Tag Archives: columbia river

Northern Pike In Washington Reclassified At Highest Threat Level

Esox lucius is very much piscis non grata in Washington these days.

Northern pike were reclassified as a prohibited level 1 species, the highest designation, by the Fish and Wildlife Commission late last week, a move that will focus more resources on the fight to keep the “highly invasive” species out of the Columbia below Chief Joseph Dam and other state waters.

THE COLVILLE TRIBES CAPTURED THIS 28.2-POUND NORTHERN PIKE IN LAKE ROOSEVELT’S SANPOIL ARM EARLIER THIS YEAR. (COLVILLE TRIBES)

“The gist is that moving from level 3 to level 1 allows for higher level actions to address things, to eradicate them once they get into the anadromous zone,” says WDFW’s Eric Winther.

It means that when pike get into the waters where salmon and steelhead smolts swim downstream of the dam, the governor can declare an environmental emergency, which would trigger a wider mobilization of resources.

It’s another sign of how seriously fishery managers are taking the situation.

Illegally introduced pike have been slowly moving down the Pend Oreille and Upper Columbia over the past 15 years or so and are creeping closer and closer to Grand Coulee Dam.

It’s all but inevitable they will get below Chief Joe, and to that end, Winther has been tasked with coming up with a rapid response plan  and says measures could include gillnetting.

That has already proven to be effective for targeting spawning flats on Lake Roosevelt and Box Canyon Reservoir, where pike gather in spring, he says.

As area tribes, WDFW, public utility districts have teamed up to control pike, knowledge of where northerns go to procreate is increasing.

Winther says other possibilities could include chemical treatments, though he notes rotenoning would be difficult in the Columbia outside of perhaps isolated bays, while long-line fishing is also being considered.

He says that elevating pike to level 1 also means that eDNA tools can be brought into the battle. A newfangled type of early-warning system, essentially the environment — water in this case — can be scanned for traces of pike poo, scales, mucus, etc., etc.

Even as Caspian terns, walleye, harbor seals and other piscovores chomp down heavily on young Chinook, coho, steelhead and other seagoing fish, the relatively early stage of the pike outbreak and their lower numbers mean we’re in a better place than with those other issues.

“Once you’ve got a problem, it costs a lot more to deal with it,” Winther says.

Pike prefer to eat fish with soft rays, like salmonids, which are hugely important to sport and commercial fishermen and tribal fishermen, and more and more emphasis is also being placed on getting more Chinook into the ocean for starving southern resident orcas to eat as returning adults.

Winther says that the state Invasive Species Council will be requesting money for eDNA testing as well.

The change in classification was approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission during its conference call last Friday. It was first reported by the Columbia Basin Bulletin.

Winther says that he hopes to have the response plan out for review by the end of the year.

In the meanwhile, efforts will also be made to increase public awareness about the danger of northern pike through brochures, stickers and sportsmen’s shows.

It’s believed that the fish were illegally introduced into the Pend Oreille River from Idaho’s Lake Couer d’Alene system, where they’d been illegally introduced after being illegally introduced in western Montana waters.

“We’re letting people (who catch one) know to kill it and report it. That helps us get a handle on this,” Winther says.

There is no limit on pike in Washington. As I once advised after a bass angler inexplicably released one illegally placed into Lake Washington, if you catch a northern, “Slash its gills, slit its belly, hack it in half, singe the carcass over high heat.”

KNOW YOUR ENEMY! NORTHERN PIKE ARE BROWNISH WITH LIGHTER, OVALISH SPOTS. THEIR DORSAL FIN IS PUSHED BACK TOWARDS THE TAIL. (MUCKLESHOOT TRIBE VIA DFW)

Editor’s note: The initial version of this blog misreported the new classification of pike as level 3. Rather, they were reclassified as a level 1 prohibited species. We regret the error.

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Hanford Fishing Report (10-1-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN AND PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW

Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery Update (Sept 23-29)

Over 5,800 anglers fished for fall chinook in the Hanford Reach this past week. Fishing, both in terms of numbers of anglers and harvest continues to increase. Boats averaged over a fish per boat, 12 hours per fish.

BOB AND BRIAN SUYAMA HOIST A PAIR OF UPRIVER BRIGHTS CAUGHT IN THE HANFORD REACH OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER YESTERDAY. THEY WERE FISHING WITH JERRY HAN AND RUNNING PRO-TROLLS AND SUPER BAITS STUFFED WITH STARKIST TUNA. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

From September 23 through September 29, WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 747 boats (2,034 anglers) and 102 bank anglers with 915 adult chinook, 85 jacks and 4 coho. An estimated 2,536 adult chinook, 231 chinook jacks and 11 coho were harvested for the week (expanded). For the season there have been 15,620 angler trips with 4,570 adult chinook, 495 chinook jacks, and 19 coho harvested. Harvest is tracking similar to last year at this time. (2018 =4,571 adult chinook).

Adult counts of fall chinook over Bonneville are running 45% above last year’s numbers and McNary counts  are running 21% above last year at this time.

In addition to the US v Oregon Agreement, the Hanford Reach URB population is managed under the Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery Management Plan. The population is managed to meet the Hanford Reach URB escapement goal of 31,100 – 42,000 adults (naturally spawning population). Harvest allocated to the fishery is based on in-season return estimates. An in-season estimate is generated weekly beginning September 15 for the Hanford Reach wild component of the return. The estimate is generated based on current passage through the fish ladders at McNary, Ice Harbor, and Priest Rapids Dams and projected migration timing. Based on numbers through September 30, an estimated 44,794 adult, wild (natural origin) fall chinook are expected to return to the Hanford Reach. At 44,794, 9,700 adult chinook are allocated to the Hanford Reach sport fishery. This allocation plus the current one adult daily limit should be sufficient to continue the fishery for the next couple of weeks and potentially through the end of the scheduled season. The next in-season update will be posted October 8.

 

Fishing Report Sept 23 -29, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 56 bank rods released 1 Chinook and 1 coho jack. 65 boats/159 rods kept 41 coho, 9 coho jacks and released 49 Chinook, 4 Chinook jacks, 39 coho, 13 coho jacks and 1 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br – 36 bank rods kept 5 coho and released 14 Chinook and 2 Chinook jacks. 4 boats/14 rods kept 1 coho, 6 steelhead and released 5 Chinook, 2 coho and 10 coho jacks.

Kalama River – 6 bank anglers had no catch. 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Lewis River – 75 bank anglers released 2 Chinook, 1 Chinook jack and 1 coho. 5 boats/11 rods kept 3 coho and 1 coho jack.

Washougal River– 10 bank anglers had no catch. 4 boats/9 rods released 3 Chinook.

Wind River – 12 boats/16 rods kept 1 Chinook, 9 coho and released 1 Chinook, 10 coho and 3 steelhead. Drano Lake – 4 bank anglers had no catch. 15 boats/42 rods kept 28 Chinook, 5 Chinook jacks and released 6 Chinook.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 75 bank anglers kept 38 Chinook, 1 Chinook jack, 1 coho and released 1 Chinook. 1 boat/2 rods kept 1 Chinook.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 14 bank anglers kept 2 Chinook and released 1 Chinook.

Sturgeon:

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 26 bank rods had no catch. 22 boats/65 rods kept 5 legal sturgeon and released 12 sublegal and 3 oversize sturgeon.

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 Sept. 23-29

Coho

Bonneville bank: 4 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal boat: 16 anglers with 3 coho and 3 adult Chinook released
Vancouver boat: 7 anglers with 5 adult Chinook and 1 coho released
Woodland boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Kalama bank: 6 anglers with 3 adult Chinook released
Kalama boat: 17 anglers with 3 coho kept and 2 adult Chinook released
Cowlitz boat: 6 anglers with 4 coho kept and 2 adult Chinook and 1 steelhead released
Longview bank: 1 angler with nothing
Longview boat: 4 anglers with 2 coho released

Sturgeon:

Bonneville bank: 45 anglers with nothing
Bonneville boat: 4 anglers, also with nothing
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 41 anglers with 4 legals kept and 10 sublegals released
I-5 area bank: No report
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver bank: 7 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 118 anglers with 1 legal kept and 22 sublegals and 6 oversize released
Woodland bank: 22 anglers with nothing
Woodland boat: 140 anglers with 5 legals kept and 21 sublegals and 1 oversize released
Kalama bank: 19 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 140 anglers with 3 legals kept and 24 sublegals and 8 oversize released
Cowlitz bank: No report
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview bank: 25 anglers with 1 legal kept
Longview boat: 230 anglers with 7 legals kept and 27 sublegals and 5 oversize released
Cathalmet bank: No report
Cathlamet boat: No report

Drano Closing For All Fishing; Ringold Won’t Open For Steelhead

THE FOLLOWING ARE EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICES FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Drano Lake to close to all fishing

Action: Closes Drano Lake to all fishing.

Effective date: Sept. 29, 2019 until further notice.

Species affected: All fish species.

COLUMBIA SALMON ANGLERS ARE OUT ONE MORE PLACE TO FISH FOR FALL CHINOOK THIS SEASON AS WDFW ANNOUNCES THAT DRANO LAKE WILL CLOSE TO ALL ANGLING TO GET AS MANY FISH BACK TO THE NATIONAL HATCHERY ON THE LITTLE WHITE SALMON AS POSSIBLE. GUIDE GERARDO REYES CAUGHT THIS LARGE WILD UPRIVER BRIGHT EARLIER THIS MONTH AT THE LAKE WHICH DOUBLES AS A THERMAL REFUGE FOR SALMON AND STEELHEAD BOUND FOR SPAWNING GROUNDS HIGHER IN THE COLUMBIA BASIN. (FLATOUTFISHING.NET)

Location: In the waters downstream of markers on point of land downstream and across from Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery and upstream of the Highway 14 Bridge.

Reason for action:  The current estimate of fall Chinook salmon that will return to Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery is below the number needed to meet the 2019 broodstock collection goal. Closing the fishing season in Drano Lake will increase the number of hatchery fish available for broodstock and help ensure future hatchery returns.

Additional information: WDFW will continue coordinating with National Fish Hatchery staff to monitor the hatchery return and determine if further fishery modification is needed.

Hanford Reach steelhead fishery to remain closed

Action: Closes steelhead fishing

Effective date: Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.

Species affected: Steelhead.

Location: Highway 395 Bridge (Kennewick/Pasco) upstream to the old Hanford townsite powerline crossing.

Reason for action: Through Sept. 24, the 2019 steelhead return is the fourth-lowest return on record since 1962 for both the Upper Columbia River and Snake River. Adult returns of Ringold Springs Hatchery-origin steelhead are currently tracking at less than 50 percent of the 2018 return. The closure is necessary to ensure sufficient numbers of steelhead will be available to meet hatchery broodstock production needs.

Additional information: This year’s return of Ringold Springs Hatchery steelhead is expected to be the lowest return on record over the past 20 years. All returning steelhead will be needed for broodstock to meet the production goal of 180,000 juvenile steelhead scheduled for release in 2021. The Hanford Reach is currently closed to steelhead retention, but was scheduled to open Oct. 1. Under this rule change, steelhead retention will remain closed through Dec. 31.

Hanford Reach Fishing Report (9-24-19)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW

Over 1,400 anglers fished for fall chinook in the Hanford Reach this past week. Fishing, both in terms of numbers of anglers and harvest, picked up last week. Boats averaged over a fish per boat, 14 hours per fish. Bank anglers at the Ringold Springs access harvested 22 adult chinook and 17 jacks, 23 hours per chinook.

From September 16 through September 22, WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 494 boats (1,293 anglers) and 108 bank anglers with 563 adult chinook and 41 jacks. An estimated 1,627 adult chinook and 106 chinook jacks were harvested for the week (expanded). For the season there have been 9,790 angler trips with 2,381 adult chinook, 264 chinook jacks, and 8 coho harvested. Harvest is trailing only slightly behind last year at this time. (2018 =2,477 adult chinook).

Adult counts of fall chinook over Bonneville are running 44% above last year’s numbers and McNary counts finally picked up and are running 12% above last year at this time.

BROOKLYN BRODERS HOISTS A GREAT FIRST SALMON, A JACK UPRIVER BRIGHT CAUGHT IN THE 300 AREA OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER’S HANFORD REACH. SHE WAS FISHING WITH HER DAD TROY AND RUNNING BRAD’S CUT PLUG STUFFED WITH TUNA. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

In addition to the US v Oregon Agreement, the Hanford Reach URB population is managed under the Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery Management Plan. The population is managed to meet the Hanford Reach URB escapement goal of 31,100 – 42,000 adults (naturally spawning population). Harvest allocated to the fishery is based on in-season return estimates. An in-season estimate is generated weekly beginning September 15 for the Hanford Reach wild component of the return. The estimate is generated based on current passage through the fish ladders at McNary, Ice Harbor, and Priest Rapids Dams and projected migration timing. Based on numbers through September 23, an estimated 47,062 adult, wild (natural origin) fall chinook are expected to return to the Hanford Reach. At 47,000, 10,900 adult chinook are allocated to the Hanford Reach sport fishery. This allocation plus the current one adult daily limit should be sufficient to continue the fishery for the foreseeable future and potentially through the end of the scheduled season. The next in-season update will be posted October 1.

Columbia-Snake Steelhead Run Again Downgraded; Treaty Salmon Fishery Set

Columbia fishery managers heard more grim news about this year’s steelhead run, now forecast to come in at 71,600, the third downgrade from the preseason forecast.

WILD UNCLIPPED A- AND B-RUN STEELHEAD ARE OUTPACING HATCHERY RETURNS SO FAR AT BONNEVILLE, SOMETHING THAT “HAS NOT BEEN OBSERVED” IN THE QUARTER CENTURY OF TALLYING THE DIFFERENCE AT THE DAM. (BRIAN LULL)

Weaker than expected hatchery A-run numbers continue to largely be to blame, but B-runs, which return later and haven’t been updated, are now also “tracking below expectations.”

The preseason forecast was 118,200 As and Bs, but was dropped to 86,000 on Aug. 28 and 74,000 on Sept. 3.

Unusually, more unclipped summers have been tallied at Bonneville than clipped fish, 29,658 to 26,856 since July 1, something that “has not been observed” at the dam since managers began counting the number of adult steelhead with and without adipose fins in 1994, according to today’s fact sheet.

The new forecast calls for 35,000 unclipped steelhead.

Also troubling — though not concrete — is that Dworshak Hatchery-bound fish are “almost absent, based on PIT tags,” WDFW’s Bill Tweit said during a state-tribal conference call this morning.

PIT tags are passive integrated transponders placed in smolts at the hatchery or in the wild and which record a fish’s passage to and from the ocean.

If the steelhead run comes in at this new low forecast, it would be the worst since at least 1984.

Already, state managers have shut down retention on large sections of the Columbia, extended it in some places and reduced upriver bag limits from three to one for when the fish arrive in Southeast Washington, Northeast Oregon and Central Idaho streams.

The main thrust of today’s call, however, was to hear about CRITFC plans to hold a two-and-a-half-day tribal commercial gillnetting opener in Zone 6, the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day Pools, from 6 a.m., Monday, Sept. 16 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18.

According to the fact sheet, it and a “late fall platform” fishery are modeled to bring the tribal harvest in the fall management period to 28,448 Chinook, including 11,794 upriver brights and 2,152 steelhead, including 425 B-runs.

The fact sheet states that at current run forecasts, that would leave 24,834 URBs for tribal fisheries. It also says that based on typical run timing, the goal of getting at least 60,000 past McNary Dam will be met.

While URBs, which spawn in the Hanford Reach and Snake River and provide sportfisheries there and in the aforementioned pools, are “tracking similar to pre-season expectations,” there is more concern about Columbia Gorge hatchery tule returns meeting broodstock needs.

CRITFC’s Stuart Ellis acknowledged that it “seems likely we will be quite tight” in reaching goals at Spring Creek Hatchery, but that if necessary, Bonneville Hatchery fish could be substituted as they are the same strain.

When ODFW’s John North asked other tribes, WDFW, NOAA and the public for comment on the proposed tribal opener, none was given.

State managers did query Ellis about a preliminary estimated catch of “0” steelhead during last week’s tribal Chinook fishery, to which he explained that none had been sampled, leading to the zero for that week. He also said that actual steelhead catches had been less than were being modeled.

He added that managers need to keep an eye on the Dworshak situation.

ODFW’s Jeff Whistler, who chairs the Technical Advisory Committee, which puts out run updates, said that one for A- and B-run steelhead, URBs and tules was “quite likely” to come out next Monday.

In a weekly newsletter out last Friday evening, NSIA noted that TAC was also reviewing Chinook passage at Bonneville this past Monday and that managers “have committed to acting as quickly as possible to reopen chinook fishing from Warrior Rock to Bonneville if the passage numbers warrant.”

No sport fisheries were proposed today, but next week’s update might show whether any are possible.

SW WA, Columbia, Hanford Reach Fishing Report (9-9-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN AND PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW

Fishing Report Sept. 2-8, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – 1 bank angler released 1 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 5 bank rods had no catch. 8 boats/19 rods kept 3 coho, 1 coho jack and released 1 coho, 1 coho jack, 7 Chinook and 2 Chinook jacks.

Above the I-5 Br – 13 bank rods had no catch. 3 boats/6 rods kept 1 steelhead and released 1 steelhead and 1 Chinook.

JERRY HAN SHOWS OFF A NICE EASTERN COLUMBIA GORGE FALL CHINOOK CAUGHT EARLIER TODAY. HE WAS FISHING WITH TYLER MILLER OF MILLER TIME FISHING. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Lewis River – 35 bank anglers kept 1 Chinook jack, 2 coho, 5 coho jacks and released 1 Chinook. 5 boats/6 rods kept 1 coho.

Wind River – 1 bank angler had no catch. 6 boats/9 rods released 11 Chinook.

Drano Lake – 6 bank anglers released 5 steelhead. 15 boats/33 rods kept 19 Chinook, 2 coho and released 16 steelhead.

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/

Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery Update (Sept 2-8)

Adult counts of fall chinook over Bonneville are running ~9% above last year’s numbers but McNary counts are 1/3 lower than last year at this time. The first in-season update for the Hanford Reach will be included in next week’s update.

 

2 Keeper Sturgeon Openers Approved For Bonneville-Wauna, Cowlitz

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

Recreational fishermen will have two days in September to get out on the Columbia River to catch and retain white sturgeon under rules approved by the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife. The two-day recreational fishery will take place on consecutive Saturdays – Sept. 21 and Sept. 28.

COLUMBIA RIVER STURGEON ANGLERS WILL HAVE TWO OPPORTUNITIES THIS MONTH TO RETAIN KEEPERS IN THE BIG RIVER BETWEEN BONNEVILLE DAM AND THE WAUNA POWERLINES. CHAD ZOLLER CAUGHT THIS ONE A COUPLE SEASONS AGO. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Recreational fishermen will head to the water this year with an overall harvest guideline of 1,230 fish for the two days. The white sturgeon fishery is guideline-driven, meaning managers may close the season early if the harvest guideline is expected to be exceeded.

The effective area is the Columbia River from the Wauna power lines, which cross the Columbia River about 40 miles from the river mouth, upstream to the fishing deadlines at Bonneville Dam. The Cowlitz River will be open for retention of white sturgeon on the same two days under rules adopted by the State of Washington. The lower Willamette River remains closed to sturgeon retention at this time.

The bag limit is one legal-sized white sturgeon per day and up to two for the year; anglers are reminded that the annual limit applies to any/all 2019 retention fisheries. A legal-sized sturgeon is defined as one measuring 44-50 inches fork length. Anglers are cautioned to pay close attention to the instructions for measuring sturgeon. Fork length is measured in a straight line from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail fin with the fish laying on its side on a flat surface and the ruler positioned flat under the fish. (See page 12 of the 2019 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.)

For more information and regulation updates, please see ODFW’s Columbia River Zone online.

Chinook Retention Closing 3 Days Early On Portion Of Lower Columbia

Editor’s note: The following has been updated with a WDFW e-reg at bottom authorizing the retention of two hatchery coho a day on the Warrior Rock-Bonneville stretch of the Columbia starting Sept. 6, three days earlier than previously scheduled

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AND AN EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

ODFW

Fisheries managers from Oregon and Washington today announced that recreational Chinook salmon retention in the Columbia River between Warrior Rock and Bonneville Dam will close effective Friday, Sept. 6 at 12:01 a.m., three days earlier than originally scheduled.

COLUMBIA SALMON MANAGERS ARE CLOSING CHINOOK RETENTION FROM WARRIOR ROCK NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE LEWIS RIVER, WHERE DEEDEE HENSLEY CAUGHT THIS ONE A FEW RUNS BACK, UPSTREAM TO BONNEVILLE DAM. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The states decided to close the fishery early after reviewing harvest data that indicated recreational fishermen in this river section have already surpassed their preseason Chinook salmon harvest guideline by approximately 40 percent. Other sections of the lower Columbia River closed to Chinook retention in August to help prevent recreational fisheries from exceeding their allocation of upriver bright fall Chinook.

Columbia River salmon harvests are subject to treaties and federal conservation mandates such as the Endangered Species Act that place limits on the number of fish that can be harvested.

For 2019, upriver bright fall Chinook, which include ESA-listed Snake River fish, are the most constraining Chinook stock, The states took a precautionary approach to planning 2019 fisheries as a result of exceeding take limits in recent years.

“Clearly, we need to close the season as soon as possible,” said Tucker Jones, ODFW’s manager of ocean salmon and Columbia River fisheries.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and if there is any indication that we have room to catch more fish, we’ll take action,” he added, referring to ongoing monitoring of the upriver bright run size that can affect harvest guidelines.

In the meantime, coho salmon returns appear to be strong and offer potential for additional recreational fishing opportunity, especially at Buoy 10, according to Jones.

Retention of adult hatchery coho is currently open from Buoy 10 to McNary Dam, with a bag limit of two fish per day. The recreational coho season is scheduled to continue through the end of the year.

In addition, Chinook retention remains open between Bonneville and McNary dams. The fishery will be managed based on actual catches and upriver bright run size.

Steelhead retention is currently closed through September in the Columbia from the mouth of the river at Buoy 10 upstream to McNary Dam, a measure the states adopted and subsequently expanded earlier this year to help reduce impacts to upriver steelhead, which are returning to the river in smaller numbers than expected.

For more information, visit ODFW on line at www.MyODFW.com

WDFW

Portion of Columbia River mainstem closing to recreational Chinook fishing

Action: Closes the sport fishery for Chinook salmon from Warrior Rock Line upstream to Bonneville Dam. Increases adult portion of the daily limit to 2 hatchery coho.

Effective date: Friday, Sept. 6 until further notice.

Species affected: Chinook salmon.

Location: Columbia River mainstem, from upstream of the Warrior Rock Line (a line projected from the Warrior Rock lighthouse through Red Buoy 4 to the marker atop the piling dolphin located at the downstream end of Bachelor Island on the Washington shore) to Bonneville Dam.

Reason for action: This fishery was originally scheduled to close on Sunday, Sept. 8. However, the fishery has already exceeded its pre-season planned allocation of Upriver Bright impacts. This closure is necessary to meet conservation goals and pre-season fishing plans agreed upon by co-managers.

Additional information: Salmon and steelhead; min. size 12″, daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery coho.

Fishery managers will continue to monitor the run and evaluate for possible future openings. Anglers can follow emergency rule changes at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

Please see the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for additional rules or visit the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.

Information contact: Region 5, 360-696-6211.

 

SW WA, Columbia, Hanford Reach Fishing Report (9-4-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN AND PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW

Fishing Report Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Mouth of the Cowlitz River to Bonneville Dam – 606 salmonid boats and 124 Washington bank rods were tallied during the flight on Tuesday.

AMANDA WILES CAUGHT THIS FALL CHINOOK AT BUOY 10 BEFORE RETENTION CLOSED IN MID-AUGUST. SHE WAS FISHING IN THE LIPSTICK SALMON SLAYERS TOURNAMENT. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – 4 bank rods had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 16 bank rods had no catch. 5 boats/13 rods kept 1 coho, released 2 Chinook jacks and 2 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br – 14 bank rods released 2 Chinook, 6 Chinook jacks and 1 steelhead. 8 boats/19 rods kept 21 steelhead.

Wind River – 1 bank angler had no catch. 1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Drano Lake – 2 bank anglers had no catch. 8 boats/16 rods kept 5 Chinook, released 3 Chinook and 17 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 1 bank angler 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 Aug. 26-Sept. 1

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 42 anglers with 1 adult Chinook kept
Camas/Washougal bank:  No report
I-5 area bank:  2 anglers with nothing
Vancouver bank:  278 anglers with 44 adult Chinook kept and 1 released
Woodland bank: 4 anglers with nothing
Kalama bank:  164 anglers with 31 adult Chinook kept and 8 released
Longview bank:  13 anglers with nothing
Cathlamet bank:  1 angler with nothing
Private boats/bank:  No report

Bonneville boat:  55 anglers with 22 adult Chinook and 2 jacks kept
Camas/Washougal boat: 214 anglers with 55 adult Chinook and 3 jacks and 2 coho kept and 4 adult Chinook, 1 jack and 1 coho released
I-5 area boat:  24 anglers with 3 adult Chinook and 1 jack kept
Vancouver boat:  259 anglers with 69 adult Chinook and 3 jacks and 1 coho kept and 1 steelhead released
Woodland boat:  105 anglers with 11 adult Chinook kept and 1 released
Kalama boat:  46 anglers with 8 adult Chinook and 1 jack kept and 2 steelhead and 2 coho released
Cowlitz boat:  75 anglers with 7 adult Chinook and 1 jack kept
Longview boat:  34 anglers with 5 adult Chinook and 1 coho kept
Cathlamet boat:  No report
Private boats/bank:  No report

Sturgeon:

Vancouver boat: 3 anglers with 1 legal released
Longview boat: 2 anglers with nothing

Walleye:

Camas/Washougal boat: 4 anglers with 4 kept

Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery Update (Aug. 26-Sept. 1)

Fishing for fall chinook continues to be slow this month with very light effort. From August 26 through September 1, WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 67 boats (180 anglers) with 8 adult chinook and 3 jacks. An estimated 35 adult chinook and 13 chinook jacks were harvested. Boats averaged 64 hours per fish. For the season there have been 1,614 angler trips with 100 adult chinook, 53 chinook jacks, and 5 coho harvested.

Harvest began to pick up the first week of September in 2018 (see table below).

Columbia-Snake Steelhead Restrictions Tighten

Washington steelhead managers are tightening already restricted fisheries as this year’s A-run comes in below forecast.

HATCHERY STEELHEAD LIMITS ON WASHINGTON’S GRANDE RONDE AND OTHER STREAMS ARE BEING DROPPED TO ONE FOLLOWING A RUNSIZE DOWNGRADE. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Limits on hatchery fish are being reduced on a number of Blue Mountains streams, including the Walla Walla, Touchet, Tucannon, Snake and Grande Ronde, from three to one starting Sept. 1, per a bevy of WDFW emergency rule change notices out in late morning.

While the best fishing really isn’t until midfall, anglers will be required to quit steelheading once they’ve retained their daily limit.

There’s also a 28-inch maximum size on the Snake from its mouth up to the Couse Creek boat launch near the mouth of Hells Canyon in eastern Asotin County to protect a low return of larger B-runs.

It follows this week’s downgrade from 118,200 As and Bs expected back to now just 86,000.

A fact sheet out today says the decrease is mainly due to fin-clipped A-runs “tracking lower than forecast.”

ODFW and WDFW also extended the steelhead retention closure on the Columbia below The Dalles Dam through Sept. 30. It had been scheduled to reopen Sept. 1.

“Due to the recent run downgrade for upriver steelhead (primarily clipped A-Index fish), concerns exist regarding achieving hatchery broodstock needs,” the fact sheet states.

Inland Northwest steelhead returns have been struggling in recent years and managers have implemented a series of rolling closures going up the Columbia to protect the runs.

They’ve also closed fishing in the cool plume at the mouth of the Deschutes River, a thermal refuge where steelhead as well as salmon hunker to get out of the warmer Columbia.

The fact sheet says that the big river is running at 71 degrees, average over the past 10 years and down a degree since early August, and at about 116,000 cubic feet per second, or about 18,000 cfs lower than typical.

If there’s any good news, it’s that the forecast for unclipped/wild/natural-origin A- and B-run steelhead has dropped less sharply versus the preseason estimate, from 40,250 to 38,000, and that fall Chinook and coho returns so far at Bonneville Dam are “similar” and “consistent” with expectations.

The fact sheet states that king catches and release mortalities at Buoy 10 stayed within expectations during the keeper season, but staffers recommended that a planned nontreaty netting opener this week be rescinded because “it appears the majority of the URB sub-allocation planned preseason for August mainstem non-treaty commercial fisheries has been achieved” and managers did subsequently follow through on that.

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