Tag Archives: sockeye

WDFW Rolls Out Upper Columbia Chinook Closures, Sockeye Limit Bump

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

Salmon limits revised on Columbia River, tributaries between Priest Rapids Dam and Chief Joseph Dam

Action:

  • Release all adult chinook salmon
  • Increase daily sockeye limit to 3 fish

Species affected: Adult chinook salmon and sockeye.

BREWSTER POOL AND OTHER UPPER COLUMBIA SALMON ANGLERS WILL NEED TO RELEASE CHINOOK STARTING JULY 16, A DAY AFTER THE QUOTA UNDER A LOWER FORECAST IS EXPECTED TO BE MET, BUT CAN CONTINUE FISHING FOR UP TO THREE SOCKEYE A DAY UNDER AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE FROM WDFW. (BRIAN LULL)

Locations and effective dates:

  • Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through August 31. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15.  Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge at Brewster: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through August 31. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained.  Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Hwy 173 Bridge at Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Wenatchee River (mouth to Icicle Road bridge): August 1 through September 30. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Chelan River (from railroad bridge upstream to Chelan P.U.D. safety barrier below the powerhouse): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 31: Daily limit 4 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Okanogan River (from mouth upstream to Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye.  Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Okanogan River (from Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth to the second Hwy. 97 Bridge in Oroville): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through September 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Similkameen River (from mouth upstream to 400 feet below Enloe Dam): July 16 through September 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

Reason for action: The summer chinook run was downsized to a total of 44,000, which is 35% below the preseason forecast. This reduction in the chinook run decreased the allowable catch in recreational fisheries above Priest Rapids Dam. Anglers are expected to catch their allocation by July 15, 2018.

Additional information: 

The decline in this year’s projected summer chinook run size also prompted the closure of summer chinook fisheries below Priest Rapids Dam earlier this month. The following sportfishing seasons are in effect for salmon and steelhead on the mainstem Columbia River:

Megler-Astoria Bridge to Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco: Salmon and steelhead, July 7-July 31: Daily limit 6, up to 2 adult salmon or hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack chinook and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam: Salmon, July 7-August 15: Daily limit 6, up to 2 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack chinook and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

The Entiat River salmon season will remain unchanged and as described in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. The fall chinook seasons between Priest Rapids Dam and Rock Island Dam will remain unchanged and as described in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. Anglers are reminded that the Colville Confederated Tribe will be out capturing chinook for hatchery broodstock with their purse seiner.

Information contact: Region 2-Ephrata (509) 754-4624 or Wenatchee (509) 662-0452

 

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.

 

It’s Official! Columbia Sockeye Will Open, Tho Kings To Close Below Bonneville

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

Starting July 1, anglers can catch and keep sockeye salmon on the Columbia River, but will be required to release any chinook salmon they intercept downriver from Bonneville Dam.

ANGLERS WILL BE ABLE TO KEEP SOCKEYE IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER UP THROUGH THE BREWSTER POOL, WHERE THESE WERE CAUGHT BY BROTHERS AND A FRIEND OF GUIDE DON TALBOT A FEW SEASONS AGO. (DONSFISHINGGUIDESERVICE.COM)

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today agreed to modify fishing rules in joint waters of the Columbia, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) followed up by extending the sockeye fishery upstream to Chief Joseph Dam.

Before the season got underway, both states agreed to forgo scheduling any sockeye fisheries on the Columbia River due to low projected returns, especially those to the Wenatchee River.

However, an updated run forecast now projects that 209,000 sockeye will return this year – up from the 99,000 previously estimated – providing a sufficient number of fish for recreational fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia, said Bill Tweit, a WDFW special assistant.

“It’s always exciting to see salmon come in above the pre-season forecast,” Tweit said. “Sockeye can be elusive in the lower river, but anglers generally do well fishing for them from the Tri-Cities to Brewster.”

Snake River fisheries remain closed to protect Snake River sockeye listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

While the preseason forecast for summer chinook has not yet been updated, Tweit said current data indicate that chinook returns are tracking about 20 percent below the initial projection of 67,300 adult fish. That prompted fishery managers to close the lower Columbia River summer chinook season four days earlier than previously scheduled.

“Based on the low catches to date above Bonneville, we decided to close the chinook fishery in the lower river but leave it open upriver from the dam,” Tweit said.

Starting July 1, anglers fishing from the Megler-Astoria Bridge to Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River can still catch a total of six salmon/steelhead a day. The daily limit for adult fish in those waters is two adult sockeye salmon or hatchery adult steelhead, or one of each. Anglers can round out their daily six-fish limit with hatchery jack chinook salmon.

For more information and details on daily limits in each section of the river, see the Fishing Rule Change at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

With More Columbia Sockeye Than Forecasted Back, Fisheries May Open

Yesterday’s doubling of the sockeye forecast has Washington fishery managers mulling openers on portions of the Columbia River, a “good thing” in a year when angling for the stock was scheduled to stay closed due to a low return.

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

More definitive details are expected from WDFW tomorrow, but the run has now surpassed the preseason prediction of 99,000.

Thanks to five straight 10,000-plus-fish days, the running tally sits at just under 104,000, with 209,000 red salmon now expected back to the Okanogan/Okanagan River, Wenatchee River, Central Idaho, Deschutes and Yakima.

The lion’s share is likely bound for the Canadian side of the transnational river, and while nothing is set in stone, it’s possible that we could see fisheries from the Brewster and Wells Pools on downstream in the Columbia.

Two sets of five-day-a-week tribal fisheries in the eastern Columbia Gorge pools began last week.

As for whether the popular Lake Wenatchee fishery opens, that is most dependent on passage at Tumwater Dam, where sockeye returns typically peak in mid-July, depending on water temperatures.

Keep an eye on WDFW’s emergency rule-change notices page for the official word.

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (6-25-18)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT ORIGINATED WITH WDFW AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

BONUS FACTOIDS – The 4.9 million shad counted at Bonneville Dam through June 24th are the second highest on record.  The record are the 5.06 million fish counted through June 24, 2004.  However, this year’s run still remains strong with 262,000-380,000 shad counted daily at the dam this past week.  The record total of nearly 5.4 million fish counted in 2004 could fall in the next couple days!

A BIG RUN OF SHAD YIELDED WHAT’S BELIEVED TO BE THE SECOND HIGHEST SPORT CATCH SINCE 1969. (ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS)

The nearly 91,000 sockeye counted at Bonneville Dam through June 24 have almost met the pre-season forecast of 99,000 fish for 2018.  In fact, they are the 7th highest on record thru June 24th!

Salmon/Steelhead

Elochoman River – 15 bank anglers kept 6 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream:  6 bank rods had no catch.  Above the I-5 Br:  5 bank rods had no catch.   51 boat rods kept 26 steelhead.

Kalama River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.Lewis River (mainstem) – 3 boat anglers kept 1 steelhead.

Wind River – 3 boat rods had no catch.

Drano Lake – 9 boat rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead.

Wind River and Drano Lake – At Wind River, June 30 is the last day to fish for spring Chinook above Shipherd Falls. It is also the last day for the two-poles, boat limits, and barbed hooks for both Wind River and Drano Lake. Drano Lake will be open 7 days per week beginning July 1 and the bank only area near the mouth will be open for boats.

Klickitat River – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Megler-Astoria Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam – Since the hatchery adult summer Chinook opener on June 22, bank anglers from Kalama upstream are catching some fish; boat anglers are catching fish more spread throughout the lower river.  Almost equal numbers of summer steelhead are also being handled.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Light 85 line downstream – Light effort and catch during the current catch-and-release only fishery.

Trout

4,500 catchable size rainbow trout were planted in Mayfield Lake on June 20.  No report on angling success.

Shad

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Based on mainly incomplete trips, bank anglers just below the dam averaged 4 shad per rod while boat anglers averaged nearly 14 fish per rod based on completed trips the past few days.

Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools, SW WA Fishing Report (6-18-18)

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

Columbia River Angling Report

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

On Saturday’s (6/16) flight, 113 salmonid boats and 52 Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Astoria-Megler Bridge to Bonneville Dam.  Boat anglers fishing in the Goble to Beaver area, averaged 2.40 steelhead and 0.60 sockeye caught per boat.  Bank anglers fishing the Portland to Westport area, averaged 0.04 Chinook and 0.13 steelhead caught per angler.

STURGEON RETENTION ON THE LOWER COLUMBIA ENDED EARLIER THIS MONTH, BUT NOT BEFORE ELISE PASSMORE CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE SECOND TO LAST DAY OF THE SEASON BELOW CATHLAMET. CATCH-AND-RELEASE REMAINS OPEN. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed no catch for six salmonid bank anglers; and 1,844 shad kept, plus 92 shad released for 176 shad anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed 220 shad kept, plus 50 shad released for five boats (18 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for three salmonid boats (four anglers); and two shad kept for one boat (three anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed four steelhead kept, plus two adult Chinook and two steelhead released for 46 bank anglers.

Portland to St. Helens Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for three salmonid boats (nine anglers); and one shad kept for one boat (two anglers).

Goble to Beaver (Clatskanie) Boats: Weekend checking showed eight steelhead kept, plus four steelhead and three sockeye released for five boats (20 anglers).

Wauna Powerlines to Clatsop Spit Bank: No report.

Westport to Buoy 10 Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for five boats (16 anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for 10 salmonid bank anglers; and no catch for two salmonid boats (five anglers).  Shad anglers caught 98 shad for 53 bank anglers, and 12 shad for one boat (three anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for two salmonid bank anglers; and no catch for 10 salmonid boats (16 anglers).  Shad anglers caught 28 shad for six bank anglers, and 54 shad for two boats (10 anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for two salmonid bank anglers; and three adult Chinook kept, plus one coho released for 12 salmonid boats (25 anglers).  Shad anglers caught 2,065 shad for 61 boats (200 anglers).

STURGEON

Gorge Boats:  Closed for retention. No report.

Troutdale Boats:  Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed one sublegal sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

Portland to Wauna Powerlines Boats:  Closed for retention. No report.

Wauna Powerlines to Clatsop Spit Bank:  Closed for retention. No report.

Buoy 10 to Wauna Powerlines Boats:  Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed 15 sublegal and 15 oversize sturgeon released for one boat (four anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed six legal white sturgeon kept, plus 20 sublegal and six oversize sturgeon released for 42 bank anglers; and 99 legal white sturgeon kept, plus 796 sublegal, nine legal and 22 oversize sturgeon released for 94 boats (253 anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed three legal white sturgeon kept, plus 12 sublegal sturgeon released for 14 bank anglers; and 24 legal white sturgeon kept, plus 228 sublegal, five legal and 14 oversize sturgeon released for 21 boats (67 anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed four sublegal, eight legal and nine oversize sturgeon released for six boats (21 anglers).

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: Weekly checking showed no catch for one boat (three anglers).

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed 43 walleye kept, plus three walleye released for 11 boats (25 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed 109 walleye kept, plus 19 walleye released for 30 boats (91 anglers).

Washington Columbia River mainstem and its tributaries sport sampling summaries for June 11-17

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br. downstream:  6 bank anglers had no catch.  Above the I-5 Br:  17 bank anglers released 2 cutts.  25 boat anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 11 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 83 spring Chinook adults, 40 summer-run steelhead,  and one winter-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Tacoma Power also released ten spring Chinook adults into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, June 18. Water visibility is 15 feet and the water temperature is 49.9 degrees F.

Kalama River – 6 bank anglers had no catch. 6 boat anglers kept 3 steelhead.

Lewis River (North Fork) – 15 bank anglers had no catch.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Megler-Astoria Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam – Up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained.  Release all sockeye.  Fishing at night is permitted in Washington waters.  Release all adult Chinook through June 21 and July 5-31.

Sturgeon

Bonneville and The Dalles pools – During the one-day retention fishery last Friday, boat anglers averaged just over a legal kept per boat from each pool..   Bank anglers averaged a legal kept per every 7 rods in Bonneville Pool and one for every 4 rods in The Dalles Pool.

Trout

Tacoma Power released 5,200 rainbow trout into Mayfield Lake.  No report on angling success.

Shad

Bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam averaged 4 shad per rod based on mainly incomplete trips while boat anglers averaged just over 8 fish per rod based on completed trips this past weekend.

Nearly 2.6 million shad had been counted at Bonneville Dam through June 17.  .

Last Chance To Save Lake Washington Sockeye Fisheries?

Too few young sockeye are surviving as they rear in Lake Washington before going out to sea, and the runs — not to mention the famed salmon fisheries — could peter out in 20 years or so if nothing’s done.

SOCKEYE SMOLTS FACE AN INCREASING HOST OF PREDATORS IN LAKE WASHINGTON (THESE WERE PHOTOGRAPHED IN IDAHO), INCLUDING NATIVE SPECIES SUCH AS CUTTHROAT TROUT AND NORTHERN PIKEMINNOW, AND NONNATIVE ONES SUCH AS SMALLMOUTH, LARGEMOUTH AND ROCK BASS, YELLOW PERCH, AND NOW WALLEYE AND NORTHERN PIKE. (MIKE PETERSON, IDFG VIA NMFS, FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0)

That’s according to modeling put together by Dr. Neala Kendall, a WDFW research scientist, and shared for the first time publicly last night.

“Our analysis suggests that only small numbers of sockeye salmon will persist in Lake Washington under current conditions, much less provide future opportunities for tribal and recreational fisheries,” read one of her slides.

“Maintaining the run and restoring fisheries will be very challenging but not impossible,” it also said.

Kendall was presenting to 50 to 60 anglers and members of the Cedar River Council who’d gathered in a banquet room at Renton’s Maplewood Golf Course on an unusually warm evening for April.

The findings were grim news for the fishermen and state managers, as there are few salmon seasons as popular — or that provide the local economic jolt — as Lake Washington sockeye.

It’s been 12 years since the last one, held in 2006 after “insanely high” ocean survival for that year-class of fish brought home one out of every two smolts that left the lake.

RUB A DUB DUB! THREE MEN TROLL FOR SOCKEYE DURING THE 2006 LAKE WASHINGTON SEASON, WHICH YIELDED THE HIGHEST CATCH IN A DECADE BUT HAS ALSO BEEN THE ONLY FISHERY IN A DOZEN YEARS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Despite the promise and production of the new Seattle Public Utilities hatchery on the Cedar River, returns have only averaged 84,000 since then, with even the best of those years more than 200,000 fish shy of the mark to open the lake.

Aaron Bosworth, the state district fisheries biologist, was also on hand and said that smolt survival is now not only lower than it used to be but well below what it is to the north of the continent’s southernmost sockeye system, 2 to 4 percent versus 16 to 20 percent.

As for why that is, Bosworth said that University of Washington studies have ruled out forage and competition — there’s enough zooplankton in the lake to support the pelagic salmon as well as the huge biomass of longfin smelt.

A big and increasing problem is prespawn mortality on returning adults.

His data showed that between 1995 and 2013, from 45 to 85 percent of the sockeye that went through the locks turned up in the Cedar River. But since 2014 only 20 to 33 percent have. That may be function of warm waters in the ship canal making less-healthy fish more susceptible to disease. With the stock comprised of roughly 60 percent natural-origin fish, fewer spawners produce less eggs overall.

SOCKEYE MANAGERS SAY THAT THE PAST FOUR RETURNS OF SALMON THROUGH THE LAKE WASHINGTON SHIP CANAL (BACKGROUND) HAVE SEEN ABNORMALLY HIGH MORTALITY, WITH 67 TO 80 PERCENT OF THE FISH NOT SHOWING UP IN THE CEDAR RIVER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Still, the “leading theory” now for why the runs aren’t better is predation by native cutthroat trout and northern pikeminnow, as well as nonnative species such as largemouth, smallmouth — Lake Washington was rated as the West’s eighth best for bass by Bassmaster as recently as 2016 — rock bass and perch.

The latter stocks might not eat as many smolts as the former, but they do exacerbate the problem, Bosworth said. With a warming climate, they’ll only do better too, it’s assumed.

Another invasive, walleye, are also now being found in the lake, and earlier this year a bass angler caught but unfortunately released a pike, the second known northern here in the past 15 months.

But sockeye snackers are also getting a helping hand from humanity.

Amy Windrope, who was WDFW’s director for the North Sound region before named acting deputy director for the agency, brought up a factor she’d heard a person in the audience mention: light pollution.

Essentially, between sunset and sunrise, all the bulbs we turn on to light the streets and highways, our sideyards, parking lots and more, create an overhead aura that has benefited the fish-eaters to the detriment of young sockeye as well as Chinook.

Kendall said that the effect has extended the time that salmon smolts are visible through the night, making them more vulnerable to predation and providing fewer hours for them to eat without risk.

Scott Stolnack, a King County watershed ecologist, said data showed that 20 years ago there was a definite period when cutthroat were not feeding, but for the past five years, their stomachs are now full at all hours.

“It’s always dusk for cutthroat,” he said.

Driving home afterwards as night fell on Seattle, that really hit home for me.

As I crossed the bridge between Bellevue and Mercer Island, I looked to the south and saw a particularly bright bank of big lights by the lake. And zipping along Interstates 405, 90 and 5 while illuminated for vehicle safety from above, it was like me and the other cars were smolts, any staters in the shadows cutts.

The question of the night really boiled down to: Do we want to do something about this in hopes of having sockeye fisheries again, and if so, What is that path?

Kendall’s modeling suggests the best way would be increasing survival of the young salmon, and that lifting it to rates of 4 to 8 percent yields a good response.

DR. NEALA KENDALL EXPLAINS LAKE WASHINGTON SOCKEYE MODELING. A MODEL SUGGESTS THAT INCREASING SMOLT SURVIVAL WILL HELP REBUILD THE SALMON’S POPULATION OVER TIME. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

She did face questions from the audience about how confident she was in her work, which is based on current conditions continuing.

Tom Allyn, vice chair of the Cedar River Council, wanted to know how much increasing survival and other tweaks might cost.

When fellow panel member and sportfishing advocate Frank Urabeck called for a show of support for asking WDFW to crunch the numbers, most if not all fishermen raised their hands.

In other words, for our part we’re not ready to give up on the salmon.

“After having heard how difficult a challenge it will be to restore Lake Washington sockeye sport fisheries, the public attending the meeting last night overwhelmingly voted for us to continue to see if that can be done,” said Urabeck. “This means convincing the Department of Fish and Wildlife and other entities like the Muckleshoot Tribe, King County, City of Seattle, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, etc., to engage in a feasibility assessment of a sockeye recovery action plan. I hope that my colleagues on the Cedar River Council will work with me to this end.”

Even as the Muckleshoots plan another year of walleye studies in the lake and WDFW biologists will again sample for diet and abundance of spinyrays in the ship canal, when talk centered around whether there were any current plans to actively remove predators — there are not — one fisherman pointed out, “You have a room full of volunteers.”

More Details On 2018 Columbia Summer, Fall Salmon Seasons

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

Oregon and Washington fishery managers have announced the 2018 summer and fall fisheries for the Columbia River.

MORNING AT “BUOY 10” …  (BRIAN LULL)

This year, anglers will see changes to daily bag limits and fewer fishing days for Chinook salmon due to lower harvest guidelines resulting from below-average salmon and steelhead forecasts.

For the summer season, adult Chinook retention will be limited to June 22 through July 4 from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam. From Bonneville Dam upstream to the Oregon/Washington border, the summer Chinook season is scheduled for June 16 through July 31. The daily adult bag limit for both areas is two hatchery salmonids, which may include up to two Chinook when retention is allowed. Due to projected low escapement, sockeye retention will be prohibited this year.

LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER SALMON ANGLERS FISH BELOW THE LONGVIEW BRIDGE, WHERE JOHN FIELDING SNAPPED THIS ON-THE-WATER SHOT.(DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

The fall seasons will start Aug. 1 based on a projected return of 375,500 fall Chinook, down from 476,100 last year. This year’s forecast includes 205,100 upriver bright Chinook, compared to a return of 296,500 in 2017. Based on this lower forecast, fisheries will be managed for a harvest rate of 8.25 percent, down from 15 percent in the recent years, resulting in shorter fall Chinook retention seasons.

“Through the recent season-setting process, we worked with the public to design fall fisheries within the upriver bright Chinook constraints,” said John North, fisheries manager for ODFW’s Columbia River Program. “Hopefully a run upgrade in mid-September will allow us to liberalize some fisheries and provide additional opportunity.”

COLUMBIA RIVER STEELHEADERS WILL HAVE A ONE-HATCHERY-SUMMER-RUN LIMIT STARTING AUG. 1. (CHRIS SPENCER)

Though improved from last year’s return, predicted steelhead returns remain below average. To reduce harvest, anglers will be limited to one steelhead per day from Aug. 1 to the end of the year.

For more information about upcoming Columbia River seasons, including regulation updates, visit ODFW’s online fishing reports at www.myodfw.com.

The following are detailed regulations for the 2018 Columbia River summer and fall salmon and steelhead seasons:

Summary of 2018

Summer/Fall Salmon and Steelhead Regulations for the mainstem Columbia River

All regulations may be subject to in-season modification

Summer Season (June 16-July 31)

  • Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam

o   Retention of adult hatchery Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed June 22 – July 4 (13 days).

o   Retention of hatchery Chinook jacks and hatchery steelhead allowed June 16 – July 31. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids. Sockeye retention prohibited.

o   All other permanent rules apply.

  • Bonneville Dam upstream to OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam)

o   Retention of adult hatchery Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed June 16 – July 31.

o   Retention of hatchery Chinook jacks and hatchery steelhead allowed June 16 – July 31. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids. Sockeye retention prohibited.

o   All other permanent rules apply.

Fall Seasons (Aug. 1-Dec. 31)

  • Buoy 10

o    Area definition: From the Buoy 10 line upstream to a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington shore through red buoy #44 to red marker #2 at Tongue Point on the Oregon shore.

o    Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (16-inches or longer) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Daily bag limits by time period are described below. All other permanent rules apply.

o    Aug. 1 – Aug. 24: Retention of adult Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed. The daily bag limit is one adult salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, or hatchery steelhead only).

o    Aug. 25 – Sept. 30: Retention of Chinook prohibited. The daily bag limit is two adult hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.

o    Oct. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of Chinook prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained.

  • Lower Columbia: Tongue Point/Rocky Point upstream to Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island

o    Area definition: From a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington shore through red buoy #44 to the red marker #2 at Tongue Point on the Oregon shore upstream to a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore through red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island.

o    Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (longer than 20-inches), and hatchery steelhead allowed. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained. Daily adult bag limits by time period are described below. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.

o    Aug. 1 – Sept. 2: Retention of adult (24-inches or longer) and jack Chinook allowed. The daily adult bag limit is one salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, and hatchery steelhead only).

o    Sept. 3 – Dec. 31: Retention of Chinook (adults and jacks) prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.

  • Lower Columbia: Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island upstream to Bonneville Dam

o    Area definition: From a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore through red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island upstream to Bonneville Dam.

o    Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (longer than 20-inches) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained. Daily adult bag limits by time period are described below. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.

o    Aug. 1 – Sept. 14: Retention of adult (24-inches or longer) and jack Chinook allowed. The daily adult bag limit is one salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, and hatchery steelhead only).

o    Sept. 15 – Dec. 31: Retention of Chinook (adults and jacks) prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.

  • Bonneville Dam upstream to OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam)

o   Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult coho (longer than 20-inches) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Coho jacks may be retained. All coho (adults and jacks) retained downstream of the Hood River Bridge must be hatchery fish. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.

o   Effective Aug. 1, retention of adult Chinook (24-inches or longer) and Chinook jacks allowed but will be managed in-season based on actual catches and the upriver bright fall Chinook run-size. The daily adult bag limit is two salmonids, and may include up to one Chinook and up to one hatchery steelhead.

New Paper: High Numbers Of Pinks, Other Species Could Be Impacting North Pacific Salmon Ecosystem

Along with the possible plight of pinks come potential problems with pinks.

A paper out yesterday suggests that the hundreds of millions of humpbacked salmon, along with chums and sockeye, out there in the North Pacific could be bucking the ecosystem something fierce.

“While it is good that abundance of sockeye, chum, and pink salmon is high, there is growing evidence that this high abundance, especially pink salmon, is impacting the offshore ecosystem of the North Pacific and Bering Sea,” said Dr. Gregory Ruggerone in a press release from the American Fisheries Society.

GRAPHS WITH THE PAPER SHOW ESTIMATED ABUNDANCE OF PINKS, CHUMS AND SOCKEYE IN TERMS OF INDIVIDUAL FISH AND OVERALL BIOMASS. (AMERICAN FISHERIES SOCIETY)

He’s the Seattle-based lead coauthor of “Numbers and Biomass of Natural? and Hatchery?Origin Pink Salmon, Chum Salmon, and Sockeye Salmon in the North Pacific Ocean, 1925–2015,” published in the Society’s journal Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science.

“This impact may be contributing to the decline of higher trophic species of salmon such as Chinook salmon in Alaska. Hatchery salmon are exceptionally abundant now and contribute to this impact,” Ruggerone says.

According to a press release on Ruggerone et al’s paper, there was an average of 721 million pinks, sockeye and chums in the ocean annually between 2005 and 2015, with 70 percent, or 504 million, of those being pinks.

Overall, chums represent the largest biomass, and are mainly produced in Japanese and Russian hatcheries, while Alaskan operations favor pinks and sockeye.

PUGET SOUND PINK SALMON RUNS EXPLODED IN THE EARLY 2000S, BUT THE LAST TWO RUNS HAVE NOT DONE SO WELL. 2017’S BUCKS WERE EASILY TWICE THE SIZE OF 2015’S. THAT DIFFERENCE MIGHT HAVE BEEN DUE TO THE BLOB, BUT COMPETITION FOR FOOD AT SEA WITH LARGE NUMBERS OF NORTHERN STOCKS PLUS CHUMS AND SOCKEYE THEORETICALLY MAY HAVE PLAYED A ROLE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The relative health of salmon populations all has to do with your perspective — down here in the Lower 48 and southern British Columbia, we’d likely argue the opposite — but Nanaimo, BC-based coauthor Jim Irvine wonders if there are now too many in our shared ocean.

“If the North Pacific Ocean is at its carrying capacity with respect to Pacific salmon, the large numbers of pink salmon and chum salmon may be having detrimental effects on growth and survivals of other species,” says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans researcher.

Ruggerone’s and Irvine’s article was published the same day that CBC reported two humpies last fall swam 161 miles further up the Mackenzie River than any others previously recorded, all the way to Fort Good Hope, more than 300 miles upstream of the Arctic Ocean.

It follows on possible Russian pinks colonizing United Kingdom rivers in 2017 too.

The press release from the American Fisheries Society goes on to say:

“High salmon abundances can lead to reduced body size and survival of salmon and lower survival of seabirds. The ocean carrying capacity for Pacific salmon may have been reached in recent decades. Research is needed to better understand the impacts of high salmon abundance on the offshore marine ecosystem, including depleted wild species such as Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout, and some populations of sockeye and chum salmon.”

The authors suggest making all hatchery fish identifiable, estimating catches and escapement for both hatchery and wild stocks, and making that data available to the public.

Western Washington 2018 Salmon Forecasts Out

UPDATED 4:51 P.M., FEB. 27, 2018 WITH WDFW PRESS RELEASE AT BOTTOM

North of Falcon is officially underway.

Well, it has been for a few weeks now as state and tribal salmon managers came up with their 2018 Western Washington Chinook, coho, sockeye and chum forecasts, and those were posted this morning.

KELLY CORCORAN SHOWS OFF A DEEP SOUTH SOUND CHINOOK CAUGHT LAST SEASON. THE 2018 FORECAST FOR PUGET SOUND KINGS IS UP OVER 2017, WITH OVER A QUARTER MILLION HATCHERY AND WILD FISH EXPECTED. (KELLY CORCORAN)

The short and sweet version is that more kings are expected back in Puget Sound compared to last year, and overall coho are on par with 2017.

According to WDFW, 255,219 summer and fall Chinook are expected back to streams between the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mt. Baker and Olympia, up from the expected 193,962 last year.

Generally speaking, the figures are up across the board.

On the coho front, the forecast calls for a grand total of 1,114,104 to Washington, and that’s broken down as 557,149 to Puget Sound rivers, 270,756 to coastal streams and 286,199 to the Columbia.

That compares to 1,143,562, 559,045, 198,115 and 386,401 last year.

Notably, the wild-driven Skagit and Stillaguamish runs are up over 2017, though the Snohomish is down somewhat. Still, they’re much better than what was initially expected in 2016, which saw sharp fishery restrictions to get coho back to the gravel and eventually openers as it became apparent enough were inbound.

Puget Sound fall chums are forecast to again be in abundance, with 1.2 million expected, more than 130,000 more than the 2017 preseason prediction with was way off as far more returned.

Just 39,875 Lake Washington sockeye are expected, down from last year’s forecast and well below the actual return. Around 35,000 Baker River reds are predicted, also down.

More details and press releases as they arrive. In the meanwhile here is Mark Yuasa’s update.

Next steps are for the state and Western Washington tribes to craft proposed fisheries with constituents, negotiate a deal and send the package to federal fishery overseers for approval by mid-April.

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

Projected poor returns of several salmon stocks are expected to limit fishing opportunities in Washington’s waters this year, state salmon managers announced today.

Forecasts for chinook, coho, sockeye, and chum salmon – developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty Indian tribes – were released during a public meeting in Olympia.

The forecast meeting marks the starting point for crafting 2018 salmon-fishing seasons in Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington coastal areas. The annual salmon season-setting process is known as “North of Falcon.” Fishery managers have scheduled a series of public meetings through early April before finalizing seasons later that month.

Kyle Adicks, salmon policy lead for WDFW, said numerous salmon runs are expected to be lower this year compared to last season, including several key chinook and coho stocks. As a result, a number of fishing opportunities from Puget Sound south to the Columbia River will likely be restricted.

“We will definitely have to be creative in developing salmon fisheries this year,” Adicks said. “I encourage people to get involved and provide input on what they see as the priorities for this season’s fisheries.”

Adicks said the low salmon returns are the result of a variety of factors, including another year of poor ocean conditions.

The forecasts are based on varying environmental indicators, such as ocean conditions, as well as surveys of spawning salmon, and the numbeR of juvenile salmon migrating to marine waters.

Columbia River

Roughly 236,500 “upriver brights” are expected to return to areas of the Columbia River above Bonneville Dam. That is down more than 50 percent from the most recent 10-year average.

An estimated 286,200 coho are projected to return to the Columbia River this year, down nearly 100,000 fish from the 2017 forecast. About 279,300 actually returned last year to the river, where some coho stocks are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Some salmon fisheries in the Columbia River will likely be more restrictive than last year, Adicks said.

Washington’s ocean waters

A lower return of coho and chinook to the Columbia River, combined with a poor forecast of coho returning to the Queets River, will likely mean further restrictions to Washington’s ocean salmon fishery as compared to last year, Adicks said.

This year’s forecast of about 112,500 hatchery chinook expected to return to the Columbia River is down more than 50 percent from last year’s forecast. Those hatchery chinook, known as “tules” are the backbone of the recreational ocean fishery.

Puget Sound

The expected return of 557,150 Puget Sound coho is down about 6 percent from the 10-year average. Very low returns to certain areas, such as the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Snohomish River, could limit salmon fishing in those regions.

While the 2018 forecast of 227,400 Puget Sound hatchery chinook is up 38 percent from last year, continued low returns of ESA-listed wild chinook to some rivers will limit fisheries this year.

Conservation objectives

With the population of Puget Sound wild chinook in decline, salmon managers are working to finalize conservation goals for managing chinook fisheries in 2018.

“We’ll have a better idea of how restrictive Puget Sound salmon fisheries will be this year when NOAA provides its guidance in March,” Adicks said.

A 10-year management plan for harvesting Puget Sound chinook is being developed and will likely be submitted to NOAA Fisheries in late summer. More information on the plan can be found on the department’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/chinook/, where WDFW will also post NOAA’s guidance for this year’s fisheries.

NOAA also may ask for additional restrictions on fisheries as the federal agency weighs conservation measures for southern resident killer whales, whose population has been declining along with salmon. State, tribal and federal fish and wildlife managers, together with their Canadian counterparts, are discussing how to recover the whale population. Some options include limiting fisheries, increasing hatchery production for salmon, improving water quality, and reducing boating activities in key killer whale habitat.

Salmon managers will continue to discuss the issue at upcoming meetings.

Also at those meetings, state salmon managers plan to discuss with the public ways to simplify salmon-fishing regulations. Anglers are invited to share ideas for making salmon fishing rules less complex during public meetings or by using an online commenting tool.

Public meetings and comment opportunities

A meeting schedule, salmon forecasts, and information about the salmon season-setting process are available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/. An online commenting tool will be available on the website later this week.

Upcoming meetings include:

  • Ocean options: State, tribal and federal fishery managers will meet March 9-14 in Rohnert Park, Calif., with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) to develop options for this year’s commercial and recreational ocean chinook and coho salmon fisheries. The PFMC establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters 3 to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.
  • Regional discussions: Additional public meetings have been scheduled into April to discuss regional fishery issues. Input from these regional discussions will be considered as the season-setting process moves into the “North of Falcon” and PFMC meetings, which will determine the final 2018 salmon seasons.
  • Final PFMC: The PFMC is expected to adopt final ocean fishing seasons and harvest levels at its April 6-11 meeting in Portland, Ore. The 2018 salmon fisheries package for Washington’s inside waters is scheduled to be completed by the state and tribal co-managers during the PFMC’s April meeting.