Tag Archives: hanford reach

Hanford Reach Angler Pines For Past Years’ Larger Returns Of 5-year-old URBs

By Rick Itami

Back in the early 1990s when I first tried my luck at catching the famous upriver bright fall Chinook salmon in the Hanford Reach of the mighty Columbia River, I was amazed to see huge fish rolling all over the river.

THE NUMBER OF 5-YEAR-OLD FALL CHINOOK RETURNING TO THE COLUMBIA RIVER’S HANFORD REACH HAS DROPPED IN RECENT YEARS. PRIOR TO 2006, ONE-THIRD OF THE RUN CAME IN AS 5’S, ON AVERAGE, BUT SINCE THEN THE PERCENTAGE HAS DROPPED TO 18. DAVE SITTON CAUGHT THIS BEAST IN 2012. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

And when I say huge, I mean salmon running in the 30- to 40-pound range. The first time I hooked one of these giants, I fought it for 20 minutes before my 30-pound-test monofilament finally snapped when I tried to horse the fish into the net.

In those days, outdoor sections of newspapers often contained photos of smiling fishermen displaying monster fall Chinook caught with regularity.

Fast forward to the present and you have a totally different scenario. You simply do not see anglers landing many really large fish as before.

Toby Wyatt, owner/operator of Reel Time Fishing (208-790-2128) and who is one of the most successful guides on the Hanford Reach, says his clients land just a few fish in the 30-plus-pound range. Most of his catch ranges in the 10- to 20-pound range. He misses getting his clients into the monsters.

So what happened to the giants of the Hanford Reach?

AUTHOR RICK ITAMI HOLDS AN UPRIVER BRIGHT FROM THIS PAST SEASON, A 12-POUND HEN. A FISH’S AGE, THE LENGTH OF TIME IT SPENDS IN THE PACIFIC AND OCEAN PRODUCTIVITY DETERMINE HOW BIG A SALMON GROWS. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Paul Hoffarth, Region III fisheries biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, confirms the drop in size of fish. Surprisingly and for unknown reasons, Hoffarth says that a significant shift in the age structure of fish happened all in one year — 2006.

Prior to 2006, roughly one-third (34 percent) of the upriver brights were the big 5-year-old fish and 37 percent were 4-year-olds.

Beginning in 2006, the percentage of 5-year-olds has averaged 18 percent (with a range of 10 to 28 percent) and has never recovered.

Hoffarth does not know why the decline happened so suddenly and no studies have been done to determine a cause or causes. Therefore, no one knows if the age structure will return to pre-2006 levels.

So we anglers are left in the dark as to what the future of the upriver bright population has in store in terms of the size of fish caught. Let’s hope whatever caused the flip in the age structure of these magnificent fish will just as suddenly flip the other way.

I would love to see a river full of rolling giants again.

Hanford Reach Fall King Fishery Closing Early Next Week

Fall Chinook fishing on the Hanford Reach will stay open through Monday, giving anglers one last weekend to catch upriver brights on the free-flowing Columbia.

SPOKANE’S RICK ITAMI WAS A BIT PESSIMISTIC ABOUT FISHING FOR HANFORD REACH FALL CHINOOK, GIVEN THE LOWER RUN, BUT ONCE THERE HE FOUND WILLING BITERS, INCLUDING A 12-POUND HEN THAT WILL PROVIDE EGGS FOR HIS STEELHEADING ADVENTURES THIS WINTER AND A 10-POUND BUCK. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

While this year’s run is down and the limit has been dropped to one a day, fishermen have still been finding biting salmon.

Some have been reporting success running tuna-stuffed Brad’s Super Baits behind Pro-Trolls. They’ll probably have less competition this weekend, which is also the deer and duck opener across the state.

The Reach above the wooden powerlines at the old Hanford townsite to Priest Rapids Dam was set to close after Oct. 15, but it wasn’t clear when the waters from there down to Tri-Cities would shut down as the run continued to trickle past downstream dams.

An early October update from state fisheries biologist Paul Hoffarth warned the quota might be met by Oct. 7, then another earlier this week said fishing would stay open through this Friday, Oct. 12.

“Based on the updated return estimate for natural-origin Hanford Reach fall Chinook, all adult Chinook in excess of escapement will be harvested by Oct. 15,” WDFW said in an emergency rule-change notice sent out this afternoon.

If you still want to fish the free-flowing Columbia for upriver brights — and for a good cause — sign up for late October’s 6th Annual King of the Reach derby, a three-day event that collects wild fall Chinook for the Grant County Public Utility District’s Priest Rapids Hatchery, improving the stock’s fitness and ensuring that hatchery fish remain genetically similar to the natives here.

6th Annual King Of The Reach Derby Coming Up Oct. 26-28

With 10 million-plus fertilized fall Chinook eggs to their credit so far, salmon anglers, state fishery managers and a public utility district will build on their success later this month when the 6th Annual King of the Reach kicks off.

THE OSTROMS — THOR, KARL AND JACOB — WON THE SECOND ANNUAL KINGS OF THE REACH DERBY IN 2013 WITH THIS AND 51 OTHER FALL CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE HANFORD REACH. (THOR OSTROM)

The Oct. 26-28 live-capture fishing derby collects wild upriver brights for the Grant County Public Utility District’s Priest Rapids Hatchery, improving the stock’s fitness and ensuring that hatchery fish remain genetically similar to the natives in the Hanford Reach.

Coastal Conservation Association Washington’s Tri-Cities Chapter coordinates participation, and compared to regular fishing opportunities, the event has some interesting regulations to be aware of.

It’s held after the Hanford Reach closes for the season — likely to occur sometime next week — no fishing license is required and two-poling’s OK without the endorsement. Barbless hooks must be used, though.

Participants are encouraged to preregister with CCA or on-site, and all anglers are required to register with WDFW as volunteers each day before they fish.

Boat captains need fish transporting permits plus a way to haul the salmon to the Vernita Bridge or White Bluffs launches, either in a livewell or a big cooler with a pump. After all, the goal is to get them to the hatchery alive. According to CCA, there was less than 2 percent mortality among the 511 kings brought in in 2017.

WDFW’s Paul Hoffarth, who is the brains behind the event, says that anglers have brought in a total of 2,111 fall kings, including 1,034 bucks and 1,077 hens, since the first King of the Reach was held in 2012.

Fishing effort has increased annually, from 598 angler hours that first year to 2,722 in 2017, his data shows.

While some numbers from last year have yet to be crunched, derby fish have resulted in 25 percent of the hatchery’s production having at least one natural-origin parent.

Hoffarth says that even with this year’s lower return — 38,357 based on a Sept. 30 estimate — escapement (the number of spawners) should exceeded the goal of 31,100 natural-origin adult kings.

Entry in the derby is $25 for the day or the weekend (youths age 17 or under are $15). Refreshments will be provided and prizes will be awarded to participants for the most live salmon turned in per boat per day, and for the entire event.

Last year Justin Sprengel turned in the most kings, 37.

Random prizes will be awarded as well.

Derby entries are available online at ccawashington.org/KingoftheReach and Grigg’s in Pasco, and Ranch and Home and Sportsman’s Warehouse in Kennewick.

SW WA, Hanford Reach Fishing Report (10-1-18)

THE FOLLOWING ARE WDFW FISHING REPORTS FROM BRYANT SPELLMAN AND PAUL HOFFARTH

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Mainstem from the mouth upstream to McNary Dam

  • From the Buoy 10 line upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco:
    • Closed to angling for and retention of salmon and steelhead.

AUSTIN, LEXI, BRITT AND CORBIN HAN POSE WITH A FALL CHINOOK RECENTLY CAUGHT NEAR TRI-CITIES. IT BIT A SUPERBAIT WITH TUNA BEHIND A PRO TROLL FLASHER TROLLED DOWNSTREAM. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – No anglers sampled.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 25 bank rods kept 9 coho jacks and released 1 coho jack.  14 boats/33 rods kept 8 coho, 25 coho jacks, 1 steelhead and released 15 chinook, 1 chinook jack, 3 coho, 6 coho jacks and 1 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  41 bank rods released 12 chinook and 1 steelhead. 5 boats/13 rods kept 1 steelhead and released 3 chinook.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 986 coho adults, 2,251 coho jacks, 375 fall Chinook adults, 89 fall Chinook jacks, 86 cutthroat trout, 42 summer-run steelhead adults and seven spring Chinook adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power released 107 coho adults, 174 coho jacks and two spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River near Randle, and they released 120 coho adults, 68 coho jacks, and two spring Chinook adults at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

Tacoma Power released 389 coho adults, 1,251 coho jacks, 86 fall Chinook adults, 34 fall Chinook jacks, and six cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, and they released 210 coho adults, 640 coho jacks, five cutthroat trout and three spring Chinook adults into Lake Scanewa in Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,540 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, Oct. 1. Water visibility is 14 feet and the water temperature is 54.8 degrees F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 10 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/5 rods kept 4 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.

Lewis River – 69 bank anglers kept 1 chinook jack, 2 coho, 1 coho jack and released 5 chinook, 3 coho and 1 coho jack.  15 boats/39 rods kept 4 chinook and released 19 chinook, 9 chinook jacks, 1 coho and 1 coho jack.

Wind River – No anglers sampled.

Drano Lake – 15 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.   91 boats/231 rods kept 78 chinook, 33 chinook jacks, 10 coho, 2 coho jacks and released 3 chinook, 3 coho and 5 steelhead.

Klickitat River – 97 bank anglers kept 51 chinook and 16 chinook jacks.

  • Deep River:  Effective September 24, 2018 Deep River reopens to salmon and steelhead angling under permanent rules.
  • Youngs Bay, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough: Effective September 24, 2018 Youngs Bay, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough reopens to salmon and steelhead angling under permanent Oregon regulations.
  • Cowlitz River:  Effective September 22, 2018 closed for Chinook retention from the mouth to the Barrier Dam including all lower Cowlitz tributaries, except the Toutle River.  Until further notice, the closed waters section below the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery Barrier Dam is 400’, at the posted markers.
  • Washougal River, including Camas Slough:  Effective September 22, 2018 closed for Chinook retention from the mouth to the bridge at Salmon Falls.
  • Wind River:  from the mouth to 400’ below Shepherd Falls, closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead.
  • Drano Lake: Effective Sept. 29, 2018 until further notice.  The daily salmon limit remains 6 fish total, of which only one may be an adult.  Drano Lake remains closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead and closed to retention of steelhead.
  • White Salmon River:  from the mouth to the county road bridge below the former location of the powerhouse, closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead

STURGEON

From the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to McNary Dam including adjacent tributaries – Until further notice, white sturgeon open for catch and release fishing only. Fishing for sturgeon at night is closed.

……………………………

The Hanford Reach fall salmon fishery opened August 16. Angler effort continues to increase as well as harvest. There were 5,046 angler trips taken for salmon in the Hanford Reach this past week. WDFW staff interviewed 2,087 anglers this week. Based on the data collected, 2,043 adult chinook and 208 jacks were harvested bringing the season total to 4,411 adult chinook, 398 jacks, and 10 coho. Anglers averaged 13 hours per per fish (1.2 fish per boat), 50% increase compared to the week prior.

An in-season estimate was generated for the Hanford Reach wild return based on fish counts through September 30. An estimated 38,357 wild (natural) origin fall chinook are expected to return to the Hanford Reach. Base on this estimate harvest would be limited to ~6,500 adult chinook, leaving roughly 2,000 adult chinook remaining in the quota. Sunday, October 7 will likely be the final day of the fishery between the Hwy 395 bridge and Priest Rapids Dam.

From Highway 395 to Priest Rapids Dam the daily limit is 6 fall chinook, no more than 1 adult fall chinook. Anglers must stop fishing when the adult limit is retained. Anglers can use two poles if they have the two-pole license endorsement.

The Columbia River from Highway 395 to the old Hanford town site wooden powerline towers opened October 1 to the harvest of Ringold Springs origin hatchery steelhead. Steelhead released from Ringold Springs Hatchery are adipose fin clipped and right ventral fin clipped. The daily limit is one adipose + right ventral fin clipped steelhead. This unique mark (clips) allows these steelhead to be differentiated from upper Columbia River and Snake River steelhead and allows these steelhead to be selectively harvested.

It Wasn’t That Long Ago …

Man, what a difference three years makes.

On this day in 2015 I posted* that Columbia River salmon managers had upped their fall Chinook forecast to a staggering 1,095,900.

ANGLERS ENJOYED SUPERB FALL CHINOOK FISHING ON THE COLUMBIA SYSTEM IN 2015 AS A RECORD 1.3 MILLION RETURNED, BUT THIS YEAR WE ARE SEEING THE OPPOSITE END OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE SALMON CYCLE SWING. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

They were off by a mile — 210,000 miles.

The final estimate is that 1,305,600 upriver brights and tules made it to Buoy 10 that year.

Of those, 954,140 were counted at Bonneville, the most on record.

And more than all but two other entire annual returns of Chinook — i.e., springers, summers and fall fish — at the dam since counts began in 1938.

The fishing was preposterous — 36,535 kings kept at Buoy 10, 41,525 on the Lower Columbia, 13,260 from Bonneville to Highway 395. Treaty and NT comms got their shares.

We were all smiles — our smiles couldn’t have been any wider or we would have broken our faces.

“These are the good ol’ days for Chinook, ladies and gentlemen,” I wrote later that month.

CRITFC FISHERIES TECHNICIAN AGNES STRONG HOLDS A COLUMBIA RIVER FALL CHINOOK TRAPPED PRIEST RAPIDS HATCHERY DURING THE 2015 RUN. (PHOTO COURTESY OF AGNES STRONG)

Looking back, it was the culmination of three outstanding years of salmon fishing, but there were troubling signs, other blogs I wrote that month show.

Sept. 23: Columbia Early Coho Forecast Reduced Sharply; Snake King Return On Record Pace: “Even as what could be a record return of Snake River fall Chinook heads for Idaho, Columbia salmon managers took the fishbonker to this year’s prediction for early-run coho, smacking it hard from an expected 140,000 to just 27,000 past Bonneville.”

Sept. 15: Clearwater Coho A No-go, IDFG Announces: This year’s run of coho up the Columbia is not living up to expectations, at least not yet.”

Sept. 11: No Plans To Halt State Humpy Fishery On Skagit: “Initial netting by the Upper Skagits turned up just 10 percent of the expected catch during what is typically the peak of the run of the odd-year fish.”

Earlier that summer hundreds of thousands of sockeye died as they migrated up the too-warm Columbia, as did dozens of oversize sturgeon.

Summer streams were bone dry due to the previous winter’s snowpack failure. Many waters were closed or under restricted fishing hours. Forest fires roared in the mountains and hills.

The Blob was hungry in 2015, though the high numbers of Columbia kings and relative snappiness of starving coho and pinks initially hid it from us, and we foolishly didn’t consider how long the North Pacific’s hangover would last.

Now in 2018 we’re at the other end of the salmon cycle.

ODFW’s Tucker Jones said that if the fall king run continues tracking as it has, it will be the lowest return since 2007, when 220,200 limped into the mouth of the Columbia.

I wonder if it won’t ultimately come in at lows not seen for two and a half decades — the 214,900 in ’93.

Funny how that number and the offage between the mid-September 2015 runsize update and what it ultimately came in at are so close.

A FISH PASSAGE CENTER SHOWS THE 2018 FALL CHINOOK RUN AT BONNEVILLE (RED LINE) VERSUS LAST YEAR AND THE 10-YEAR AVERAGE. (FPC)

There is some hope, though. Last year’s run spiked unexpectedly after the usual high-count days, so we’ll see.

But in the meanwhile Chinook as well as coho and steelhead fishing have been closed from Buoy 10 all the way to Tri-Cities, and the steelie bag reduced to one hatchery a day in the Snake River basin.

CRITFC postponed a gillnet opener decision, though platform fisheries remain open, and nontreaty commercial fishing in the SAFE zones were shut down.

In the usually productive free-flowing Hanford Reach, the adult URB limit has been cut to one a day.

Just three falls ago, we harvested a record 33,885 in the Reach, and that November I wrote, “What a year!!!!!!!! Remember this one — it truly is The Good Ol’ Days.”

There were warning signs, but to hit the bad old days after such highs so fast is a reminder that the runs do ebb and flow.

Hopefully the closures and restrictions WDFW and ODFW have announced help rebuild the stocks and get us out of this hole and back on the water sooner.

*Editor’s note: Hat tip to Mike Fisenko who brought back this memory on Facebook.

Lower, Middle Columbia, SW WA Tribs Fishing Report (7-10-18)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED WITH BRYANT SPELLMAN AND RYAN LOTHROP, WDFW; JIMMY WATTS, ODFW; AND PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW; AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Preliminary Washington Lower Columbia River mainstem and tributary creel sampling summaries July 2-8 ,2018

Elochoman River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream:  2 bank rods had no catch.  Above the I-5 Br:  10 bank rods kept 2 steelhead.   19 boat rods kept 4 steelhead.

COWLITZ RIVER STEELHEADERS ARE HAVING A SLOW SUMMER, JUDGING BY CATCH STATS, UNLIKE 2012 WHEN JACOB OLSEN CAUGHT THIS ONE. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

TAC update

Here are a few highlights to today’s TAC call.

There were no changes to the mouth run sizes for sockeye (209k) or summer Chinook (44k) to last week’s updates.  Run timing appears to be 1-2 days early, with sockeye numbers potentially trending down slight, and summer Chinook ever so slightly trending up.  Allocations/catch sharing do not change from last week that led to fishery changes.  With a run size below 50k for summer Chinook, Treaty impacts are 10,627 and NT sharing of impacts in-river are:
Above PRD (90%): 3,859 (Colville (70%): 2,701; Sport: 958; Wanapum: 200)
Below PRD (10%): 429.

FYI, if you are looking at the Bonneville count numbers, you will notice summer Chinook numbers are above TAC’s updated run size.  That difference is because the Corp starts summer counts June 1, instead of June 16 that USvOR recognizes.

Lower Columbia mainstem sport update

During July 1-8, steelhead anglers on the lower Columbia made 3,950 trips and caught 668 summer steelhead (444 kept and 224 released), 24 sockeye (21 kept and three released) and 86 adult Chinook (released).

Tri-cities Area Summer Chinook Fishery (Hwy 395 to Priest Rapids Dam)

The Columbia River from Highway 395 (Pasco/Kennewick) upstream to Priest Rapids Dam opened to fishing for summer chinook on June 16. On July 1 the fishery was expanded to include the harvest of sockeye (wild & hatchery). On July 6 the fishery was closed to retention of all adult chinook upstream to Priest Rapids Dam. All sockeye greater than 12 inches in length are categorized as adults.

Between July 2 and July 8 WDFW staff interviewed 144 anglers from 71 boats with 6 adult hatchery chinook, 2 chinook jack, 74 sockeye, and 1 hatchery steelhead harvested (This area is closed to harvest of steelhead. This was an illegal take). Based on the data collected there were 569 angler trips for salmon last week with a harvest of 48 adult hatchery chinook, 16 jack hatchery chinook, 593 sockeye, and 6 hatchery steelhead. Anglers averaged 1.2 salmon per boat, 8.9 hours per fish.

There have been 1,781 angler trips for summer chinook and sockeye since the opener on June 16 with a harvest of 108 adult hatchery chinook, 20 jack hatchery chinook, and 790 sockeye. An additional 26 adult wild chinook, 117 sockeye, and 4 hatchery steelhead have been caught and released.

Sockeye numbers are declining and river temperatures are warming which will likely signal a decline the fishery this week but the fishery is likely to still be fair/good for the upcoming week.

 

SW WA Fishing Report (4-2-18)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS ORIGINATED WITH WDFW AND WERE TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Columbia River Test Fishing

Spring Chinook mainstem test fishery

Washington Columbia River tributaries sport sampling summaries – March 26-April 1

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream:  78 bank and 4 boat rods had no catch.  Above the I-5 Br:  39 bank rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.  81 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook and 21 steelhead and released 4 steelhead and 1 cutthroat.  Spring Chinook were primarily caught at the barrier dam while the steelhead were sampled at the trout hatchery.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 114 winter-run steelhead adults and three spring Chinook adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released six winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.  Tacoma Power also released two spring Chinook adults and ten winter-run steelhead adults into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,160 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 2. Water visibility is eight feet and the water temperature is 42.8 degrees F.

Kalama River – 28 bank anglers had no catch.  6 boat anglers kept 2 steelhead.    All steelhead must be released on the lower Kalama River from April 4 through May 15.

A KALAMA RIVER ANGLER TWEETED US THIS PIC OF A PINNIPED WELL UPSTREAM. @BROWNBILL19681 REPORTED IT WAS AT THE WATERFALL HOLE ONE DAY, UP BY THE RED BARN THE NEXT. (@BROWNBILL19681)

North Fork Lewis River – 23 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  5 boat anglers kept 1 steelheaD.

Drano Lake – 2 bank and 2 boat anglers had no catch.

Klickitat River from mouth (Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge) upstream to the Fisher Hill Bridge – Effective April 2 through May 30, open to fishing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only. The hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead daily limit is a total of 2 fish.

Hanford Reach Steelhead Sport Fishery (Hwy 395 – Hanford)

The steelhead fishery in the Hanford Reach closed at the end of March with the exception of the bank fishery at the Ringold Springs Hatchery access area. The bank area will be open through April 15 (bank angling only). Daily limit is two hatchery steelhead.

WDFW staff interviewed 111 anglers fishing for steelhead in the Hanford Reach in March.  Bank anglers averaged a steelhead for 17 hours of fishing and the boat anglers averaged a steelhead every 6 hours. An estimated 179 steelhead were caught and 55 were harvested. Since the fishery opened on October 1,  489 steelhead have harvested plus an additional 406 steelhead were caught & released from 2,943 angler trips.

McNary Reservoir Steelhead Sport Fishery Summary

For the fishery, August 1 – March 31, 141 steelhead were harvested and 552 wild steelhead were caught and released from 4,642 angler trips. The fishery was closed in October and November to reduce impacts to B run steelhead.

Lower, Middle Columbia Fishing Report (3-1-18)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS ORIGINATED WITH ODFW AND WDFW STAFF AND WERE TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Lower Columbia mainstem sport sampling summary for Feb. 19-25

Sec. 5 (Woodland) bank – 7 salmonid anglers had no catch.
Sec. 5 (Woodland) boat- 1 boat/ 1 salmonid angler had no catch.
Sec. 8 (Longview) bank – 2 salmonid anglers had no catch

KYLE CARLSON SHOWS OFF A 14-POUND WALLEYE HE CAUGHT AND RELEASED ON THE UPPER DALLES POOL WHILE FISHING WITH GUIDE ALAN “TOUCHE” CLARK AND HIS BUDDY SETH NICKELL RECENTLY. THEY WERE PULLING WORMS ON BOTTOM. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Salmonid angling is slow in the lower Columbia River but should begin to pick up in the coming weeks.

Gorge Bank: No report.

Gorge Boats (below Beacon Rock): No report.

Troutdale Boats: No report.

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekly checking showed no catch for 55 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for 23 boats (46 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines): No report.

Estuary Boats (Buoy 10 to Wauna Powerlines): No report.

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): No report.

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

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

STURGEON

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

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

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

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

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: No report.

John Day Pool: No report.

Hanford Reach Steelhead Sport Fishery (Hwy 395 – Hanford)

Effort was light for steelhead fishing in the Hanford Reach but the catch and harvest improved, at least for the boat anglers.  WDFW staff interviewed 54 anglers in February.  Bank anglers averaged a steelhead for 55 hours of fishing but the boat anglers averaged a steelhead every 4 hours. An estimated 232 steelhead were caught in February and 122 were harvested. Since the fishery opened on October 1,  434 steelhead have harvested plus an additional 282 steelhead were caught & released from 2,440 angler trips.

The steelhead fishery in the Hanford Reach will close at the end of March except for the bank fishery. A small section of shoreline at the Ringold access area will continue to be open for “bank angling only” through April 15.

McNary Reservoir Steelhead Sport Fishery: February

Angler effort was very low in February but catch improved, harvest did not. An estimated 31 steelhead were caught in February and 6 were harvested. Catch per hour decreased from 19 hours per steelhead to 9.5 hours per fish. There were 131 angler trips for steelhead in February, down from 529 in January. Bank anglers averaged a steelhead for 7.3 hours of fishing.  Boat anglers 15.5 hours per fish. For the fishery (August 1 – February 28) 141 steelhead have been harvested and 469 wild steelhead have been caught and released from 4,439 angler trips.

Effective January 1 the daily limit is two hatchery steelhead per day. This area will close to the retention of steelhead on March 31.

Lower, Mid-Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (2-12-18)

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

Columbia River Angling Report

Salmonid catch and effort is slow but should improve as the salmon begin to move into the lower Columbia.  On Saturday’s (2/10) flight, 18 salmonid boats and 41 Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Columbia River estuary to Bonneville Dam.

BEFORE IT CLOSED FOR RETENTION, THE JOHN DAY POOL YIELDED A KEEPER STURGEON FOR WILLIAM HULL. HE WAS FISHING WITH HIS DAD CLAY AND O’DOHERTY OUTFITTERS. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Gorge Bank: No report.

Gorge Boats: No report.

Troutdale Boats: No report.

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekly checking showed two steelhead released for 60 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: No report.

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines): No report.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Wauna Powerlines): No report.

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): No report.

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

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

STURGEON

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

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

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

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Closed for retention.  Weekly checking showed three sublegal sturgeon released for 53 bank anglers; and two legal white sturgeon kept, plus 19 sublegal and two oversize sturgeon released for 41 boats (96 anglers).

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: No report.

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed six walleye kept for two bank anglers; and 250 walleye kept, plus 70 walleye released for 52 boats (104 anglers).

………………………..

McNary Reservoir Steelhead Fishery

WDFW staff interviewed 5 boat anglers (3 boats) and 9 bank anglers fishing above McNary Dam in February. Bank anglers averaged 6.5 hours per steelhead. Much slower for boat anglers at 23 hours per steelhead. All steelhead encountered were wild, caught and released.

Lower Hanford Reach Steelhead Fishery

WDFW staff interviewed 16 boat anglers and 19 bank anglers in February. Boats are averaging 5.3 hours per steelhead. Much slower for bank anglers at 34 hours per fish. The majority of the fish caught are hatchery origin (11 of 12).

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Lower Columbia mainstem and its tributaries sport sampling summaries for Feb. 5-11

A Joint State/Compact hearing to consider recreational fisheries for Spring Chinook is scheduled for 10am February 21, 2018 at the Portland Airport Shilo Inn (11707 NE Airport Way).

Cowlitz River –  From the I-5 Br. downstream:  35 bank rods kept 1 steelhead.  Upstream from the I-5 Br:  22 bank anglers released 1 steelhead and 1 adult coho.  14 boats/40 rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook and 8 steelhead and released 1 steelhead and 1 cutthroat.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the I-5 Br. downstream –  Water looks prime for salmon fishing but just 18 boats and 73 bank rods were tallied during last Saturday’s flight.

Washington only creel checks:

Sec. 4 (Vancouver) bank – 2 salmonid anglers had no catch.
Sec. 5 (Woodland) bank – 9 salmonid anglers had no catch.
Sec. 6 (Kalama) bank – 2 salmonid anglers had no catch.
Sec. 8 (Longview) bank – 2 salmonid anglers released 1 steelhead.
Sec. 8 boat – 1 boat/1 salmonid angler had no catch.
Sec. 9 (Cathlamet) bank – 1 salmonid angler had no catch.

John Day Pool – No effort was observed for steelhead.

Sturgeon

John Day Pool – Closed for sturgeon retention through the rest of this year.

Walleye and Bass

John Day Pool – Boat anglers averaged over 3 walleye kept/released per rod.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows into SW WA waters.  No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE+GROUND+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Feb 05, 2018
Rainbow
1,500
1.9
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

KLINELINE PD (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE+PD+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Feb 05, 2018
Rainbow
1,500
1.9
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

Smelt

Not much sign of smelt during the lower Columbia mainstem sport effort flight last Saturday.  There were a few seals from Wallace Is. to Rice Is. but no sea lions and no bird activity except for few gulls following an outbound ship.

All waters within the state of Washington remain closed to fishing for Columbia River smelt (eulachon).

McNary, Hanford January Steelhead Fishing Wrap-up

THE FOLLOWING ORIGINATED WITH PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW, AND WERE TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

McNary Reservoir Steelhead Sport Fishery

The Columbia River from McNary Dam to the Tri-cities reopened for the harvest of hatchery steelhead on December 1. Angler effort declined a bit in January. There were 529 angler trips for steelhead in January, down from 1,588 in December.

WDFW staff interviewed 110 anglers.  Anglers averaged 19 hours per steelhead, unfortunately most of the fish caught were wild, 80 of the 95 fish caught were wild and had to be turned back. For the fishery (August 1 – January 31) 135 steelhead have been harvested and 354 wild steelhead have been caught and released from 4,308 angler trips.

Effective January 1 the daily limit is two hatchery steelhead per day (see Washington Sport Fishing Rules for additional information).

Hanford Reach Steelhead Sport Fishery (Hwy 395 – Hanford)

Steelhead fishing continues to be slow in the Hanford Reach.  Effort has been light.  WDFW staff interviewed 300 anglers in January.  Bank anglers averaged a steelhead for 24 hours of fishing.  Boat anglers are doing a little better at 18 hours per fish. An estimated 44 steelhead were caught in January and 26 were harvested. Since the fishery opened on October 1, 312 steelhead have harvested plus an additional 172 steelhead were caught & released from 2,114 angler trips.

This year’s return to Ringold Springs Hatchery is estimated at ~900 steelhead