Tag Archives: snake river

Columbia-Snake Pikeminnow Program Catch Nears 70,000

Pikeminnow catches ticked up over the previous week on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, with 10,950 qualifying fish brought in for the sport reward program June 12-18.

Once again The Dalles station recorded the highest number overall, with 3,915 checked, a dropoff of about 900 fish over June 5-11, but this year’s catch to date of 31,563 there has already surpassed nine of the last 10 complete seasons.

A SCREEN SHOT OF A MAP PUT TOGETHER BY THE NORTHERN PIKEMINNOW SPORT-REWARD PROGRAM SHOWS BOAT LAUNCHES AND HOT SPOTS AROUND CATHLAMET, WHERE THE LOWEST CATCH STATION ON THE COLUMBIA IS. DOZENS MORE STRETCH UPSTREAM TO PRIEST RAPIDS DAM, AND UP THE SNAKE TO CLARKSTON. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

Action heated up on the Snake, where Boyer Park took in 1,102 pikeminnow, while on the Lower Columbia, 899 were recorded at Kalama.

Speaking of Kalama, it saw the highest catch per registered angler of the week, with 45 fishermen accounting for those 899 pikeminnow, an average of 20.0 fish each.

Other stations seeing relatively high catch per angler include Washougal (13.7), The Dalles (12.1) and Cascade Locks (11.1).

Thirty-one specially tagged pikeminnow were caught last week, with seven of those turned in at Bingen, six each at The Dalles and Columbia Point, five at Washougal, and one each at Cathlamet, Rainier, Kalama, Gleason, Giles French, Umatilla and Boyer Park.

Since the 2017 season started May 1, 69,195 qualifying pikeminnow have been removed from the Columbia and Snake, 69,340 overall.

The sport reward program pays anglers from $5 to $8 per pikeminnow, with tagged ones worth $500. The idea is to reduce the numbers of the native species that prey on young salmon and steelhead in the Columbia hydropower system.

For more details, including fishing maps, check out pikeminnow.org, and if you’re interested in putting your angling skills to work, check out the June 22 seminar coming to Longview and put on by program leader Eric Winther.

IDFG, UI Studying Brownlee, Snake River Smallmouth

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

A stunned smallmouth bass emerged from the flood-swollen Snake River. It was a slab by anyone’s standards – 19 inches and 4.5 pounds, mottled bronze with dark bars on its broad sides and as pot bellied as a sumo wrestler.

If you’re wondering “where does a smallmouth like that come from?” Idaho Fish and Game biologists and a University of Idaho graduate student are wondering the same thing, and they’re working to find out.

IDFG REGIONAL FISH PROGRAM MANAGER JOE KOZFKAY HOLDS A MOMENTARILY STUNNED SMALLMOUTH CAPTURED AS PART OF A STUDY OF BASS BETWEEN BROWNLEE AND SWAN FALLS DAMS. (ROGER PHILLIPS, IDFG)

The bass rose to the surface of the cold water because it was momentarily stunned by an electrical current, then netted, weighed, measured and surgically implanted with a pill-sized transmitter that will send a radio signal to receivers, which will track its whereabouts in the Snake River between Swan Falls Dam and Brownlee Reservoir.

Bass fishing in the river sections between Swan Falls and Brownlee Reservoir is inconsistent, Fish and Game’s Southwest Region Fish Manager Joe Kozfkay said. It’s good in some sections and poor in others, and same for tributaries. Biologists want to find out why.

THIS PILL-SIZED DEVICE WILL HELP FISHERIES BIOLOGISTS TRACK BASS DURING THE STUDY. (ROGER PHILLIPS, IDFG)

Because of smallmouths’ popularity and recreational importance, more information is needed to better manage the fishery. Most of the previous research focused on Brownlee Reservoir, largely due to the popularity of its smallmouth fishery, and also issues related to dam relicensing.

“Brownlee Reservoir is one of the better smallmouth bass fisheries in the West,” Kozfkay said.

By comparison, less is known about the bass upstream of the reservoir and in the Snake River tributaries, such as the Boise, Payette and Weiser rivers. Biologists want to learn whether those smallmouths are one large population, or independent populations, and if different, how should they be managed to enhance and/or protect the existing fishery.

Fisheries managers aren’t expecting any big surprises or anticipating major changes in current rules for bass fishing, but one never knows until the studies are undertaken.

“While the overall bass population seems to be doing very well, we have some real questions about how much smallmouth move around,” said Jeff Dillon, Fish and Game’s state fish manager. “Those movement patterns are key to knowing whether different harvest rules might be beneficial in some areas.”

A SMALLMOUTH AWAITS ATTENTION FROM KOZFKAY. (ROGER PHILLIPS, IDFG)

Biologists did a similar study decades ago on channel catfish and learned there’s a “giant swirling population” between Swan Falls and Brownlee dams where fish move up and down the river and can easily sustain harvest levels.

Evidence suggests that some smallmouths spawn in tributaries where they may be more susceptible to angler harvest. But is the current level of harvest sustainable, or is it detrimental to the population?

The study will determine ages, growth rates, mortality, age at maturity, and recruitment, then use population simulation models to see how different harvest regulations might affect the Snake’s smallmouth fishery.

Biologists have been capturing smallmouths this spring in different sections of the Snake River, and also in the Boise, Payette and Weiser rivers, and implanting more than 150 of them with tracking transmitters.

Crews will do multiple surveys throughout the year to see if fish seasonally migrate during spring, summer, fall and winter. Smallmouths will also be genetically tested to determine whether populations are interrelated or separate.

Lastly, 1,130 smallmouths have been marked with orange tags with a phone number and website where anglers can report where they caught the fish, and whether they harvested it or released it. Reporting the tag number and location will help biologists know where the fish was caught compared to when and where it was tagged, and how many fish are being harvested.

Based on previous research in Brownlee, biologists know about 25 percent of the legal-sized bass get harvested from that reservoir each year, which Kozfkay said is sustainable without decreasing the overall population.

If biologists determined there was a localized population in the Snake or the tributaries where 35  to 40 percent of larger smallmouths were being harvested, rule changes might be considered to protect some of them.

Kozfkay said he’d be surprised if harvest rate was high on the larger smallmouths prized by anglers, but one complaint biologists frequently hear is about a lack of fish exceeding the 12-inch minimum harvest size.

The study will help biologists determine if there’s actually a lack of fish in that size range, or if they are simply eluding anglers.

WDFW Sets Snake Spring Chinook Season

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

Action/Species affected: Spring chinook salmon fishing to open on the Snake River.

Locations:

A) Below Ice Harbor Dam: Snake River from the South Bound Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam.

B) Below Little Goose Dam: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility).

THE WALL, WHERE JEFF MAIN CAUGHT THIS 25-POUNDER SEVERAL SEASONS BACK, AND OTHER PARTS OF THE SNAKE RIVER WILL OPEN FOR SPRING CHINOOK LATER THIS MONTH. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

C) Clarkston: Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

Dates: Each area is open two days per week until further notice.

Area A (Below Ice Harbor Dam) opens Friday, April 28, and will be open only Friday and Saturday each week.

Areas B and C (Below Little Goose Dam and near Clarkston) open Sunday, April 30, and will be open only Sunday and Monday each week.

Daily limits: 6 hatchery chinook (adipose fin clipped), of which no more than one may be an adult chinook salmon. For all areas open to chinook salmon harvest, anglers must cease fishing for salmon when the hatchery adult limit has been retained for the day.

Reason for action: Based on the pre-season prediction for a relatively good return of spring chinook and angler input requesting an emphasis for a longer fishery season, Snake River fisheries in each of these zones are open for only two days per week (with only one weekend day included each week) with a daily bag limit of only one adult hatchery chinook.

The restrictions on the fishery help prolong the duration of the season, ensure sharing of fishing opportunities with upriver fishery zones, and enable managers to ensure that the fisheries comply with Endangered Species Act (ESA) restrictions and harvest allocations available for the Snake River.

Other Information: The minimum size of any retained chinook salmon is 12 inches. Jacks are less than 24 inches long.

The adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon that can be retained must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. All chinook salmon with the adipose fin intact, and all bull trout and steelhead, must be immediately released unharmed.

In addition, anglers fishing for all species, in the areas open for chinook salmon, during the days of the week the salmon fishery is open in that area, must use barbless hooks.

Only single point barbless hooks are allowed when fishing for sturgeon. A night closure is in effect for salmon and sturgeon. It will be unlawful to use any hook larger than 5/8 inch (point of hook to shank) when fishing for all species except sturgeon.

Anglers cannot remove any chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily limit.

Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2016/2017 Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including safety closures, closed waters, etc.

Information Contact: Jeremy Trump, District 3 Fish Biologist (509) 382-1005.