Tag Archives: snake river

Washington Easing Hatchery Steelhead Limit Restrictions On Southeast Waters

Washington fishery managers are partially scaling back steelhead bag limit restrictions on waters in the southeast corner of the state.

As of Sunday, Oct. 15, daily limits will increase from one to two hatchery fish on the Walla Walla, Touchet, Tucannon and Grande Ronde Rivers.

GRANDE RONDE AND SOUTHEAST WASHINGTON ANGLERS WILL SOON BE ABLE TO RETAIN TWO HATCHERY STEELHEAD A DAY AS DAM COUNTS INDICATE MORE ARE RETURNING THAN FEARED JUST TWO MONTHS AGO. (GREG OLENIK)

However, the Snake will remain catch-and-release only from the mouth up to Clarkston. But between there and the Couse Creek boat ramp, near the mouth of of Hells Canyon, the river will also offer a two-hatchery-steelhead limit, though any longer than 28 inches must be released.

That’s to protect expected low returns of B-runs headed back to Idaho rivers.

Above Couse Creek, any hatchery steelhead can be retained, daily limit two.

Idaho managers are also mulling easing restrictions.

Going into this year’s season, Washignton’s fishing regs pamphlet listed a three-hatchery-steelhead limit on most of the rivers, except the Snake where fall season was yet to be determined.

Though this year’s A-run of steelhead is still well below average, it’s not looking as critically poor as it was in midsummer, when dam counts suggested we might only see 54,000 back.

That led Washington, Oregon and Idaho managers to chop bag limits or switch to catch-and-release-only fishing in the Snake and its tributaries.

But since then more have been counted at Bonneville Dam, and the preseason forecast of 112,100 has just about been met and will probably be exceeded.

“These measures will help ensure that sufficient numbers of wild and hatchery fish return to their natal streams,” said Chris Donley, WDFW regional fisheries manager. “But we’ll continue to monitor the steelhead run over the coming months, and either curtail the harvest of steelhead if needed, or provide more harvest opportunity if possible.”

Along with bag limit tweaks, the mandatory steelhead retention rule will be waived on Washington waters, but anglers will need to quit for the day after keeping two.

Idaho Mulls Clearwater, Snake Keeper Steelhead Season

Inland Northwest steelheaders may get a keeper season after all.

With enough A-run hatchery fish now expected back to Idaho to meet broodstock goals, managers there are asking for feedback on a proposal to open a season though with a reduced bag limit and maximum size restriction on prime waters.

IDFG says that there will be a surplus of 22,000 of the smaller summer-runs and is taking comment on a plan to open the Clearwater system and lower Snake for the harvest of up to just two a day, neither of which could be longer than 28 inches.

A PROPOSAL FROM IDAHO BIOLOGISTS WOULD OPEN RETENTION ON A-RUN STEELHEAD, BUT REDUCED THE USUAL LIMIT FROM THREE TO TWO. (BRIAN LULL)

That’s an attempt to prevent overharvesting as well as get as many of the bigger B-runs — both hatchery and wild — back as possible.

Idaho’s upper Snake and rivers further up Hells Canyon may be opened too with the same bag, but the size restriction would be shed from the Couse Creek ramp on the Washington side, upstream.

In a normal year, the daily limit is three hatchery steelhead and no size restriction.

Washington steelhead managers are also watching developments.

“We’re waiting to follow Idaho’s lead,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Madonna Luers, who added it may be a couple weeks before a decision is made, per a report by Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune.

This year’s worst-in-40-years Inland Northwest steelhead forecast of 112,000 initially sparked fishery restrictions all the way down to the mouth of the Columbia, inside cool-water refuges in the lower river and gorge, as well as the Snake and its tributaries.

With July dam counts just fractions of average and a dire mid-August inseason update of just roughly 60,000, those looked more than warranted. IDFG closed retention before any fish got anywhere near the Gem State.

State biologists now say that 113,000 steelhead are expected to return past Bonneville Dam this year — still very low, relatively speaking, but they took the fishery proposal to the Fish and Game Commission yesterday.

The panel wanted to consider public comment. To see their pitch, and to comment, go here.

Public input is being taken through Oct. 10.

Meanwhile, the commission went ahead and approved a coho season on the Clearwater and its North and South Forks, daily limit two and a season limit of 10. IDFG says there are enough of the Nez Perce-reintroduced salmon to meet hatchery needs and provide a “modest” fishery.

ODFW Also Reducing NE OR Steelhead Limits, Optimistically Calls It ‘Temporary’

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

Bag limits for hatchery summer steelhead will be reduced to one fish per day for the Grande Ronde and Imnaha Rivers when the season opens on Friday, Sept. 1. In addition, there will be no harvest allowed in the mainstem Snake River but catch-and-release will be allowed.

AS INLAND NORTHWEST STEELHEAD MANAGERS ELSEWHERE ARE DOING, ODFW IS LOWERING LIMITS ON THE IMNAHA RIVER AS WELL AS GRANDE RONDE, AND INSTITUTING CATCH-AND-RELEASE-ONLY REGS ON THE SNAKE AS PART OF A “TEMPORARY” MEASURE DUE TO LOW RETURNS. (ROGER PETERSON, USFS)

Fishery managers decided to reduce the bag limit to correspond with the historically low Columbia River steelhead counts observed in 2017. As of Aug. 28, only 70,000 hatchery and 25,000 wild steelhead had passed Bonneville Dam, which is only 30 percent of the most recent 10-year average. The catch-and-release regulations in the Snake River mirror those implemented by the state of Idaho on Aug. 17, which restricted steelhead fishing to catch-and-release statewide.

Oregon officials expect the reduced bag limits to be temporary, but support a conservative start to the season when facing a hatchery and wild steelhead run this low. “Despite the poor outlook, our current estimates suggest enough fish will return to sustain hatchery programs and provide fish for recreational harvest,” said Jeff Yanke, ODFW District Fish Biologist in Enterprise. “A one-fish limit allows for a small level of harvest, but also prevents a situation where anglers are forced to put back an injured hatchery fish.”

Managers will hold off on further changes until more of the steelhead run arrives closer to home. So far, only 5 percent of Grande Ronde and Imnaha steelhead have moved upstream of the Columbia River. Yanke expects to have a much clearer picture by late October.

“This is the lowest run we’ve seen in decades, but I’d encourage anglers not to panic and give up on fishing this year. Coupled with the right river conditions, even in a low run year, we can still have a worthwhile steelhead fishery,” Yanke added. “Folks will just need to have a little more patience, and that is one quality steelhead anglers always bring to the river.”

SE WA Steelheading Restrictions Taking Effect Sept. 1

Though steelhead counts downstream are picking up from a very bad runsize update earlier this month, Washington managers are restricting fisheries in the state’s southeast corner.

The Snake River will only be open for catch and release fishing for the species, while limits on the Walla Walla, Touchet, Tucannon and most of the Grande Ronde are being reduced to one hatchery steelhead a day because of a very low return.

FOR THE TIME BEING, GRANDE RONDE STEELHEADERS FISHING ABOVE THE COUNTY BRIDGE NEAR THE MOUTH WILL BE LIMITED TO ONE HATCHERY STEELHEAD A DAY, THOUGH MANDATORY RETENTION HAS BEEN WAIVED FOR THIS DESTINATION FISHERY. ERIC STEIN CAUGHT THIS NICE SUMMER-RUN BELOW COTTONWOOD A FEW YEARS BACK. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

The changes, which also include waiving of the mandatory retention rule, take effect Sept. 1 and are posted on WDFW’s emergency rule-change notices page.

In mid-August, steelhead managers updated this year’s already low forecast of 112,100 A-runs to just 54,000,

“With a significant reduction to the preseason forecast for Group A steelhead reducing bag limits will minimize impacts to natural origin fish and assure that WDFW will meet broodstock needs for the hatchery program,” the agency explained.

Since that runsize update, however, counts at Bonneville Dam have improved and now sit at 66,933, a figure that includes mostly As but now-arriving Bs as well.

It is also still just a third of the 10-year average through Aug. 28 of 222,333, and it’s the fewest through that date since 1978.

WDFW says it will monitor the run to see if it improves and can offer more opportunities.

Hells Yeah, WA Snake Opening For Fall Kings From Mouth Into Canyon

THE FOLLOWING IS A WDFW EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICE

Snake River to open for fall chinook salmon fishing

Action: The Snake River will open for harvest of fall chinook salmon.

HATCHERY FALL CHINOOK WILL BE FAIR GAME ON WASHINGTON’S SNAKE RIVER BETWEEN THE MOUTH AND UP INTO HELLS CANYON. BILL STANLEY OF SPOKANE LANDED THIS ONE BELOW LOWER GRANITE DAM A FEW SEASONS BACK. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Locations: The Snake River from the mouth (Burbank-to-Pasco railroad bridge at Snake River mile 1.25) to the Oregon state line (approximately seven miles upstream of the mouth of the Grande Ronde River).

Dates:  Aug. 18 through Oct. 31, 2017.

Species affected: Chinook salmon.

Reason for action: The 2017 Columbia River forecasted return of upriver bright adults is 260,000, with a significant portion of these fish expected to return to the Snake River. Retention of hatchery fall chinook is not expected to increase impacts to ESA-listed wild fall chinook. Therefore, hatchery fall chinook, marked by a clipped adipose fin, and all jack chinook over 12 inches can be retained in the Snake River.

Daily limits: The salmon daily harvest limit is six (6) hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) fall chinook adults (24 inches in length and larger) and 6 clipped or unclipped jack fall chinook (less than 24 inches). Minimum size for chinook that can be retained in the Snake River is 12 inches. Anglers must cease fishing for salmon and steelhead once they have retained their daily limit of either steelhead or adult salmon.

Other information: The fishery is open seven days per week. Adipose fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin.  All adult chinook and steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed. WDFW is requiring that all Washington licensed anglers cease fishing for the day once they have retained their daily limit of either steelhead or adult salmon as a method to reduce catch and release mortality on steelhead. In addition, anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for chinook or steelhead in the Snake River. Anglers cannot remove any chinook or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.  Anglers should be sure to identify their catch because returning unmarked chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead are also in the Snake River during this fishery.

Anglers are reminded the Snake River is closed to steelhead fishing from Bridge St. Bridge in Clarkston to the Oregon/Idaho Border. WDFW is working with Idaho Fish and Game to set a steelhead fishery on this section of the river by Sept. 1.

Low returns of steelhead have been predicted for the Snake River and tributaries for this return year. Low adult steelhead abundance may create the need for fishery closures to minimize angling impacts.  Anglers should continue to check emergency regulations for new and changing seasons. In addition, anglers are reminded to refer to the 2017/2018 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other rules and regulations.

Snake’s Boyer Park Tops Again For Pikeminnow Removers

Boyer Park on the Snake below Lower Granite Dam maintained its grip as the most productive midsummer spot for pikeminnow for the fourth week in a row with a haul of 1,345 qualifying fish last week.

Though the July 24-30 catch is also down from the previous week, it’s still nearly 575 more than the second best station, Greenbelt, also on the Snake, where 774 were brought in for the sport reward program.

A MAP ON PIKEMINNOW.ORG SHOWS HOT SPOTS AROUND BOYER PARK, WHICH IS BELOW LOWER GRANITE DAM ON THE SNAKE RIVER. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

Coming in third and fourth were two Lower Columbia stations: Cathlamet, with 701, and Kalama, with 510, according to the latest figures from program manager Eric Winther.

Winther also reported that this year’s fishery will now run all the way through Sept. 30. There had been some question whether funding would be available after Aug. 31.

The week’s overall catch was 6,468, down from 7,148.

Lyons Ferry had the highest catch per angler, with 20.2 for the six participants, followed by 17.3 at Giles French and 14.2 at Beacon Rock.

The overall average per angler was 6.3 pikeminnows for 1,024 participants, up about half a fish a fisherman over the previous week.

Six specially tagged pikeminnow were turned in last week, with two at Cathlamet, and one each at Gleason, Chinook Landing, Giles French and Greenbelt.

All totaled, 127,482 qualifying pikeminnow have been removed from the Columbia and Snake since the start of season May 1.

The Dalles has been most productive, with 43,847, followed by Boyer Park at 15,399 and Columbia Point at 14,933.

Average catch is 6.9, with a range from 10.7 at The Dalles to 1.5 at Umatilla.

Just under 210 tagged fish have been turned in.

Effort is 18,548 on the season.

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

For more details, including fishing maps, check out pikeminnow.org.

Pikeminnow Catches Dipping On Columbia, Snake

Pikeminnow catches dropped by more than 1,700 last week over the previous one, with 7,148 brought to stations on the Columbia and Snake Rivers July 17-23.

That figure is also less than half of what it was a month ago but reflective of the typical seasonal lull in the fishery that pays anglers to remove the native species that preys on young salmon and steelhead in the Columbia hydropower system.

THE PIKEMINNOW SPORT REWARD PROGRAM OFFERS INCENTIVES TO CATCH THE SPECIES FROM THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA UP TO TRI-CITIES, AND IN THE SNAKE FROM TRI-CITIES UP TO CLARKSTON. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

For the third straight week, Boyer Park on the Snake below Lower Granite Dam retained its spot as most productive, with a haul of 1,771 qualifying fish,

That’s nearly 1,000 more than the second best station, Greenbelt, also on the Snake, where 787 were brought in, according to the latest figures from program manager Eric Winther.

Coming in third was The Dalles, with 675, then Cathlamet, on the Lower Columbia, with 622.

Giles French had the highest catch per angler, with 15.2 for the 38 participants, followed by 9.3 at Cascade Locks and 8.9 at Boyer Park.

The overall average per angler was 5.8 pikeminnow for 1,235 participants, down about a fish a fisherman over the previous week.

Eight specially tagged pikeminnow were turned in last week, up from five the week before, with three at Columbia Point, and one each at Cathlamet, Gleason, Washougal, The Dalles and Greenbelt.

All totaled, 121,014 qualifying pikeminnow have been removed from the Columbia and Snake since the start of season May 1.

The Dalles has been most productive, with 43,613, followed by Columbia Point at 14,681 and Boyer Park 14,054.

Average catch is 6.9, with a range from 11.0 at The Dalles to 1.5 at Willow Grove and Umatilla.

Just over 200 tagged fish have been turned in.

Effort is 17,524 on the season.

The sport reward program pays anglers from $5 to $8 per pikeminnow, with tagged ones worth $500.

For more details, including fishing maps, check out pikeminnow.org.

Snake’s Boyer Park Again Tops Among Pikeminnow Stations

Pikeminnow catches dipped below five figures for the first week since mid-May, with 8,867 brought to stations on the Columbia and Snake last week.

For the second straight week, Boyer Park retained its spot as most productive, with a July 10-16 haul of 2,762 qualifying fish, more than twice as many as The Dalles, where 1,140 were brought in, according to the latest figures from program manager Eric Winther

A MAP ON PIKEMINNOW.ORG SHOWS HOT SPOTS AROUND BOYER PARK, WHICH IS BELOW LOWER GRANITE DAM ON THE SNAKE RIVER. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

Coming in third was Cathlamet, on the Lower Columbia, with 785, then Greenbelt, outside Clarkston, with 710.

Both the rise of Boyer and downtrending of the overall catch are typical for this time of year.

Boyer Park again had the highest catch per angler, with 11.7 for the 236 participants, down from an even 16.0 the previous week, followed by 10.2 at both Ridgefield and Washougal.

The overall average per angler was 6.9 pikeminnow for 1,279 participants.

All totaled, 113,866 qualifying pikeminnow that have been removed from the Columbia and Snake since the start of season May 1. The Dalles has been most productive, with 42,991, followed by Columbia Point at 14,329 and Boyer Park 12,288.

Five specially tagged pikeminnow were caught last week, down from 15 the week before, but with two at Washougal, and one each at Rainier, Ridgefield and Boyer Park.

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.

Pikeminnow Catch Tops 100,000 For The Season So Far

Pikeminnow catches have topped the 100,000-fish mark for the season as the sport reward program yielded 10,082 last week, as well as a new top station.

Anglers turned in the most fish at Boyer Park, on the Snake, taking over from The Dalles station on the Columbia, which had otherwise been most productive every week since the May 1 start of the fishery.

THE PIKEMINNOW SPORT REWARD PROGRAM OFFERS INCENTIVES TO CATCH THE SPECIES FROM THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA UP TO TRI-CITIES, AND IN THE SNAKE FROM TRI-CITIES UP TO CLARKSTON. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

According to the latest figures from program manager Eric Winther, 3,065 qualifying pikeminnows came in to Boyer Park from July 3-9, 1,798 to The Dalles and 1,099 to Columbia Point, near the confluence of the two rivers.

Boyer Park also had the highest catch per angler, with 16.0 for the 191 participants, followed by 11.3 at Giles French and 8.9 for The Dalles.

But The Dalles can still account for 41,851 of the 104,999 qualifying pikeminnow that have been removed from the Columbia and Snake since the start of season.

And that’s the most there since the 2006 season concluded.

Fifteen specially tagged pikeminnow were caught last week, with six of those turned in at The Dalles, three at Columbia Point, two at Cascade Locks, and one each at Kalama, Gleason, Boyer Park and Greenbelt.

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.

Pikeminnow Catches Surge Past 80,000-Fish Mark For Reward Season

Pikeminnow catches jumped sharply over the previous week on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, with 14,540 qualifying fish brought in for the sport reward program June 19-25.

That’s the most so far for any week since fishing began May 1, and 3,500-plus fish more than the 10,950 brought in June 12-18.

Part of the surge came from The Dalles station, which again recorded the highest number overall, with 5,446 checked, up from 3,915 the week before.

A MAP ON PIKEMINNOW.ORG SHOWS THE LOCATION OF TRADITIONALLY GOOD SPOTS, THOUGH IN THIS HIGH-WATER YEAR, THOSE COULD BE DIFFERENT. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

That also brings this year’s The Dalles haul of 37,047 to within, possibly, a week of topping the station’s entire 2016 tally, but fishing has to stay strong to match 2004’s high mark of 54,428.

Action also improved on the Snake, where Boyer Park took in 1,864 pikeminnow, an increase of 50 percent, and Columbia Point Park, at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia, saw 1,472.

Kalama again saw the highest catch per registered angler of the week, with 26 fishermen accounting for 192 pikeminnow, an average of 18.9 fish each, a slight dropoff from the previous week’s 20.0 per.

Other stations seeing relatively high catch per angler include The Dalles (16.1), Bingen (13.8) and Beacon Rock (11.9).

Fourteen specially tagged pikeminnow were caught last week, with  six of those turned in at The Dalles, three at Columbia Point, two at Chinook Landing and Boyer Park, and one at Bingen.

Since the 2017 season started May 1, 83,375 qualifying pikeminnow have been removed from the Columbia and Snake, 83,894 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.