Tag Archives: fall chinook

Elk River Fall Chinook Snaggers Busted

The OSP pilot was looking for poachers spotlighting big game in the hills of Oregon’s South Coast that November night but instead discovered the flashlights of those busy poaching big Chinook in a popular river.

The incident occurred in a closed area of the Elk during combined aerial and ground patrols in Coos and Curry Counties, and during a low return that saw a reduced bag limit on wild fall kings for most coastal streams.

(OSP)

According to the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division’s latest monthly report, after the pilot spotted flashlights on the beach at the mouth of the famed salmon river around 10 p.m. that evening, troopers in trucks moved in to check things out.

As officers attempted to stop a truck leaving the beach, a passenger jumped out and ran off, but was found nearby in the brush when backup arrived.

Meanwhile, troopers detained three others inside the truck, and in the bed of the rig they found nine fresh Chinook. Also located were six rods and a night vision scope.

According to OSP, three of the four admitted that they’d been fishing for half an hour that evening.

(OSP)

It was reported that one, a female, was taken into custody by her parole officer and lodged in the Curry County lockup.

She and two others were all cited for fishing in a prohibited area and during closed hours, snagging, unlawfully possessing game fish, and fishing without a license and without a combined angling tag.

A charge of interfering with officers against the runner was also to be forwarded to county prosecutors.

OSP reports that all of the fish were also seized and donated.

Other cases detailed in the always-interesting — and often infuriating — monthly report of the state police’s Fish and Wildlife Division include details on numerous illegally taken bucks and bulls; the seizure in Burns of the heads of two big game animals taken in Montana — a CWD state — and which still had brain tissue in them; decoy operations; and a bozo who “heard turkeys taste bad and wanted to give them a try,” so using the roof of his car as a rifle rest, he took 10 to 20 shots at a flock in the yard of some residents who were justifiably alarmed because the birds happened to also be near their propane tanks.

More 2020 Columbia Salmon Forecasts, Outlooks Posted; Sockeye A Brighter Spot

Columbia salmon managers are rolling out more 2020 forecasts and sockeye might be a bright spot next year.

Nearly a quarter million sockeye are expected to return to the big river, with just under 202,000 of those headed for the relatively cool Brewster Pool before departing up the Okanogan/Okanagan.

TYLER FLETCHER SHOWS OFF A PAIR OF SOCKEYE CAUGHT AT WELLS DAM DURING 2014’S FISHERY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

While forecasters are still dialing in their sockeye prognostication skills, it would be a significant uptick over 2019’s return of 63,222 against a forecast of 94,400. It would also be the eighth largest run since 1980, though still only a third of 2014’s record year.

Lake Wenatchee sockeye anglers could also see a significant bump from this year’s actual return of just 7,900; the prediction calls for 39,400.

As for all-important Columbia spring Chinook, the 2020 forecasts leave as much to be desired as last week’s news of very low predictions for the Cowlitz, Kalama, Wind, Drano, etc.

Managers expect 81,700 upper Columbia and Snake springers, which is about 10,000 more than actually returned in 2019 but also 17,600 less than were forecast.

Along with the annual 30 percent buffer to protect against overforecasting, this spring’s mainstem fishery was constrained by very low returns to the Cowlitz and Lewis, which led to a closure of the Columbia below Warrior Rock to protect springers headed to those two tributaries. Returns to both are again expected to be low.

The Willamette spring Chinook forecast is for 40,800, up a bit from this year’s forecast which didn’t pan out, with only 27,292 back.

The overall forecast of 135,800 springers to the mouth of the Columbia is the fewest back to 1999.

The Columbia summer Chinook forecast is slightly better than last year, with 38,300 expected, roughly 2,000 more than were forecast in 2019 but which also led to no opportunities to target them until later in the season and only in the upper river above Wenatchee.

Anglers are increasingly skeptical of the forecasts, but managers continue to point to very poor ocean conditions as having a strong influence on numbers of returning salmon.  The Blob is back in the North Pacific, maybe not as strong as 2014 and 2015, but still likely impacting prey and marine habitat of kings, sockeye, coho and other stocks.

Managers also put out preliminary word on fall Chinook and coho expectations, and how 2019 shaped up:

2019 Preliminary Returns
• Adult fall Chinook return was predicted to be 349,600 fish.
• Preliminary return is slightly above the forecast.
• Bright jack return appears to be improved over 2018. Tule jack return appears to be slightly improved over 2018.

2020 Outlook
• Bright stocks should be similar to the 2019 preliminary return.
• Tule stocks should be similar to the 2019 preliminary return.
• Ocean conditions between 2015 and 2019 were among the worst observed during the last 21 years and are likely continuing to have a strong influence on the fall Chinook return in 2020.

Columbia River Coho
• 2019 preliminary return is about 30% of the preseason forecast of 611,300.
• Coho jack return to the Columbia River is less than 50% of the recent three-year average.

Tule Chinook power ocean seasons, upriver brights the inriver fisheries. In the Columbia’s Hanford Reach, 30,678 angler trips yielded a catch of 11,820 adult kings, an improvement of more then 3,100 fish over 2018, according to biologist Paul Hoffarth.

The release of the 2020 forecasts and outlooks mark the start of determining how many, if any, fish are available for harvest in the ocean and rivers and setting seasons at North of Falcon later in winter.

18 WDFW Fish, Wildlife, Recreation Acquisition Proposals Out For Comment

Washington land managers have their eyes on nearly 7,000 acres across the state for fish and wildlife habitat, angling, hunting and other recreational uses and are asking for comment on them.

The 18 proposals range from padding wildlife areas and purchasing inholdings in Eastern Washington to conserving and restoring Puget Sound estuaries to strategic partnerships with counties and improved access to salmon streams.

ATTENDEES AT THE DEDICATION OF THE 4-O RANCH UNIT OF THE CHIEF JOSEPH WILDLIFE AREA IN MAY 2017 LOOK TOWARDS A 770-ACRE PARCEL OWNED BY THE 4-0 CATTLE COMPANY THAT WDFW WOULD NOW LIKE TO PURCHASE. OWNERS TYPICALLY APPROACH THE STATE ABOUT BUYING THEIR LAND; WDFW WHICH IS REQUIRED TO ONLY PAY MARKET VALUE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“Our goal is to protect land and water for people and wildlife throughout the state while preserving natural and cultural heritage,” said WDFW lands manager Cynthia Wilkerson in a press release.

They’re all far from done deals. Public input over the next three weeks will help determine which will move forward to be competitively ranked against other agencies’, cities’, counties’ and organizations’ proposals. Funding would be sought through state and federal grants for recreation, habitat and endangered species.

WDFW’s 2020 wish list is more than twice as long as last year’s and it’s notable for several proposals.

A 420-acre property in the lower Methow valley would not only protect “crucial sagebrush steppe habitat” for mule deer and other species, but help “(cultivate) a critical partnership with Okanogan County.”

That county is one of the last best places to do big things in terms of wildlife habitat, but local commissioners and residents have also bristled about state land buys and their impacts to tax rolls.

Buying the ground on top of a bench above the tiny town of Methow would allow WDFW to “partner with the county and facilitate their access to additional rock sources for public works projects.”

The project has the support of Okanogan County, the agency notes.

(WDFW)

Other big acquisitions include a quartet in extreme Southeast Washington.

The largest is 1,650 acres on Harlow Ridge, which includes a series of flats and timbered draws between upper South Fork Asotin and George Creeks west of Anatone.

Adjacent to the Asotin Creek Wildlife Area, it would protect elk winter range and calving areas, as well as “rare and imperiled remnant prairie habitats and endemic plants.”

“Department staff have been responding to elk damage in the Cloverland area and the purchase of this property would help to alleviate damage issues by providing alternate forage,” WDFW adds.

It has support from the Asotin County Sportsmen’s Association and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The 643-acre Green Gulch buy would link sections of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area on the west side of the divide between Hells Canyon and Joseph Creek, “providing connectivity for mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk and other species” and “a great deal of recreational opportunity such as, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and bird watching.”

RMEF, the sportsmen’s association and the Asotin County Lands Committee all support it.

The pro-hunting and -elk organization also gives the thumbs up to adding another 770 acres to the spectacular 4-O Wildlife Area, purchased in chunks earlier this decade from rancher Mike Odom. If approved it would bring the unit along and above the Grande Ronde River to 11,234 acres, or 17.5 square miles.

A bit further west is a 720-acre patch that butts up against the Umatilla National Forest and which WDFW would like to add to the Grouse Flats Wildlife Area.

“The property is heavily used by elk, deer, bears, cougars, and wolves with many non-game species present. Numerous springs, wetlands, and Bear Creek on the property will continue to provide quality riparian habitat that should improve over time in public ownership,” WDFW states.

Recent pics from a site evaluation show it might need some cleaning up. RMEF supports the buy.

(WDFW)

In Yakima County is a 1,105-acre parcel on the west side of Wenas Lake that WDFW is looking at for as a habitat conservation easement and Wenas Wildlife Area headquarters.

It’s supported by birders and a conservancy.

In Grays Harbor, the agency would like to add as much as 416 acres in three parcels to the Davis Creek Wildlife Area, a former dairy farm, along the Chehalis River just downstream of Oakville. It has support from Ducks Unlimited and would protect the floodplain.

WDFW would also like to resecure access to popular Chapman Lake in western Spokane County following the closure of a resort with the only launch in 2011, as well as acqiure surrounding uplands. The lake is noted for kokanee and largemouth fishing, and the parklike lands and ponds above it look gamey.

“The intent is to purchase road access and a small lakefront footprint with exsisting grant funds and pursue funding for a land exchange or purchase of the remaining property in this section,” the agency explains.

Supporters include county commissioners and at least one local fly fishing club.

Another key access proposal is on the lower Samish River, up which plentiful hatchery fall Chinook return but getting to them can be difficult. Last year, anglers built a freelance boardwalk out of pallets to get to good spots — but which were also laid down on private land and had to be removed.

(WDFW)

Buying the 109-acre property “will contribute significantly to improving fishing access that is in high demand,” according to WDFW.

A levee does bisect the land and is marked with signs barring access, so conversations would need to occur with the local diking district, according to Skagit Wildlife Manager Belinda Rotton.

Still, she’s excited about the proposal, as it could help expand waterfowl hunting opportunities and access to harvestable salmon.

“When we heard it was available, ‘Oh my goodness,’ this will be a good property for us,” she said.

Skagit County supports the proposal.

Other proposals target the Union River and Discovery Bay estuaries, land surrounding a holding pool for summer steelhead on the East Fork Lewis River, a Skamania County bat cave, a 50-acre addition to the Ebey Island Wildlife Area, 2.5 acres around the Modrow Bridge launch on the Kalama, an acre at the old Peshastin Mill for a parking lot for a trail, and inholdings or parcels adjacent to the Rendezvous Wildlife Area of the upper Methow Valley and Quincy Lakes Wildlife Area west of Ephrata.

Following public review, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind would sign off on a list of projects for seeking funding. Typical sources include the state Capital Budget disbursed through the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office and from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s various granting mechanisms, including for endangered species.

WDFW owns and/or manages more than a million acres across Washington for fish, wildlife and recreation.

Comments are being taken from today till Jan. 3. Send them via email to lands@dfw.wa.gov or via the Post Office to Real Estate Services, PO Box 43158, Olympia, WA 98504.

Southern Oregon Rains Prompt Reopening Of Chetco, 3 Other Rivers

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

Beginning December 7, low flow angling closures are lifted on the Sixes, Elk, Chetco, and Winchuck rivers.

JEFF HUTTON OF COSTA RICA HOLDS A CHETCO RIVER CHINOOK CAUGHT WITH GUIDE ANDY MARTIN OF WILD RIVERS FISHING. THE FISH HIT A T50 FLATFISH WITH A SARDINE WRAP FISHED WITH A WRIGHT & MCGILL STORMY SKIES SALMON ROD. (WILD RIVERS FISHING)

River conditions improved after recent storms, allowing fall chinook to migrate throughout the mainstems of these rivers after one of the driest Novembers on record in the South Coast.

Closure boundaries were suggested by anglers who attended public meetings this past spring and who overwhelmingly supported low flow closures in October and November knowing those would be lifted once water levels rose.

A USGS MAP SHOWS RIVER FLOWS ACROSS OREGON MUCH LOWER THAN USUAL, THOUGH STORMS IMPROVED CONDITIONS ON THE SOUTH COAST, ALLOWING FOR THE CANCELLATION OF LOW-FLOW CLOSURES. (USGS)

Gold Beach District Fish Biologist Steve Mazur said current temporary zone harvest limit reductions for wild chinook have not been removed. The Pistol River and Hunter and Floras creeks remain closed.

“Even though we are lifting these low water closures, current zone regulations, some adopted through the Rogue Fall Chinook Conservation planning process, are in place to protect fall chinook spawning areas,” Mazur said.

The temporary fall chinook bag limit reductions remain in effect through December 31, 2019.  Anglers should carefully check the SW Zone regulations: https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/southwest-zone

Hanford Reach, SW WA Fishing Report (11-1-19)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS WERE FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH AND BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Hanford Reach Fall Salmon Fishery

The Hanford Reach fall salmon fishery closed on October 31. For the season there were an estimated 30,678 angler trips with 11,820 adult chinook, 1,321 chinook jacks, and 53 coho harvested.

JASON VOORHEES ENJOYED A PRETTY GOOD FINAL DAY OF THE LOWER HANFORD REACH FALL SALMON SEASON YESTERDAY BEFORE GOING BACK TO THE TRI-CITIES AND SCARING THE SH*T OUT OF KIDS LATER THAT EVENING. OK, THAT’S ACTUALLY TROY BRODERS BEHIND THE MASK, BUT WE CAN REPORT THAT THE FISH WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THE IMAGE — NOT TO MENTION DINNER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Lots of jacks returning this year which means we should have a good return of three year olds next year in the 6-10 pound range. WDFW will have a complete forecast for 2020 available in February.

Washington Columbia River and Tributary Fishing Report Oct 21-27, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:
Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman – 3 bank anglers released one steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 9 bank rods kept one coho. 7 boats/19 rods kept 12 coho and released three Chinook, 2 coho and 1 coho jack.

Above the I-5 Br – 40 bank rods kept two steelhead and released 14 Chinook. 6 boats/17 rods kept four coho and released two Chinook, 6 coho and 1 coho jack.

Kalama River – 7 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 17 bank anglers kept one coho. 9 boats/23 rods kept 11 Chinook, 2 Chinook jacks, 3 coho and released seven Chinook, 1 coho and 1 coho jack.

Wind River – 1 boat/2 rods released one Chinook.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 42 bank anglers kept 30 Chinook, 1 Chinook jack, 25 coho and 3 coho jacks.

Sturgeon:

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 2 boats/7 rods released three sublegal sturgeon.

Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Lower Col mainstem sport Oct 21-27, 2019
Salmon

Bonneville bank: 37 anglers with 15 coho kept and 4 coho and 9 Chinook released
Camas/Washougal boat: 16 anglers with 3 coho kept and 1 coho and 29 Chinook released
Vancouver boat: 9 anglers with 2 coho kept and 2 Chinook released
Woodland boat: 1 angler with 1 coho and 1 Chinook released
Kalama boat: 3 anglers with 3 coho kept and 1 coho and 2 Chinook released
Longview boat: 7 anglers with 3 coho kept
Sturgeon
Bonneville bank: 9 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 30 anglers with 1 legal kept and 2 sublegals and 3 oversize released
Woodland bank: 1 angler with nothing
Woodland boat: 13 anglers with nothing
Kalama bank: 4 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 33 anglers with 1 legal kept and 8 sublegals released
Longview bank: 12 anglers with nothing
Longview boat: 28 anglers with nothing

Hanford Reach, SW WA Fishing Report (10-23-19)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS WERE FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH AND BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery Update (Oct 14-20)

The Hanford Reach from the old Hanford townsite power line crossing upstream to Priest Rapids Dam closed October 16.  The area from the Highway 395 bridge at Pasco/Kennewick upstream to the old Hanford townsite will remain open. This area is expected to remain open through the scheduled closure on October 31 with a one adult daily limit.

FALL CHINOOK SEASON IS WINDING DOWN IN THE HANFORD REACH, WITH THE UPPER END NOW CLOSED AND THE BOTTOM STRETCH OPEN THROUGH THE END OF THE MONTH. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Angler effort continues to decline as the quality of the fish drops off and hunting seasons open. An estimated 1,806 anglers fished for fall chinook in the Hanford Reach this past week. Fishing was excellent with boats averaging 1.5 fish per boat, 8 hours per fish. From October 14 through October 20, WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 356 boats (844 anglers) and 103 bank anglers with 455 adult chinook and 61 jacks. An estimated 957 adult chinook and 153 chinook jacks were harvested for the week (expanded). For the season there have been 28,818 angler trips with 11,134 adult chinook and 1,208 chinook jacks, and 53 coho harvested.

Washington Columbia River and Tributary Fishing Report Oct 14-20, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman – 8 bank anglers released 2 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 2 bank rods had no catch. 7 boats/22 rods kept 15 coho, 6 coho jacks and released 3 Chinook, 5 Chinook jacks and 20 coho.

Above the I-5 Br – 20 bank rods released 1 Chinook.

Kalama River – 8 bank anglers released 2 Chinook, 2 Chinook jacks and 1 coho jack.

Lewis River – 26 bank anglers kept 3 Chinook.  6 boats/19 rods kept 2 Chinook, 1 coho and released 2 coho.

Washougal River – 2 bank anglers had no catch

Washougal River (Slough) – 6 boats/9 rods kept 1 coho, 1 coho jack and released 1 coho.

Wind River – 2 boats/3 rods kept 2 Chinook and released 5 Chinook.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 57 bank anglers kept 13 Chinook, 3 Chinook jacks, 23 coho, 5 coho jacks and released 1 Chinook and 1 Chinook jack.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 4 bank anglers kept 1 coho and released 1 Chinook.  1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

 

  •       Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Hanford Reach Fishing Report (10-15-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW

Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery Update (Oct 7-13)

The Hanford Reach from the old Hanford townsite power line crossing upstream to Priest Rapids Dam will close after today, October 15.  The area from the Highway 395 bridge at Pasco/Kennewick upstream to the old Hanford townsite will remain open. This area is expected to remain open through the scheduled closure on October 31 with a one adult daily limit.

GUIDE GERARDO REYES SHOWS OFF A VERY NICE FALL CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE HANFORD REACH LATE LAST MONTH. (FLATOUTFISHING.NET)

Angler effort dropped off a bit this past week with the opening of deer season. There were still just shy of 5,000 anglers fishing for fall chinook in the Hanford Reach this past week. Fishing was excellent with boats averaging 1.6 fish per boat, 8 hours per fish. From October 7 through October 13, WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 672 boats (1,806 anglers) and 67 bank anglers with 962 adult chinook, 92 jacks and 9 coho. An estimated 2,512 adult chinook, 243 chinook jacks and 23 coho were harvested for the week (expanded). For the season there have been 27,043 angler trips with 10,181 adult chinook, 1,122 chinook jacks, and 53 coho harvested. Harvest is now tracking well above last year at this time. (2018 =8,672 adult chinook).

(WDFW)

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 from September 15 through October 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 incorporates average migration timing for this population. Based on fish counts through October 15, an estimated 55,957 adult, wild (natural origin) fall chinook are expected to return to the Hanford Reach. At returns in excess of 52,000 adults, an increased proportion of the return is dedicated to the terminal fishery. With an expected natural origin fall chinook return at ~56,000, 18,000+ 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 through the end of the scheduled season (see WA Sport Fishing Rules & Emergency Regulations).

(WDFW)

(WDFW)

Most Of Washington Snake Closing For Steelhead; Chinook Fisheries Also Reduced

Washington fishery managers shut down steelheading on most of the state’s Snake and modified fall Chinook seasons on the river, all to protect low numbers of wild and hatchery B-runs bound for Idaho.

The changes take effect tomorrow, Sept. 29.

SNAKE STEELHEAD RUNS HAVE GONE FROM GOOD, WHEN THIS YOUNG ANGLER CAUGHT THIS ONE OFF WAWAWAI MUCH EARLIER THIS DECADE, TO BAD AND NOW WORSE IN RECENT YEARS. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

A pair of emergency rule change notices out late this afternoon have the details, but essentially both catch-and-release and retention of steelhead will end from the mouth of the Snake up to the Couse Creek boat ramp, in Hells Canyon.

It’s being done to “ensure that sufficient numbers of both wild and hatchery B-index fish return to their natal tributaries and hatcheries of origin in Idaho,” WDFW states.

It follows on the agency’s previous reduction of the hatchery steelhead limit on the Snake from three to one as this year’s overall run has come in way below the preseason forecast of 118,200 smaller A- and larger B-runs, with just 69,200 now expected to pass Bonneville Dam.

Steelhead fisheries were restricted on the Columbia throughout the summer, and tomorrow, a slate of closures on Idaho waters takes effect.

Inland Northwest steelhead runs have not been good since 2016, with recent years seeing reduced limits and closures up and down the system. This year’s run will be among the lowest on record.

Meanwhile, WDFW is also reducing the fall Chinook fishery on the Snake, again to protect B-runs.

They’re closing it below Lower Granite Dam, except for a 1.4-mile “Lyons Ferry Bubble Fishery” from the Highway 261 bridge downstream.

And they’re reducing the amount of time the waters above and below Clarkston were set to stay open, from through Oct. 31 to now just Oct. 13.

Above Couse Creek, Chinook season continues through Halloween.

BILL STANLEY SHOWS OFF A FALL CHINOOK CAUGHT ON THE SNAKE IN A PAST SEASON. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

“The Fall Chinook return is large enough to continue to allow some harvest opportunities within the Snake River fisheries, while providing protection of B-index steelhead,” the agency stated in an e-reg.

Honestly, even as managers are both trying to protect critically low stocks and eke out fishing opportunity on stronger ones, it’s a bit much to wrap your head around at the end of an 8-5 shift.

Best bet is to refer to the eregs in the links above.

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.