Tag Archives: columbia river

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (6-19-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport June 10-16

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 5 anglers with 1 released adult Chinook and nothing else
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 1 angler with nothing
Vancouver bank:  17 anglers with nothing
Woodland bank:  36 anglers with nothing
Kalama bank: 17 anglers with 1 jack Chinook and nothing else
Longview bank: 171 anglers with 1 adult Chinook released, 14 steelhead kept and 3 steelhead released
Cathlamet bank: 11 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and nothing else
Private boats/bank: 15 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 1 steelhead released

Bonneville boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal boat: No report
I-5 area boat:  No report
Vancouver boat:  10 anglers with 7 adult Chinook released and 2 steelhead released
Woodland boat: No report
Kalama boat:  3 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview boat:  72 anglers with 3 adult Chinook released, 19 steelhead kept and 6 steelhead released
Cathlamet boat:  4 anglers with 8 steelhead kept
Private boats/bank:  5 anglers with 2 steelhead kept

THE BIG RUN OF SHAD CONTINUES, WITH NEARLY 5.7 MILLION OVER BONNEVILLE AS OF JUNE 18, AND 1.23 MILLION AT MCNARY DAM SO FAR. THE LATTER AREA IS WHERE RENEE MORTIMER AND HER DAD PAUL CAUGHT THIS TRIO, PLUS A WALLEYE EARLIER THIS MONTH. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Shad:

Bonneville bank: 272 anglers with 1,758 kept and 151 released
Bonneville boat: 9 anglers with 97 kept and 15 released
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 5 anglers with 3 kept
I-5 area bank: No report
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver bank: No report
Vancouver boat:  1 angler with nothing
Woodland bank: 1 angler with nothing
Woodland boat: 4 anglers with 5 kept
Kalama bank:  No report
Kalama boat:  No report
Cowlitz bank: No report
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview bank: 1 angler with nothing
Longview boat: 6 anglers with 14 kept

Sturgeon:

Bonneville bank: No report
Bonneville boat: 4 anglers with 2 sublegals released
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: No report
I-5 area bank: No report
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver bank: No report
Vancouver boat: 5 anglers with 20 sublegals released and 1 legal released
Woodland bank: No report
Woodland boat; No report
Kalama bank: No report
Kalama boat: No report
Cowlitz bank: No report
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview bank: No report
Longview boat: 7 anglers with 2 sublegals released, 2 legals released and 1 oversize released
Cathalmet bank: No report
Cathlamet boat: No report
Chinook/Elochoman bank: No report
Chinook/Elochoman boat: No report
Ilwaco bank: No report
Ilwaco boat: No report
Ilwaco charter: No report

almon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

During Saturday’s flight 58 salmonid boats and 122 Washington bank anglers were counted from Skamokawa upstream to the I-5 Bridge.

Shad:

Effort is holding steady with nearly 400 shad anglers counted on the Washington shore just below Bonneville Dam during Saturday’s flight (6/15).  Yesterday’s dam count (June 17) was just over 200,000 fish, which pushes the season total over 5.4 million to date.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 4 bank rods had no catch.  2 boats/4 rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br:  7 bank rods had no catch.  19 boats/65 rods kept 15 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.

Tacoma Power employees recovered 51 spring Chinook adults, 10 spring Chinook jacks, 15 mini jacks, and 36 summer-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released six spring Chinook adults and five spring Chinook jacks into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 130 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,940 cubic feet per second on Monday, June 17. Water visibility is 11 feet and the water temperature is 50 F.

Kalama River – 15 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 1 bank angler had no catch.  2 boats/3 rods had no catch.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 1 bank angler had no catch.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 1 bank angler had no catch.

 

  •      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/

Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (6-12-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport June 3-9

Salmon and steelhead:

Vancouver bank: 38 anglers with 1 adult Chinook released and 1 steelhead released
Woodland bank:  72 anglers with 1 adult Chinook released
Kalama bank:  33 anglers with zilch
Longview bank:  173 anglers with 1 adult Chinook released, 15 steelhead kept and 2 steelhead released
Cathlamet bank:  39 anglers with 1 Chinook jack kept and 3 steelhead kept
private boats/bank: 5 anglers with 1 steelhead kept

SHAD ARE NOW BEING CAUGHT WELL ABOVE BONNEVILLE DAM AND THE LOWER COLUMBIA. RENEE MORTIMER CAUGHT THIS ONE YESTERDAY ON THE MIDDLE RIVER WHILE FISHING WITH HER DAD AND TRI-CITIES ANGLER JERRY HAN. “WE FOUND THEM IN 14 TO 20 FEET OF WATER,” REPORTS HAN. “RUNNING SIZE 30 JET DIVERS 70 FEET BACK WITH 5 FEET OF 10-POUND LEADER TO A SILVER DICK NITE SPOON” WORKED WELL BEFORE DAM OPERATORS STOPPED SPILLING WATER OUT OF MCNARY AND THE BITE TURNED OFF. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

I-5 area boat: 1 angler with nothing
Vancouver boat:  5 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat:  4 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat:  No report
Longview boat:  19 anglers with 10 steelhead kept and 1 released
Cathlamet boat: 13 anglers with 11 steelhead kept and 2 released
private boats/bank:  2 anglers with 1 steelhead kept

Shad:

Bonneville bank: 215 anglers with 1,520 kept and 12 released
Bonneville boat:  15 anglers with 276 kept and 0 released
Camas/Washougal bank:  No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 4 anglers with 20 kept and 31 released
I-5 area bank: No report
I-5 area boat:  1 angler with 0 kept and 15 released
Vancouver bank:  3 anglers with a big zero
Vancouver boat:  9 anglers with 0 kept and 1 released
Woodland bank:  No report
Woodland boat:  No report
Kalama bank:  No report
Kalama boat:  21 anglers with 57 kept and 11 released
Cowlitz bank: No report
Cowlitz boat:  No report
Longview bank:  No report
Longview boat: 9 anglers with 57 kept and 0 released

Sturgeon:

Chinook/Elochoman bank: 69 anglers with 2 sublegals and 2 oversize released
Kalama boat: 5 anglers with 2 legals, 1 sublegal and 2 oversize released
Cathlamet boat:  35 anglers with 19 sublegals and 6 oversize released
Chinook/Elochoman boat:  458 anglers with 105 legals kept, and 135 sublegals and 238 oversize released
Ilwaco boat:  132 anglers with 20 legals kept and 13 sublegals and 41 oversize released
Charter boats: 118 anglers with 54 legals kept and 42 sublegals and 280 oversize released

Columbia River Tributaries

Salmon/Steelhead:

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

Bank and boat anglers are catching steelhead from Longview downstream to Cathlamet.

Shad:

On the Washington shore over 850 bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam were counted on last Saturday’s flight.  Yesterday’s (June 10) dam count was close to 355,000 which brings the season total up to nearly 3.9 million to date.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River– 6 bank anglers kept 3 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 15 bank rods kept 2 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  8 bank rods released 1 steelhead.  18 boats/46 rods kept 17 steelhead.

Tacoma Power employees recovered 49 spring Chinook adults, 10 spring Chinook jacks, 22 summer-run steelhead adults, two winter-run steelhead adults, and one cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released eight spring Chinook adults and five spring Chinook jacks into Lake Scanewa located in Randle and they released one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River in Morton.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 96 summer-run steelhead to the lower river.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,960 cubic feet per second on Monday, June 10. Water visibility is 11 feet and the water temperature is 50 F.

Kalama River 44 bank anglers kept 2 Chinook, 2 steelhead and released 2 steelhead.  1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Lewis River – 2 bank anglers had no catch.  3 boats/4 rods kept 1 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 3 bank anglers kept 1 Chinook jack.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 8 bank anglers had no catch.  1 boat/2 rods released 2 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/

Bonneville Shad Count Skyrocketing; Will It Top 2018’s Record 6.1 Million?

Updated: 8:45 a.m., June 7, 2019 with more comments from the Army Corps of Engineers

A record set just last year at Bonneville could soon be broken as the Columbia River’s shad count has surged to highs never seen so early.

Through Thursday, June 5, a whopping 2,875,519 have been tallied at the dam, with 86 percent of those fish — 2.5 million — coming in just the past seven days, a meteoric rise captured by a Fish Passage Center graph.

A FISH PASSAGE GRAPH SHOWS HOW QUICKLY THE 2019 SHAD RUN AT BONNEVILLE DAM RAMPED UP (RED LINE) VERSUS LAST YEAR’S RECORD RUN (BLUE LINE) AND THE 10-YEAR AVERAGE. (FPC)

The run so far has already topped the 10-year average overall return, hit 2.5 million fish four days faster than the next closest run, and set a new best seven-day count ever.

One observer thinks that 2018’s high mark of 6.1 million could be exceeded by 5 million, give or take, at this pace.

However, it’s also early and unclear if the 2019 return will exhibit the multiple peaks across much of June that other years’ returns have. If it doesn’t, this rocket could fall short.

This morning Jeffrey Henon, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District, says the contractor that performs the fish counts for federal dam operators was asked to double check the numbers.

He said that 250,000 shad is the daily capacity of a “crowder” device at the fish-counting station, and counts above that can diminish the accuracy.

In June 2017, what at first appeared to be a 497,000-fish day was revised to 247,366 after a “a technical glitch in (the Corps’) count recording system” was corrected for.

But a short while later Henon called back to say the review had been finished.

“Bottom line, the numbers are accurate,” Henon said.

A CHART SHOWS ALL THE YEARS SINCE 1938 THAT THE SHAD COUNT AT BONNEVILLE HAS EXCEEDED 2.5 MILLION, THE DATE THAT MARK WAS FIRST HIT, EACH RUN’S TOP SEVEN-DAY STRETCH AND THE FINAL RUN SIZE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

It also represents good news for the fishermen who gather on the bank below Bonneville to drift shad darts along bottom, or anchor on seams below there and well downriver to run Dick Nites and other small spoons behind lead droppers.

The bony fish are played for sport and quite a few are taken home to be canned or used for sturgeon or crab bait.

In his outdoor report yesterday, Terry Otto at The Columbian in Vancouver noted that 1,730 were kept last weekend by 212 anglers on the Washington bank in the gorge, with fish also being caught in the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day Pools.

Nearly 180,000 are already above McNary Dam, over 5,000 are above Ice Harbor on the Snake.

According to the 2019 WDFW and ODFW joint staff report for Columbia spring and summer fisheries, last year’s sport kept catch of 250,000 shad below Bonneville was the highest on record. With low market demand, commercial fisheries are minimal.

Washington anglers won’t need a license to fish for them this Saturday and Sunday as it’s Free Fishing Weekend. There is no size, daily or possession limit on shad.

SHAD SWIM PAST A WINDOW AT BONNEVILLE DAM. (ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS)

Not much is known about the Columbia’s shad or where they go in the Pacific, much less why their returns are surging.

“I don’t have a great answer for that, and I’m not sure anyone does,” says ODFW’s Tucker Jones, who manages the big river for Oregon.

While he and much of the rest of Northwest anglerdom would probably prefer to see daily Chinook, coho, sockeye and steelhead counts as astronomical as those we’re seeing with shad, the nonnative species that feeds on plankton throughout its anadromous lifecycle may be benefiting in part from warmer waters and ocean conditions that negatively impacted salmonids.

While 2004’s and 2005’s big shad runs occurred in years that also saw high overall Chinook returns, that coincidence didn’t repeat last year nor is it expected to this year.

Jones says there’s no research backing this up, but it’s possible that young shad and young salmon could be competing for the same forage in the Columbia and ocean before Chinook and coho switch to a different diet as they grow larger.

LOWER COLUMBIA SHAD COLLECT IN A COOLER DURING A PAST RUN. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Per a species profile put together by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, from 10 million to 20 million shad may annually actually enter the Columbia, with most spawning below Bonneville, meaning the dam count reflects a fraction of the overall run.

Shad can also bypass the counting windows by going through the locks.

Even if no other shad crossed the dam this year, 2019 would still go down as 10th best since shad began to be tallied in 1946, primarily on the strength of the last seven days, which includes the third best one-day count.

While Wednesday’s 412,448 shad was nothing to shake a stick at, the largest daily passages on record occurred on June 5 and 6, 2003, when 504,724 and then 520,664 were tallied.

How high will this year’s run go? Stay tuned.

ELLIE, BOO BOO AND McKENNA SHOW OFF A PAIR OF COLUMBIA RIVER SHAD CAUGHT SEVERAL SEASONS AGO NEAR KALAMA. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Where Barbed Hooks Are, Aren’t Now Allowed For Salmon, Steelhead On Washington’s Columbia System

Updated 3:10 p.m., May 31, 2019 with ODFW press release announcing Columbia hook rule change at bottom

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

Anglers on a large portion of the Columbia River and many of its tributaries will no longer be required to use barbless hooks when fishing for salmon and steelhead beginning June 1.

In March, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission directed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to make the use of barbless hooks voluntary for salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Due to Endangered Species Act permitting with NOAA, WDFW is unable to fully lift restrictions on barbed hooks in some areas at this time, including tributaries upstream of McNary Dam, including the Snake River.

Still, barbless hook requirements on salmon and steelhead fishing are being lifted across a broad swath of Washington waters, including the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Chief Joseph Dam, and Columbia River tributaries from Buoy 10 to McNary Dam. Anglers fishing for sturgeon are still required to use barbless hooks.

The restriction on barbed hooks for salmon and steelhead will lift June 1 on the following waters:

A) Barbed hooks allowed for salmon and steelhead:

  1. Blue Creek (Lewis County), from the mouth to Spencer Road
  2. Cispus River (Lewis County)
  3. Columbia River, from a true north/south line through Buoy 10 to Chief Joseph Dam
  4. Coweeman River and tributaries (Cowlitz County)
  5. Cowlitz Falls Reservoir (Lake Scanewa) (Lewis County)
  6. Cowlitz River (Cowlitz County); Barbed hooks are also allowed for cutthroat trout in the Cowlitz River
  7. Drano Lake (Skamania County)
  8. Elochoman River (Wahkiakum County)
  9. Grays River (Wahkiakum County)
  10. Grays River, West Fork (Wahkiakum County)
  11. Kalama River (Cowlitz County)
  12. Klickitat River (Klickitat County)
  13. Lewis River (Clark County)
  14. Rock Creek (Skamania County)
  15. Tilton River (Lewis County)
  16. Toutle River (Cowlitz County)
  17. Toutle River, North Fork (Cowlitz County)
  18. Washougal River (Clark County)
  19. Washougal River, West (North) Fork (Clark/Skamania counties)
  20. White Salmon River (Klickitat/Skamania counties)

B) Selective gear rules still in effect; barbed hooks now allowed:

  1. Abernathy Creek and tributaries (Cowlitz County)
  2. Cedar Creek and tributaries (tributary of N.F. Lewis) (Clark County)
  3. Coal Creek (Cowlitz County)
  4. Delameter Creek (Cowlitz County)
  5. Germany Creek (Cowlitz County) and all tributaries.
  6. Grays River (Wahkiakum County)
  7. Grays River, East Fork (Wahkiakum County)
  8. Grays River, South Fork (Wahkiakum County)
  9. Grays River, West Fork tributaries (Wahkiakum County)
  10. Green River (Cowlitz County)
  11. Hamilton Creek (Skamania County)
  12. Kalama River (Cowlitz County): From 1,000 feet above fishway at upper salmon hatchery to Summers Creek and from the intersection of 6000 and 6420 roads to 6600 Road bridge immediately downstream of Jacks Creek.
  13. Lacamas Creek (Clark County): From mouth to footbridge at lower falls.
  14. Lacamas Creek, tributary of Cowlitz River (Lewis County)
  15. Lewis River, East Fork (Clark/Skamania counties): From mouth to 400 feet below Horseshoe Falls.
  16. Little Washougal River (Clark County)
  17. Mill Creek (Cowlitz County)
  18. Mill Creek (Lewis County): From the mouth to the hatchery road crossing culvert.
  19. Olequa Creek (Lewis/Cowlitz counties)
  20. Outlet Creek (Silver Lake) (Cowlitz County)
  21. Salmon Creek (Clark County): From the mouth to 182nd Avenue Bridge.
  22. Salmon Creek (Lewis County)
  23. Skamokawa Creek (Wahkiakum County)
  24. Stillwater Creek (Lewis County)
  25. Swift Reservoir (Skamania County): From the posted markers approximately 3/8 mile below Eagle Cliff Bridge to the bridge; from the Saturday before Memorial Day through July 15.
  26. Toutle River, North Fork (Cowlitz County):  From the mouth to the posted deadline below the fish collection facility.
  27. Wind River (Skamania County): from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls to Moore Bridge.
  28. White Salmon River (Klickitat/Skamania counties): From the county road bridge below the former location of the powerhouse upstream to Big Brother Falls (river mile 16).

C) Fly fishing only rules still in effect; barbed hooks now allowed:

  1. Kalama River (Cowlitz County): From Summers Creek to the intersection of 6000 and 6420 roads.

This rule will be reflected in the new Washington Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet on July 1, 2019. Anglers are reminded to check the pamphlet for additional regulations and to learn more about selective gear and fly fishing rules. Anglers can also download the Fish Washington mobile app to see up-to-date regulations around the state. Visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/app to learn more.

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

ODFW today adopted temporary rules to allow anglers to use barbed hooks when fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout in the Columbia River beginning Saturday, June 1.

ODFW adopted the rule so Oregon’s fishing regulations will remain concurrent with Washington in the jointly-managed Columbia River. The temporary rule will remain in effect until further notice or until it expires in late November. For it to become a permanent rule, the Fish and Wildlife Commission will need to approve a rule change, which Commissioners are expected to consider at a future meeting.

Anglers have been required to use barbless hooks when fishing for salmon, steelhead, and trout in the Columbia River since 2013. In March, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a recommendation to make the use of barbless hooks voluntary, and Washington Fish and Wildlife implemented the rule to begin June 1.

Rules requiring the use of single-point barbless hooks when fishing for sturgeon in the Columbia River remain in effect for anglers in both states. 

For the latest on Columbia River fishing regulations visit https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone

Columbia Springer Run Downgraded To 75,000

File this one under Unsurprising News, but the Columbia upriver spring Chinook forecast has been cut by a quarter as the return begins to flag.

The U.S. vs OR Technical Advisory Committee, also known as TAC, yesterday estimated that only 75,000 adult kings will return to the mouth of the big river this spring, down from the preseason prediction of 99,300.

A FISH PASSAGE CENTER GRAPH SHOWS THE 2019 UPRIVER SPRING CHINOOK RUN AT BONNEVILLE DAM (RED LINE) COMPARED TO 2018 (BLUE LINE) AND THE 10-YEAR AVERAGE (BLACK). (FPC)

If it comes to pass, it would be the fewest springers since 1999’s 43,067.

As it has become apparent this year’s run won’t meet predictions — the count at Bonneville Dam through yesterday is 46,653, more than 80,000 fewer than the 10-year average — managers throughout the watershed tightened the clamps on this year’s fisheries even more, closing waters or announcing they wouldn’t open for angling.

Idaho scrubbed the two-day-a-week Clearwater River fishery because it didn’t look like enough salmon would return to meet broodstock needs and Washington helped out by cancelling the weekends-only opener at Clarkston on the Snake and later today at Little Goose Dam.

Oregon stated that its Snake, as well as the Wallowa and Imnaha Rivers and Lookingglass Creek also would not open, then WDFW put out an e-reg shutting down the popular Wind River and Drano Lake fisheries after this past Sunday to collect broodstock for hatcheries elsewhere, such as Leavenworth, an important facility powering sport and tribal fisheries on Icicle Creek.

While the Lower Columbia fishery saw three weekend-only extensions after its April 10 last scheduled day, the overall 1,471 upriver Chinook kept plus release mortalities accrued through the season between Warrior Rock and Bonneville should be covered by the run.

In a fact sheet out a couple weeks ago when managers mulled an April 27-28 opener said that a runsize of 53,300 would cover up to 1,691 mortalities.

The Columbia below Warrior Rock down to Buoy 10 was kept closed this year to protect weak returns of Cowlitz and Lewis springers. Hatcheries on those two systems need 1,337 and 1,380 fish to meet goals and as of last Tuesday, 416 and 421 had returned.

A total of 4,700 are needed for Idaho’s Clearwater system and analysis of passive integrated transponders placed in a portion of the run show that 3,500 had been counted at Bonneville as of last week.

A SPRING CHINOOK COMES ABOARD A BOAT FISHING AT THE MOUTH OF THE WIND RIVER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The Willamette Falls springer count of 11,922 through May 16 is about 4,500 fish fewer than the 10-year average for the date but still much better than 2017’s 4,156.

As for this year’s new May lower Skagit Chinook sport fishery, only an estimated 22 had been caught through the 12th, though a better gauge of the run might be hatchery return.

If there is any bright spot to this year’s poor Columbia springer run, it might be that if this is the bottom of the salmon stock’s up-and-down cycle, it’s a whole lot better than the last big crash.

Only 24,095 and 12,792 entered the big river in 1994 and 1995, an era when there was no directed fishery on above-Bonneville-bound fish in the lower river.

Since that time, state, tribal and federal dollars have been poured into hatcheries, habitat and passage improvements, notes WDFW’s Ryan Lothrop.

The numbers of jacks — a potential indication for future runs — this year isn’t great, but it’s better than any time during the 1990s and during a downturn in the middle of this millennium’s first decade too.

SW WA Tribs, Columbia Estuary Sturgeon Fishing Reports (5-15-19)

THE FOLLOWING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River– 6 bank anglers kept 3 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 16 bank rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br:  3 bank rods had no catch.  5 boats/10 rods had no catch.

JULIE McCLELLAN-JOHNSON SHOWS OFF A 45.5-INCH FORK LENGTH STURGEON SHE KEPT ON MONDAY’S COLUMBIA ESTUARY OPENER. (MD JOHNSON)

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 49 winter-run steelhead adults, one winter-run steelhead jack, 140 spring Chinook adults, four spring Chinook jacks and 20 summer-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released eight winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 22 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack and six winter-run steelhead adults into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

Tacoma Power employees recycled 20 summer-run steelhead this week.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,970 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 13. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 51.1 F.

Kalama River – 42 bank anglers kept 2 Chinook.  5 boats/13 rods kept 1 Chinook.

The hatchery spring Chinook escapement goal is about 500 adults. Return as of May 14 is 223 adults including 9 natural origin.

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

The hatchery spring Chinook escapement goal is about 1,350 adults. Return as of May 14 is 404 adults including 7 natural origin.

Wind River– 2 bank anglers had no catch.  107 boats/311 rods kept 68 Chinook, 3 jacks and released 1 Chinook and 1 steelhead.

The Carson National Fish Hatchery fish ladder was opened May 3 and 34 spring Chinook have returned. The hatchery escapement goal is 1,500 fish.

Drano Lake – 4 bank rods had no catch.  140 boats/423 rods kept 68 Chinook and released 2 Chinook.

Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery fish ladder was opened on April 29 and 660 spring Chinook have returned.  The hatchery escapement goal is 1,000 fish.

Klickitat – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Through May 10, a total of 15 spring Chinook adults including 1 natural origin have been counted at the Lyle Falls trap. The hatchery escapement goal is 1,100 fish.

  •  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/

DFWs To Talk Proposed Sturgeon Reg Changes For Gorge Pools, Reach, Snake

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

State fish managers are hosting a series of public meetings in May and June to discuss sturgeon fishing regulations in Washington.

DAVID KASPER BATTLES ONE OF A NUMBER OF STURGEON HE AND TWO FRIENDS HOOKED IN THE SWIRLING CURRENTS BELOW MCNARY DAM EARLIER THIS MONTH, WATERS THAT COULD SEE NEW RULES TO PROTECT SPAWNERS. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) have scheduled public meetings at the following locations:

* The Dalles, Oregon: 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 22, at the ODFW screen shop, 3561 Klindt Dr., The Dalles.

* Kennewick: 6 to 8 p.m, Tuesday, June 11, at the Benton PUD building, 2721 W. 10th Ave., Kennewick.

*Hermiston, Oregon: 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 12, at the Hermiston Community Center, 415 S. Hwy 395, Hermiston.

An additional meeting in Montesano will also be announced at a later date.

Among the topics of discussion are possible rule changes meant to improve conservation efforts and increase the abundance and survival of mature spawning-size sturgeon.

The proposed regulations are also part of WDFW’s ongoing efforts to simplify fishing rules.

“In the past several years, the agency has been moving toward rule simplification as one of the primary objectives of our regulations,” said Laura Heironimus, sturgeon unit lead with WDFW. “This effort, combined with recent biological information, offered an opportunity to take a fresh look at sturgeon regulations around the state.”

Discussion topics and management recommendations include:

* Extending the dates of all sturgeon spawning sanctuaries in the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to Priest Rapids Dam, and in the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam, through Aug. 31. Most of these spawning sanctuaries are currently in effect from May 1 through July 31.

* Extending the area of the spawning sanctuaries on the Columbia River below McNary and Priest Rapids dams.

* Closing sturgeon retention fishing within McNary Reservoir, inclusive of the lower Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam and the Hanford Reach below Priest Rapids Dam, due to a lack of population monitoring information.

In addition to input received at public meetings, WDFW will collect comments online and by mail. A webpage to collect public comments will be available soon. Following the public comment period, fish managers expect to brief the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in October on the resulting proposed regulations.

IDFG Halts Clearwater Springer Fishery; WDFW Closes Clarkston Area Of Snake

Editor’s note: Updated 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Idaho salmon managers are closing the two-day-a-week spring Chinook fishery on the Clearwater system because not enough fish are returning to cover eggtake needs, and Washington followed suit in the Clarkston area.

A FISH PASSAGE CENTER GRAPH SHOWS THE 2019 SPRING CHINOOK RUN AT BONNEVILLE DAM (RED LINE) SO FAR. BLUE LINE IS 2018 AND BLACK LINE IS THE 10-YEAR AVERAGE. OVER THE PAST DECADE, AN AVERAGE OF 111,686 SPRINGERS HAVE BEEN COUNTED AT THE DAM AS OF MAY 13, BUT THIS YEAR’S TALLY IS JUST 38,415. (FPC)

IDFG says it’s possible that the season could reopen later in May depending on dam counts, but returns at Bonneville took a downturn the past seven days after reaching a high of 4,807 last Tuesday.

So far, only 38,415 springers have been tallied at the first blockage of the Columbia, just 35 percent of the 10-year average.

“Based on the number of PIT tagged fish passing over Bonneville Dam, fisheries managers are projecting that not enough Chinook will return to hatcheries in the Clearwater River basin to meet brood needs. However, dam counts and PIT tag detections have been fluctuating and there’s some uncertainty to the actual size of the run,” IDFG said in a press release out today.

The agency said that typically by May 22 four-fifths of the Clearwater run should have gone over the dam and by then officials should know if enough are returning to reopen the season.

“Currently, the number of fish returning to Rapid River Hatchery is projected to be high enough for the fisheries to remain open in the lower Salmon River and Little Salmon River,” IDFG states.

Eric Barker of the Lewiston Morning Tribune broke the news that WDFW was also considering closing the Clarkston area of Washington’s Snake, and that has come to pass.

“This section of the Snake River is adjacent to the Clearwater River. Spring chinook salmon returns to the Clearwater are lower than preseason estimates, and this closure is necessary to protect hatchery brood stock within the Clearwater,” the agency said in an emergency rule-change notice.

That part of the river has only been open one weekend so far.

The waters near Little Goose Dam remain open, per the e-reg,

Last week, Oregon and Washington salmon managers granted two more days of fishing in Columbia Gorge pools up to the state line, but at the urging of anglers, guides and upstream tribes did not add any more time on the lower river.

They planned to provide an update on the run tomorrow.

2 More Days Of Springer Fishing Approved Above Bonneville

Columbia salmon managers OKed a two-day spring Chinook opener for the gorge pools upstream to the Washington-Oregon border this weekend.

While ODFW’s Tucker Jones expressed confidence given yesterday’s big 4,807-fish jump at Bonneville that the lower river could have also been opened, there was no support for it among the recreational advisors, guides and members of the public during a conference call this afternoon.

A GUIDE REACHES FOR A SPRING CHINOOK AT WIND RIVER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Upriver tribes also expressed concern about potential high catch rates that fishery might have and that a federal hatchery in Leavenworth was only expected to get half the broodstock it needed.

Jones’ WDFW counterpart Bill Tweit said he was hopeful for additional opportunity below the dam too, but was less optimistic about the run, which at 25,073 is the second lowest in the last 10 years and just 28 percent of the 10-year average.

A technical committee says it’s still too early to provide a reliable runsize update; the forecast was for 99,300.

Downriver test fishing this week saw Chinook catches drop compared to the previous week too.

With anglers expected to land about 113 springers a day, Jones and Tweit approved a Saturday-Sunday fishery on the Columbia from the Tower Island powerlines below The Dalles Dam upstream to the state line, plus bank fishing from Bonneville to the powerlines.

It had been proposed by state staffers as a Saturday -Monday opener, but Tweit was nervous about how close that would bring the catch to the 492-fish quota and suggested two days instead, which Jones agreed with.

He anticipates the run will come in strong enough to cover fisheries so far and Tweit noted that every day’s dam counts provided crucial information on the return.

It’s likely that a fact sheet will come out next Wednesday to just update the run size and gorge pools’ catches.

Under the preseason forecast and 30 percent buffer, the lower river quota of above-Bonneville springer mortalities is 3,689, of which 40 percent or 1,471 have been taken during the March, early April and three weekend openers.

Southwest Washington Fishing Report (5-7-19)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS WERE TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River– 1 bank angler released 1 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 26 bank rods kept 3 steelhead.  1 boat/ 4 rods released 1 Chinook.

SKYLER BRODERS OF ST. HELENS SHOWS OFF A DRANO LAKE SPRING CHINOOK, HIS FIRST SALMON EVER. HE WAS TROLLING A BRINED HERRING WHILE FISHING WITH HIS COUSIN TROY BRODERS. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Above the I-5 Br:  14 bank rods had no catch.  5 boats/13 rods had no catch.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 161 winter-run steelhead adults, two winter-run steelhead jacks, 118 spring Chinook adults, five spring Chinook jacks and one cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 17 winter-run steelhead adults and one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 22 winter-run steelhead adults, 17 spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,990 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 6. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 50.0 F.

Kalama River – 67 bank anglers released 4 Chinook and 3 steelhead.  13 boats/23 rods kept 1 Chinook jack and released 7 steelhead.

Lewis River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

Wind River– 65 boats/172 rods kept 46 Chinook and released 2 Chinook.

Drano Lake – 20 bank rods had no catch.  215 boats/594 rods kept 148 Chinook and released 12 Chinook.

Klickitat – No report.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Trout:  

No report on angling success.

Catchable Trout Plants:  

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

Battle Ground (CLARK)          April 24, 2019 Cutthroat    3,000 2.50 Skamania

Klineline  (CLARK)              April 24, 2019 Cutthroat       2,110 2.50 Skamania

Horseshoe (COWLITZ)           April 22, 2019 Rainbow    3,000 2.13 Goldendale

Sacajawea (COWLITZ)           April 26, 2019 Rainbow    3,360 2.80 Mossyrock

Carlise (LEWIS)                       April 16, 2019 Rainbow 10,000         2.00

Mineral (LEWIS)                     April 23, 2019 Rainbow 2,875           2.50 Mossyrock

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/