,648 1.32 EELLS SPRINGS

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 24, 2019 Rainbow 2,786 1.39 EELLS SPRINGS

GOOSE LK (SKAM) July 18, 2019 Rainbow 1,644 2.30 GOLDENDALE

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam). http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 12 anglers with 5 steelhead released
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 4 angler with nothing
Vancouver bank: 59 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 8 steelhead released
Woodland bank: 30anglers with 2 steelhead released
Kalama bank: 58 anglers with 3 steelhead and 1 adult Chinook kept and 8 steelhead and 1 Chinook jack released
Cowlitz bank: No report
Longview bank: 87anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 8 steelhead released
Cathlamet bank: 17anglers with nothing
Private boats/bank: No report

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: No report
I-5 area boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 19 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Woodland boat: 6 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Kalama boat: 15 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat: 10 anglers with 2 steelhead and 1 Chinook jack released
Longview boat: 27 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 2 steelhead releasd
Cathlamet boat: No report
Private boats/bank: 10 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 7 steelhead released

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 2 anglers with 36 sublegals (really?) and 4 oversize released
Longview bank: 3 anglers with 1 legal released

Walleye:

Camas/Washougal: 7 anglers with nothing

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From Salmon To Perch To Crab To Derbies, August Has Lotsa Ops: Yuasa

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

In the blink of an eye, summer has shifted past the midway point but that doesn’t necessarily mean anglers should throw shade on late-season fishing opportunities.

In fact, the horizon looks very bright in August when salmon fisheries come into play at Buoy 10 near the Columbia River mouth, Willapa Bay, inner- Elliott Bay, Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Freshwater fish seekers also can set their sights on abundant yellow perch in many statewide lakes!

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

First off, the pink – a salmon that returns mainly during odd-numbered years and often referred to as “humpies” for a distinct hump that grows on their back near spawning time – forecast is a paltry 608,388 which could be among the lowest runs on record dating back to 1959. Returns soared above 1 million in 2001 and peaked at more than 10 million in 2009. The strong pace continued when it hit 6-plus million in 2011, more than 8 million in 2013 and dipped to 4 million in 2015.

In 2015, the pinks went from bloom to gloom as they faced a monumental drought period and extremely warm water temperatures in rivers. Winter flooding followed leaving very few young pinks to make it out to the ocean where they eventually ran into “The Blob” a large mass of warm water that wreaked havoc on sea life.

That lead to a dismal 2017 with an actual return of around 511,000 (1.1 million was forecasted) pinks, which was less than 82 percent the historical 10-year average.

While the pink forecast is conservative – this summer’s unexpected strong return of chinook and coho – we just might see a late fourth quarter comeback for humpies too. In fact, some early pinks began showing up in catches back in July so don’t give up on them just yet.
“There have been a lot of pinks caught (at Neah Bay and La Push) and many of them are nice size fish,” said Wendy Beeghley, the WDFW coastal salmon manager.

An unexpected large return of pinks were also showing up in other places like Sekiu, outside of the Freshwater Bay closure zone and in open areas off Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as well as the San Juan Islands (which closed Aug. 1 for salmon fishing).
The Puget Sound pink run usually peaks in mid-August, and in southern Puget Sound the last week of August and early September are best.

Pinks aren’t the only game and so far, the coho and hatchery king fisheries have been a pleasant surprise from the coast clear into open areas of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The party lights began flashing for coho in June when places like central Puget Sound (Area 10) reopened for off-the-charts good action on resident coho. Then good king action began happening last month in the San Juan Islands (now closed to fishing in August), Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Tulalip bubble fishery and south-central Puget Sound.

It was the same scenario in the ocean when catches ramped up in late June from Neah Bay south to Ilwaco and have remained good this past month. Most of this is likely related to a strong forecast of 1,009,600 coho to the Columbia River compared to a 2018 forecast of 349,000.

Look for coho success in open areas of Puget Sound and Strait to only get better in August and build to a crescendo in September. In Puget Sound the total coho return for 2019 is 670,159, which is up from last year’s 557,149.

There will be a short inner-Elliott Bay king fishery from Aug. 2-5 and additional days may occur if in-season data shows the run to be stronger than expected. That won’t be the only crowning moment as areas from Whidbey Island south to Olympia have seen an uptick in catches of hatchery kings and should see good fishing this month in places that remain open.

WDFW extended the hatchery king salmon fishery in northern Puget Sound (Area 9), which is open through Saturday (Aug. 3). Central Puget Sound (Area 10) also remains open for hatchery kings as does south central Puget Sound (Area 11). Look for the latter two to produce some stellar fishing heading into this month.

Lastly, before heading out the door, check the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/ for any possible emergency closures this month and also what marine and freshwater areas are open or closed for salmon.

Yellow perch options bloom in the summer heat

There’s nothing better than getting a first-time angler or youth hooked on fishing and yellow perch is one of those prime options.

Lake Washington – which is 20 miles long and covers more than 22,000 acres – is one of those places that comes alive in August for yellow perch.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Their population levels in this large urban lake is very robust and they continue to have yearly strong recruitment and survival rates that won’t make the slightest dent on production.

Most yellow perch average 7 to 10 inches along with some “jumbos” hitting the 11- to 12-inch range.

WDFW experts say it is only a matter of time before the official state record could come from Lake Washington. The current state record of 2.75 pounds was caught by Larry Benthien at Snelson’s Slough in Skagit County on June 22, 1969.

The reason behind this possibility is due in part to the ample feed and room for yellow perch to grow in Lake Washington, which is the second largest natural-bodied lake in Washington. Female perch are the largest and tend to grow much faster (usually maturing in three to four years) and can live if 8 to 10 years.

The best time of the year to fish for yellow perch begins around July when the water heats up, and peaks from August through October.

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.

Yellow perch are active throughout the day and the only time they seek out covered areas is at night when predators are lurking.

Popular locations to fish are Seward Park; Kenmore log boom and pier; Juanita Bay; Magnuson Park shoreline; Andrews Bay; Newport area and slough; Yarrow Bay; Gene Coulon Park in Renton; Mercer Island near Luther Burbank Park; and off Leschi Park, Madison Park, Stan Sayres Pits and Mount Baker Park. Areas from the Montlake Cut into Lake Union are also good especially off Gasworks Park.

A light-to-medium-action trout fishing rod with a spinning reel attached to 4- to 6-pound test line works best. Use a worm and drop-shot (egg-style) weight attached to a three-way swivel or Sniper Lure Snubs – a colorful tiny 3-inch plastic worm. Live maggots, a skirted crappie jig work well. After you catch your first perch cut a small chunk of the meat or even a perch eyeball as bait.

Other good perch lakes are Sammamish near Issaquah; Kapowsin southeast of Puyallup; Beaver and Pine near Issaquah; Sawyer northwest of Black Diamond; Harts southeast of Yelm; Goodwin northwest of Marysville; Stevens east of Everett; American near Fort Lewis; Angle in Sea-Tac; Desire in Renton; and Meridian in Kent.

Dungeness crab fishing opportunities providing fairly decent catches

The Dungeness crab fishing success has been somewhat better than expected although many are having to still throw back some soft-shelled crabs.

Areas east of Bonilla-Tatoosh Island boundary line (Marine Catch Area 4), Sekiu (5), Port Angeles (6), east side of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2) and northern Puget Sound (9) are open through Sept. 2 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week).

Central Puget Sound (10) is open through this Saturday, Aug. 3. The shorter season is due to an overage in last year’s crab catch.

Hood Canal (12) north of a line projected due east of Ayock Point is open through Sept. 2 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week). Areas south of Ayock Point are closed this summer to help rebuild crab populations.

The San Juan Islands (7 South) is open through Sept. 30 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week). San Juan Islands (7 North) opens Aug. 15 through Sept. 30 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week).

South-central Puget Sound (11) and southern Puget Sound (13) are closed this summer to help rebuild crab populations.

NW Salmon Derby Series loaded with events in August

The derby series kicked into high gear with the Lake Coeur d’Alene Big One Fishing Derby on July 24-28 seeing a good number of anglers turn out despite the  tough fishing. Top angler in the adult division was Bret Hojem with a 13.54-pound chinook; and top youth angler was Cooper Malcolm with a 9.82 chinook.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Prior to that the Puget Sound Anglers Bellingham Salmon Derby was held July 12-14. A total of 392 adult tickets and 72 youth tickets were sold with 164 chinook weighed-in for the event, which was 10 more fish caught than last year.

Tom Hartley of Anacortes took the top prize of $7,500 with a 21.90-pound hatchery chinook; second was Chris Wilson with a 21.60 worth $2,500; and third was Adam Beardsley with a 20.62 worth $1,000.

Other derbies on the horizon are the South King County PSA Salmon Derby, Aug. 3; Brewster Salmon Derby on Aug. 1-4; Gig Harbor PSA Salmon Derby, Aug. 10; Vancouver, B.C. Chinook Classic, Aug. 17-18; and Edmonds PSA Coho Derby, Sept. 7. The Columbia River Fall Salmon Derby on Aug. 31 has been cancelled due to expected low salmon returns.

Drawing for the grand prize boat takes place at the conclusion of the Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 21-22. New at the Everett Coho Derby is a second weigh-in station located at the Edmonds Marina.

The grand prize $75,000 Weldcraft 202 Rebel Hardtop boat from Renaissance Marine Group in Clarkston will be making the rounds to each derby. The boat is powered with a Yamaha 200hp and 9.9hp trolling motor on an EZ-loader galvanized trailer.

The boat is rigged with Burnewiin accessories; Scotty downriggers; Raymarine Electronics; a custom WhoDat Tower; and a Dual Electronics stereo. Other sponsors include Silver Horde Lures; Master Marine and Tom-n-Jerry’s; Harbor Marine; Salmon & Steelhead Journal; NW Sportsman Magazine; The Reel News; Sportco and Outdoor Emporium; and Prism Graphics. It is trailered with a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – not part of the grand prize giveaway – courtesy of Northwest Chevrolet and Burien Chevrolet.
In other related news, anglers can also start looking at 2020 with dates finalized for Resurrection Salmon Derby on Feb. 1-2; Friday Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 6-8; and Roche Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 13-15.

Details: http://www.nwsalmonderbyseries.com/.

Summer is sneaking by quickly so it’s time for me to jump on the boat and get into the fishing action. I’ll see you on the water!

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SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (7-31-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – 3 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 1 boat/2 rods released 1 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br – 19 bank rods kept 6 steelhead.  34 boats/80 rods kept 74 steelhead, released 1 steelhead and 1 Chinook jack.

BY CATCH STAT, COWLITZ STEELHEADERS ENJOYED SOME OF THE BEST FISHING OF THE SUMMER SO FAR, AVERAGING NEARLY A KEEPER A ROD IN LATE JULY. TRISTEN BROWN,THEN 7, CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE POPULAR SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON RIVER SEVERAL YEARS BACK. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Kalama River – 18 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 38 bank anglers released 2 Chinook and 2 Chinook jacks.  6 boats/19 rods kept 6 steelhead and released 4 Chinook.

Drano Lake – 3 bank rods had no catch.  21 boats/38 rods kept 13 steelhead and released 32 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway- 3 bank anglers had no catch.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).  http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport July 22-28, 2019

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 58 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook and 10 steelhead released
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 9 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 4 released
Vancouver bank: 44 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 2 released
Woodland bank: 60 anglers with 6 steelhead kept and 5 released
Kalama bank: 74 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 2 released
Longview bank: 133 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 7 released
Cathlamet bank: 18 anglers with 2 steelhead kept
Private boats/bank: 6 steelhead with 2 anglers kept

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 7 anglers with 2 steelhead released
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver boat: 11 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 1 released
Woodland boat: 3 anglers with 1 steelhead kept
Kalama boat: 16 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Cowlitz boat: 5 anglers with nothing
Longview boat: 10 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 1 released
Cathlamet boat: 10 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 2 released
Private boats/bank: No report

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 15 anglers with 9 sublegals, 1 legal and 1 oversize released

Walleye:
 
Camas/Washougal boat: 2 anglers with 2 released

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Hatchery Chinook To Open Aug. 1 On Upper Half Of Brewster Pool

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Chinook salmon fishing opens on Columbia River above Brewster

Action:  Opens Chinook salmon fishing season in a section of the Columbia River above the Highway 173 Bridge at Brewster.

GOOD NEWS FOR UPPER COLUMBIA CHINOOK ANGLERS. RETENTION WILL OPEN AUG. 1 ON THE BREWSTER POOL BETWEEN THE HIGHWAYS 173 AND 17 BRIDGES. (BRIAN LULL)

Effective date:  Aug. 1, 2019 until further notice.

Species affected: Chinook salmon.

Location:  Columbia River: From the Highway 173 Bridge at Brewster upstream to the Highway 17 Bridge near Bridgeport.

Reason for action:  Returns of hatchery summer Chinook above Wells Dam are sufficient to allow for recreational harvest.

Additional information:  Min. length 12”.  Daily limit 6 Chinook salmon. No more than 2 hatchery adult Chinook may be retained as part of the daily limit. Release wild adult Chinook, all sockeye, and all coho. Use of barbless hooks is voluntary. Anglers may fish with two poles with a valid Two-pole Endorsement.

WDFW will be monitoring harvest and may close this season early if necessary.  For emergency rule updates, please visit https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

Colville Confederated Tribes will be purse seining to collect salmon for broodstock and ceremonial and subsistence purposes.  Anglers are asked to be respectful of these activities conducted by the tribe. The Chief Joseph Hatchery releases millions of Chinook that contribute to recreational fisheries in the Columbia River.

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SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (7-24-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

During Saturday’s flight, 128 salmonid boats and 268 Washington bank anglers were counted from Cathlamet upstream to Bonneville Dam.

BRADY BRODERS BATTLED A STEELHEAD AT DRANO LAKE LAST SUMMER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries 

Elochoman River– 4 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 5 bank rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br – 55 bank rods kept 16 steelhead and released 8 Chinook jacks.  45 boats/133 rods kept 73 steelhead and released 1 steelhead, 1 Chinook and 1 Chinook jack.

Tacoma Power employees recovered 227 summer-run steelhead adults, 36 spring Chinook adults, three spring Chinook jacks, and 86 spring Chinook mini-jacks during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released four spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released six spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook mini-jack at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 319 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,440 cubic feet per second on Monday, July 22. Water visibility is 13 feet and the water temperature is 51.8 F.

Kalama River – 7 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 8 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  5 boats/9 rods released 3 steelhead.

Drano Lake – 2 bank anglers had no catch.  15 boats/23 rods kept 4 steelhead and released 21 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).  http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport July 15-21, 2019

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 15 anglers with 1 adult Chinook and 7 steelhead released
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 13 anglers with nothing
Vancouver bank: 33 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 4 released
Woodland bank: 58 anglers with 2 steelhead released
Kalama bank: 42 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 11 steelhead released
Cowlitz bank: No report
Longview bank: 201 anglers with 16 steelhead kept and 7 released
Cathlamet bank: 39 anglers with 2 steelhead released
Private boats/bank: 5 anglers with nothing

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 5 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 6 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Woodland boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 17 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview boat: 64 anglers with 11 steelhead kept and 14 steelhead released
Cathlamet boat: 21 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook and 5 steelhead released
Private boats/bank: 7 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 1 steelhead and 1 sockeye released

Shad:

No report

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 3 anglers released 5 sublegals

Walleye:

No report

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Cathlamet Again Kicking Out Lots Of Pikeminnows; Boyer Park Tops So Far

With the Columbia-Snake pikeminnow season just past its halfway mark, Cathlamet is once again serving up plenty of fish for anglers participating in the sport reward program.

“Catch there is over 4,000 fish better than this time in 2018, when Cathlamet was our No. 1 producing station,” reports WDFW’s Eric Winther, who manages the fishery.

AN ANGLER BELOW BONNEVILLE DAM UNHOOKS A NORTHERN PIKEMINNOW. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

“Effort is also up (105 angler days), but fishing is clearly better in the Cathlamet area as angler catch per unit effort is 2.2 fish/angler day better than 2018, 8.6 vs 6.4,” he adds.

Through July 21, 81,345 of the native but salmonid smolt-eating fish have been turned in at stations everywhere from the Lower Columbia to the mouth of Hells Canyon.

Boyer Park on the Snake below Lower Granite Dam near Pullman has accounted for 13,434 of those, with Cathlamet at 12,882, The Dalles at 9,064, Washougal at 7,047 and Rainier at 4,712.

CPUEs are 9.4, 8.6, 4.3, 9.3 and 5.1, respectively.

“The Washougal area is also quietly having a good year in that they are more than 2,000 fish better than in 2018,” Winther notes. “Historically, the best late-season harvest rates — mid-August through September — come from pikeminnow stations located below Bonneville Dam. That means that fishing could get even better later this season at stations like Washougal and Cathlamet.”

For most years this decade The Dalles station has stood head and shoulders over all others, but last year it wilted to just half of 2017’s haul, possibly due to high waters early on discouraging anglers.

Winther speculated that Cathlamet’s surge late last season might have been due to pikeminnows dropping out of low, warm tribs into the mainstem Columbia. Top anglers discovered the abundance and drove up catch rates.

REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS CAN EARN $5 FOR TURNING IN THEIR FIRST 25 PIKEMINNOW THAT ARE 9 INCHES OR LARGER, $6 FOR THEIR 26TH THROUGH 200TH AND $8 FOR 201 OR MORE. MANY ARE ALSO TAGGED AND WORTH $500 APIECE. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

The Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program runs May 1 through Sept. 30 and pays anglers from $5 to $8 per qualifying fish, with $500 for specially tagged ones.

It’s been going on for 29 years as part of a state-federal effort aimed at reducing predation on Chinook, coho, steelhead and other smolts by pikeminnows, which have become more effective at preying on the young fish because of the reservoirs built on the Lower and Mid-Columbia and Lower Snake.

Winther just held a set of free fishing clinics in Longview and Tri-Cities and says that while none are currently scheduled in August, he may do some. Watch his events page for more.

“For people wanting to learn how to catch northern pikeminnow, late season in the lower river is often their best bet,” he adds. “Fish tend to bite better in the late season, perhaps preparing for the long cold winter to come, and many anglers may have given up trying to catch northern pikeminnow due to low success earlier in the season, and this means less competition for finding and catching them.”

So far this season, 2019’s top angler has been reeling in a bit more than $2,000 a week worth of pikeminnow’s. Last year’s high fisherman earned $71,049 for bringing in 8,686 fish.

“Definitely fish to be had,” says Winther. “Just need to get out there and find them.”

Colvilles Aim To Release Returning Chinook Into Rufus Woods, Lake Roosevelt

The Colville Tribes hope to move surplus Chinook above two upper Columbia dams where the ocean-returning salmon haven’t been for as much as three-quarters of a century.

GRAND COULEE DAM AND LAKE ROOSEVELT. (BUREAU OF RECLAMATION)

Construction of Grand Coulee Dam and then Chief Joseph Dam without fish ladders ended passage past Bridgeport, but the tribes want to release adults that returned to Wells Hatchery into the reservoirs behind each this summer.

They’ve got a state permit to do so in Lake Rufus Woods, according to an article in the Tribal Tribune earlier this week, and plan to get another for Lake Roosevelt.

The news outlet describes the bid as “part of a ‘cultural release'” and report it is dependent on whether the salmon first pass testing for IHN, an infectious virus that affects fish.

The salmon are otherwise distributed to tribal members.

Ahead of any possible action, tribal fish and wildlife managers put out a call to elders and other Colvilles for comment.

“We’re to the point that we could have fish ready to move by the end of this month or the first part of August,” CTFW Director Randy Friedlander told the Tribune.

There have been increasing talk about bringing salmon back to Washington’s Upper Columbia and the British Columbia side of the international river.

It does seem a bit of a long shot as a way to jumpstart a run, as for any salmon that are released in the reservoirs, the next challenge would be for the fish to find gravel, for the eggs to hatch, for the smolts to make it over or through the first two dams without any kind of surface collectors, survive the rest of their downstream and ocean migration, and then return to some point below the dams and be collected to spawn the next generation.

But you gotta start somewhere and it’s clearly very important to do so to the tribes.

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SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (7-18-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

During Saturday’s flight, 79 salmonid boats and 213 Washington bank anglers were counted from Cathlamet upstream to Bonneville Dam.

Shad:

Monday’s (7/15) count was just over 5,910 fish, which pushes the season total to 7.4 million shad passing Bonneville Dam.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 8 bank rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br – 30 bank rods kept 14 steelhead.  32 boats/93 rods kept 71 steelhead.

ANNA RUNYARD SHOWS OFF A COWLITZ SUMMER-RUN STEELHEAD CAUGHT IN 2014 DRIFT FISHING A CORKY AND YARN. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 20 spring Chinook adults, five spring Chinook jacks, 155 spring Chinook mini jacks, and 172 summer-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released three spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released one spring Chinook adult, and one spring Chinook jack at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 220 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,430 cubic feet per second on Monday, July 15. Water visibility is 15 feet and the water temperature is 52.5 F.

Kalama River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 9 bank anglers kept 2 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.  3 boats/7 rods kept 4 steelhead.

Drano Lake – 3 boats/5 rods kept 1 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway- No anglers sampled.

  •       Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).  http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport July 8-14

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 40 anglers with 9 steelhead, 1 adult Chinook, 1 jack Chinook and 3 “other”
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 2 anglers with nothing
Vancouver bank: 20 anglers with 4 steelhead and 2 sockeye released
Woodland bank: 46 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Kalama bank: 42 anglers with 1 kept steelhead and 4 steelhead, 2 adult Chinook and 1 sockeye released
Longview bank: 166 anglers with 11 steelhead kept and 12 steelhead and 1 jack Chinook released
Cathlamet bank:  16 anglers with nothing
Private boats/bank: 5 anglers with nothing

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 3 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver boat: 9 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Woodland boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat: 7 anglers with 1 jack Chinook and 1 steelhead released
Longview boat: 38 anglers with 13 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook and 6 steelhead released
Cathlamet boat: 47 anglers with 16 steelhead kept and 6 steelhead and 1 sockeye released
Private boats/bank: 4 anglers with nothing

Shad:

Bonneville bank: 2 anglers with nothing

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 9 anglers with 14 sublegals released
Longview bank: 2 anglers with 2 sublegals and 1 legal released
Longview boat: 2 anglers with nothing

Walleye:

Vancouver boat: 4 anglers with 8 kept and 7 released

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