Tag Archives: steelhead

Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (4-23-18)

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

Columbia River Angling Report

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Gorge Bank: CLOSED.  No report.

BRENDA SKINNER SHOWS OFF A SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT DURING THE APRIL 14 REOPENER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Gorge Boats (below Beacon Rock): CLOSED.  No report.

Troutdale Boats: CLOSED.  No report.

Portland to Westport Bank: CLOSED.  No report.

Portland to St. Helens Boats: CLOSED.  No report.

Goble to Beaver (Clatskanie) Boats: CLOSED.  No report.

Wauna Powerlines to Clatsop Spit Bank: CLOSED. No report.

Westport to Buoy 10 Boats: CLOSED.  No report.

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for eight bank anglers.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed one adult spring Chinook kept for 13 bank anglers.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for one boat (two anglers).

STURGEON

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

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Closed for retention.  Weekly checking showed four sublegal and two oversize sturgeon released for one boat (four anglers).

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 no catch for one boat (two anglers).

WALLEYE

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

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed one walleye kept for one bank angler; and 20 walleye kept for four boats (10 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed 111 walleye kept, plus 34 walleye released for 57 boats (128 anglers).

Washington Columbia River mainstem and its tributaries sport sampling summaries for April 16-22 + a BONUS FACTOID

BONUS FACTOID – The 551 adult spring Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam through April 22nd are the 2nd lowest on record.  The record low are the 427 adults counted through April 22, 2006.  However, over 126,000 spring Chinook were tallied crossing the dam by the end of that season (June 15, 2006).

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Bridge downstream:  143 bank rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook and 6 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.  18 boat rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook.  Above the I-5 Bridge:  195 bank rods kept 7 adult spring Chinook and 22 steelhead and released 2 steelhead.  91 boat rods kept 3 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook and 20 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 629 winter-run steelhead and 90 spring Chinook adults and two jacks during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released eight winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 66 winter-run steelhead and 23 spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River, near Yellow Jacket Creek.

Tacoma Power also released 14 winter-run steelhead and 20 spring Chinook adults into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,280 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 23. Water visibility is five feet and the water temperature is 42.8 degrees F.

Bank anglers should note the south side of the river from Mill Creek to the Barrier Dam is closed to all fishing from May 1 through June 15 per permanent regulations.

Kalama River – 29 bank anglers kept 1 adult spring Chinook and released 5 steelhead.  10 boat anglers kept 1 adult spring Chinook and released 3 steelhead.

Lewis River mainstem – 39 bank rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook. 16 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook and released 1 adult spring Chinook.

North Fork Lewis River – 56 bank rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook  43 boat rods kept 7 adult spring Chinook and released 1 steelhead

Under current permanent rules, the Lewis (including North Fork) closes for spring Chinook effective May 1.  Also, the area from Johnson Creek upstream to the dam is closed to all fishing during the month of May.

Wind River – 12 boat anglers had no catch.

Effective May 1 through June 30, from the mouth to the Hwy. 14 Bridge each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON/STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily SALMON/STEELHEAD limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. In addition, anglers with a Two-Pole Endorsement may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles during the same period.

Beginning May 1, anti-snagging rule will be in effect from the Hwy. 14 Bridge upstream. When the anti-snagging rule is in effect, only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Wind River from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls upstream to boundary markers approximately 800 yards downstream from Carson National Fish Hatchery (except closed 400 feet below to 100 feet above the Coffer Dam) -From May 1 through June 30, the salmon and steelhead daily limit will be a total of 2 chinook or hatchery steelhead or one of each. Unmarked chinook may be retained in this section of the Wind. Night closure and anti-snagging rule will be in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Drano Lake -2 bank anglers had no catch. 57 boat anglers kept 8 adult spring Chinook

Effective May 1 through June 30, each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON/STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily SALMON/STEELHEAD limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. In addition, anglers with a Two-Pole Endorsement may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles during the same period.

Klickitat River – 5 bank anglers had no catch.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – All fishing for sturgeon will be closed from May 1 through Aug. 31 in the sturgeon sanctuary from Bonneville Dam downstream 9 miles to a line crossing the Columbia River from navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore westerly to the boundary marker on the Washington shore upstream of Fir Point.

Bonneville Pool – Angling for sturgeon will be prohibited from May 1 through July 31 between The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore.

The Dalles Pool -Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from John Day Dam downstream 2.4 miles to the west end of the grain silo at Rufus Oregon May 1 through July 31.

John Day Pool – Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from McNary Dam downstream 1.5 miles to Hwy. 82 (Hwy. 395) Bridge May 1 through July 31.

Trout

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

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish perPound
Hatchery
Notes

KRESS LK (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 16, 2018
Rainbow
3,361
2.31
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

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
Apr 17, 2018
Rainbow
3,000
1.45
VANCOUVER HATCHERY
Tacoma Power released 3,600 rainbow trout into South Lewis County Park Pond.

 

 

ODFW Calls On Congress To Allow Managers To Stop Male Sea Lions From Taking Over Fish Bottlenecks

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

Over 25 California sea lions and an unknown number of Steller sea lions continue to prey on salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and lamprey in the Willamette River this month. Concerns for the wild Willamette winter steelhead remain front and center for ODFW as biologists estimate that California sea lions ate at least 18 percent of the returning adults prior to March, driving this population closer to extinction.

A CALIFORNIA SEA LION CAPTURES A SALMONID BELOW WILLAMETTE FALLS. (BRYAN WRIGHT, ODFW)

In the absence of federal approval to lethally remove the California sea lions at Willamette Falls, ODFW attempted a stop gap program of capturing and relocating sea lions this spring. “It’s our responsibility and mandate from the people of Oregon to ensure these fish runs continue,” said Dr. Shaun Clements, ODFW’s senior policy advisor.   “So it’s incredibly frustrating to us that federal laws prevent us from taking the only steps effective at protecting these fish from predation.”

During the course of five weeks in February and March, ODFW relocated 10 California sea lions to a beach south of Newport. All marked animals returned, most travelling the 210 miles within 4-6 days. One was even captured and relocated to the coast twice, but came back on both occasions. “Clearly our experience on the Willamette River this year demonstrated the  futility of relocating sea lions as a way of stopping them from driving our native fish runs to extinction,” said Clements.

That’s one reason why ODFW has decided to leave its traps on the Willamette and transition sea lion operations to Bonneville – where the agency already has federal authorization to lethally remove sea lions. “It’s disheartening given what’s happening in the Willamette, but we don’t have enough staff to cover both locations so we’re moving to a place where we can be more effective,” said Bryan Wright, ODFW’s Marine Mammal Program Lead.

Currently the run of upper Willamette wild steelhead stands at 1,338, which is slightly higher than in 2017 but still well below historical runs that often topped 10,000. In contrast, the California sea lion population is exceptionally healthy and fluctuates between 250-300,000 animals. According to Wright, “Removing these few male animals that have habituated in freshwater would have no impact to the sea lion population but would provide much needed relief to fish runs and prevent similar crises from occurring elsewhere.”

ODFW has applied to the federal government for authorization to lethally remove sea lions from at Willamette Falls under Section 120 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Even if that application is approved, it won’t be until 2019 at the earliest. ODFW senior officials are also working with the region’s congressional delegation to address the inflexibility of the MMPA to deal with these issues in a more timely manner.

“This isn’t just about the Willamette steelhead, which we know are in serious trouble,” said Clements. “We also know that predation on white sturgeon has increased dramatically this year, and that sea lions are preying on salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon in other rivers like the Sandy and Clackamas. Effective management will only be possible if the US Congress changes the law to allow managers to proactively prevent sea lions habituating to these bottlenecks in freshwater.”

ODFW plans to leave its sea lion traps in the Willamette, continue to monitor predation, and, if the opportunity arises, trap another sea lion or two this spring. Additionally, ODFW is conducting limited monitoring of sea lions that are foraging in the Clackamas and Sandy rivers. ODFW is not authorized to do anything other than non-lethal hazing in these locations, and though hazing has proven ineffective in other systems, the department may run some hazing operations from time to time on the Clackamas River.

Lake Washington Sockeye, Fishing Subject Of April 24 Meeting

Lake Washington salmon and fisheries will be the subject of a meeting next week in Renton.

State biologists will be presenting on sockeye, coho, Chinook and steelhead at the Maplewood Greens Golf Course the evening of April 24.

LAKE WASHINGTON SOCKEYE ANGLERS DURING THE 2006 FISHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

According to an agenda for the meeting of King County’s Cedar River Council, discussions will include escapement data over the past 20 years and lost sport and tribal fishing opportunities.

It also lists findings on the big metro lake’s sockeye runs as well as the outlook for the salmon stock.

Despite the promise of the new Seattle Public Utilities hatchery built on the Cedar River, there hasn’t been a sport sockeye season on Lake Washington since 2006, and this year’s forecast of just under 40,000 is well below the threshold for a fishery.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. The golf course is located at 4050 Maple Valley Highway, Renton, WA 98058.

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (4-17-18)

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

Washington lower Columbia mainstem sport sampling summary – Sat. April 14

From Bonneville Dam downstream to the top of Puget Is., nearly 1,200 salmonid boats and over 600 bank anglers were counted during last Saturday’s flight.

WASHINGTON SIDE CATCH STATS FOR BOAT ANGLERS ON THE APRIL 14 COLUMBIA RIVER SPRING CHINOOK REOPENER. (WDFW)

MASON WEINHEIMER STRUGGLES TO LIFT A 20-POUND HATCHERY SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT ON THE APRIL 14 REOPENER. HE WAS FISHING IN THE VANCOUVER AREA WITH HIS DAD, JOSH, WHO REPORTED PRETTY FAST ACTION “THAT WAS A GREAT DAY, STARTED AT 12:30 AND BACK ON THE TRAILER AT 3:30,” HE EMAILED. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Washington Columbia River tributaries and lakes sampling summaries – April 9-15

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream: 120 bank rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 2 steelhead. 17 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook. Above the I-5 Br: 146 bank rods kept 14 adult spring Chinook and 20 steelhead and released 2 steelhead. 199 boat rods kept 3 adult spring Chinook and 49 steelhead and released 4 steelhead.

Most of the spring Chinook were checked at the barrier dam; steelhead at the trout hatchery.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 775 winter-run steelhead, 39 spring Chinook adults and two jacks during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 40 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 14 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook adult into the Cispus River, near Yellow Jacket Creek.

Tacoma Power also released 33 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook adult into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,340 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 16. Water visibility is 6 feet and the water temperature is 44.6 degrees F.
Kalama River – 33 bank anglers released 1 steelhead. 7 boat anglers had no catch.

Mainstem Lewis River – 15 bank rods released 1 adult spring Chinook. 1 boat angler had no catch.

North Fork Lewis River – 20 bank rods had no catch. 17 boat rods kept 3 adult spring Chinook and released 2 steelhead.

Wind River – 3 boat anglers had no catch.

Drano Lake – 4 boat anglers had no catch.

Klickitat River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows and cutthroats. No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

LACAMAS LK (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LACAMAS+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 09, 2018
Rainbow
6,000
2
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

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
Apr 10, 2018
Rainbow
2,000
2.5
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

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
Apr 11, 2018
Cutthroat
4,179
2.5
SKAMANIA HATCHERY

HORSESHOE LK (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=HORSESHOE+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 11, 2018
Rainbow
3,367
2.6
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

KRESS LK (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 11, 2018
Rainbow
3,120
2.6
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

Tacoma Power released 1,600 rainbow trout into South Lewis County Park Pond.

For Skagit-Sauk Steelheaders, It’s ‘Great To Be Back On The System’

Despite a good spring rain that doubled flows on one river, North Cascades anglers were still happy to be out chasing wild winter steelhead on another for the first time in nine Aprils.

Last weekend saw portions of the Skagit and Sauk reopen for the first of three windows this month, thanks to federal approval of a joint state-tribal fisheries plan this past Thursday.

A CLIENT OF GUIDE CHRIS SENYOHL OF INTERPID ANGLERS SHOWS OFF A WILD WINTER STEELHEAD CAUGHT DURING LAST WEEKEND’S REOPENING OF THE SKAGIT AND SAUK RIVER. (INTREPIDANGLERS.COM, VIA AL SENYOHL)

“It felt great to be back on the system,” said angler Ryley Fee.

On Saturday, he and two other anglers went four-for-four, catching and releasing steelhead to 14 pounds.

That was better than most. According to state creel data, 47 boat anglers caught 19 steelhead that day and 37 landed 15 on Sunday.

Fishing was tougher for bank anglers, with 79 only catching two over both days, samplers found.

“A few guys (in boats, using gear) caught the vast majority of fish,” said WDFW district fisheries biologist Brett Barkdull. “Those same guys were the hard-core, fish-all-day types.”

He said there were slightly more gear anglers than fly guys on the water.

“Most of the fish were caught from the (mouth of the) Sauk up to Marblemount, because flows were fine there,” he said of the dam-regulated upper Skagit River.

The Sauk jumped from 4,500 cubic feet per second Friday afternoon to 9,500 cfs by the time Saturday morning rolled around.

Barkdull estimated that, overall, 53.4 steelhead were encountered, along with another 103 bull trout. He said that his crews “caught” 63.71 percent of boaters at the launches.

As Puget Sound steelhead are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, intensive monitoring of the fishery is a key part of WDFW being able to hold it.

“Given all the flow issues, I think it turned out about what I would have expected,” Barkdull said.

SAUK-SKAGIT REGULATIONS
* Catch and release only
* Open dates: April 18-22, 25-29
Skagit River: Open from the Dalles Bridge in Concrete to the Cascade River Road Bridge in Marblemount. Fishing from boat under power prohibited.
Sauk River: Open from the mouth to the Sauk Prairie Road Bridge in Darrington. Fishing from a boat equipped with an internal combustion motor is prohibited.
Single-point barbless hooks
Night closures in effect
Use of bait prohibited

There was little if any effort on the Sauk, but one person apparently decided to take their sled up it, for which they received a talking to, as fishing from a power boat on this river is prohibited.

That was about in in terms of problems, however.

“Two no life jacket tickets,” said Barkdull of enforcement issues. “That’s it. Clean.”

The reopening came a little more than five years after Occupy Skagit held its first hookless fish-in at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport. With the ESA listing, WDFW and the Swinomish, Sauk-Suiattle and Upper Skagit tribes needed to write a management plan that could pass muster with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Besides a state fishery, the approved plan allows for tribal harvest of wild steelhead, though the comanagers say they won’t do so this spring.

Al Senyohl, president of the Steelhead Trout Club of Washington, had previously expressed concern about holding state and tribal seasons this spring because impacts on this year’s relatively low but still fishable forecasted return of 4,700 might affect recovery of the run and the ability to start up a broodstock program.

However, Senyohl subsequently said it did provide an opportunity for North Sound steelheaders who “have been stranded on the bank for years” to get back on the water.

He took advantage of the opener himself, fishing the Skagit at Rockport.

“Great turnout for the opener, big economic boost for the upper Skagit basin!” Senyohl reported.

Steelheaders have two more five-day windows to get on the Sauk and Skagit before the fishery closes after the month’s last Sunday.

With flows looking good, Barkdull indicated he expects good fishing with Wednesday’s restart.

Skagit, Sauk Opening For Steelhead

Spring steelheading will open on parts of the Skagit and Sauk Rivers for the first time since 2009.

AN ANGLER CASTS A LINE ON THE SKAGIT RIVER AT THE MOUTH OF THE SAUK EARLIER THIS YEAR BEFORE FISHING CLOSED AFTER JAN. 31. (CHASE GUNNELL)

Federal overseers this morning signed off on a permit allowing the state to hold the catch-and-release fishery on the big North Cascades waters over this and the coming four seasons.

“This is the most important fishery in the state to me,” said angler Ryley Fee, who was getting an early head start on the weekend. “I’m leaving tonight.”

Per WDFW HQ, here are this year’s regs:

* Open dates: April 14-15, 18-22, 25-29
*
Skagit River: Open from the Dalles Bridge in Concrete to the Cascade River Road Bridge in Marblemount. Fishing from boat under power prohibited.
*
Sauk River: Open from the mouth to the Sauk Prairie Road Bridge in Darrington. Fishing from a boat equipped with an internal combustion motor is prohibited.
*
Single-point barbless hooks
*
Night closures in effect
*
Use of bait prohibited

In a press release, regional fisheries manager Edward Eleazer advised anglers to keep an eye on his agency’s emergency rule-change notice page, as an early closure and additional restrictions might still be applied to the fishery.

“Anglers have an incredible opportunity to fish for wild steelhead on one of the renowned rivers of the West Coast,” Eleazer said. “To ensure there will be steelhead fishing in the basin for years to come, we’re asking anglers to comply with all fishery rules and to help keep the river free of litter.”

The opening is the culmination of years of lobbying by Occupy Skagit, which ironically had just recently given up hope the rivers would reopen in time this month.

According to Eleazar, cooperation from the Skagit tribes was also “essential” in getting the permit. WDFW also reports that tribal fishermen will not hold their “scheduled steelhead fisheries this year in order to limit fishery impacts.”

I don’t think I can express how huge and important of a deal that is — hat tip to the Swinomish, Sauk-Suiattles and Upper Skagits, I appreciate it.

Ultimate approval hinged on National Marine Fisheries Service regional administrator Barry Thom giving the final OK to the proposed fisheries.

“The key is that we believe the comanagers found the right balance between allowing some fishing opportunities and protecting Skagit River steelhead for the future,” said federal spokesman Michael Milstein. “The improved resilience of Skagit steelhead is a positive reflection on the many partnerships and hard work that has gone into habitat restoration and other recovery actions.”

The popular spring recreational season was halted in 2010 by a series of low forecasted returns and then written out of the regulations pamphlet because WDFW didn’t have a permit to open it due to the 2007 listing of Puget Sound steelhead.

But the past three years have averaged over 8,000 spawners, though the 2018 run is expected to be down yet still within fishable numbers.

“Stay of my rock,” joked Fee, as the fishery likely will draw a good crowd due to pent-up demand.

Under the approved plan, state managers will monitor the rivers, taking creel data. Those staffers had been ready since late winter, but the approval process has dragged on and on.

“We all would have liked to issue a decision sooner but the great value of the Skagit population required us to do a careful and complete job, and that took time,” said Milstein. “We appreciate everyone’s patience with us, and we ask for continued support as we continue toward recovery of these fish that have so much meaning to so many people across the region.”

Not every Westside angler agreed with reopening the rivers, but it provides an opportunity on a strong stock in a region where steelhead fisheries are rarer and rarer as hatchery releases tapered off and habitat issues come home to roost.

“Anglers are keenly aware of the condition of our wild steelhead rivers and can be powerful advocates for their conservation,” Trout Unlimited’s Rob Masonis said in a press release. “If we want healthy, productive rivers with resilient wild steelhead, we need to keep anglers on the water when wild steelhead populations can handle it.”

Even if I don’t have a chance to hit the Sauk and Skagit before the end of this month, I’m looking forward more than ever to 2019’s full late winter-spring season!

Lower Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (4-9-18)

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

Washington lower Columbia mainstem sport sampling summary – April 2-7

Including fish released, anglers averaged just over ½ adult spring Chinook per boat.  Fishing  continued to be slow from the bank.

Effort was pretty high with 926 salmonid boats and 314 bank anglers counted during the Tues. April 3 flight.

THE LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER PRODUCED THIS SPRING CHINOOK FOR BUZZ RAMSEY LAST FRIDAY MORNING. THE FISH BIT A 4.5 MAG LIP AND WAS NETTED BY RON HILLER. TERRY OTTO SNAPPED THE PIC. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

Washington Columbia River tributary sport sampling summaries – April 2-8

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream:  42 bank rods kept 3 steelhead and released 1 cutthroat.  3 boat anglers kept one adult spring Chinook.  Above the I-5 Br:  129 bank rods kept 12 adult spring Chinook and 6 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.  99 boat rods kept 34 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.

Most of the steelhead were sampled at the Trout Hatchery while most of the salmon were checked at the salmon hatchery.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 228 winter-run steelhead and two spring Chinook adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 13 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released one winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek.

Tacoma Power released 20 winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,370 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 9. Water visibility is nine feet and the water temperature is 44.1 degrees F.

East Fork Lewis from mouth to top boat ramp at Lewisville Park and Washougal River from mouth to Mt. Norway Bridge – Open to fishing for hatchery steelhead Monday April 16. Through the first Friday in June, selective gear rules are in effect; no bait may be used.

Kalama River – 23 bank anglers kept 1 steelhead.  7 boat anglers had no catch.   Now closed to retention of steelhead through May 15.

North Fork Lewis River – 24 bank anglers had no catch.

Wind River – 1 boat angler had no catch.

Drano Lake – 5 boat anglers had no catch.

Wed. April 11 is the first of the scheduled Wednesday closures that run through June. Effective April 16 through June 30, bank fishing only west of a line projected from the easternmost pillar of the Hwy. 14 Bridge to a posted marker on the north shore.

Klickitat River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.  Open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only through May.

Trout

Tacoma Power released 4,020 rainbow trout into Mayfield Lake.  They are part of the 72,000 fish expected to be planted between April and August.

‘Removal Of Barrier Culverts Would Be Lifeline For Salmon, Fishing Families’ – NSIA Et Al In SCOTUS Brief

Regional fishing organizations filed a brief on Monday supporting the removal of culverts to help recover Western Washington salmon, a case that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in less than two weeks.

GRANSTROM CREEK, A TRIBUTARY OF THE SAUK RIVER, FLOWS THROUGH A BOX CULVERT PUT IN BY SKAGIT COUNTY. IT REPLACED A PERCHED CULVERT. THE WHITE PLASTIC TUBES AND YOUNG TREES AT RIGHT ARE PART OF A LARGER SEATTLE CITY LIGHT HABITAT RESTORATION PROJECT TO BENEFIT SALMON AND WILDLIFE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The “friend of the court” arguments from the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and others urge justices to uphold a 2016 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the state must make hundreds of stream barriers more passable to Chinook, coho, steelhead and other stocks.

“Salmon fishing has provided economic opportunity and a way of life for generations. Culverts owned by the State of Washington block access to vast areas of salmon habitat and spawning grounds, crippling these fisheries. Harm to Washington’s salmon fisheries directly harms fishing families and businesses throughout the Northwest and Alaska,” the group’s attorneys write.

Even as the state is bringing culverts up to snuff, the overall cost of the fixes and that some might not actually help fish led state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to appeal the Ninth’s ruling “on behalf of the taxpayers” to the highest court in the land.

But with fishing businesses and fisheries increasingly feeling the pinch as kings, silvers and steelies decline, NSIA et al are “skeptical” the state would hold to doing the repairs if the proverbial fish bonker of court action wasn’t hovering over its head.

“With salmon populations hovering at such precariously low levels, the significant increase of spawning and rearing habitat that will result from removal of the state’s barrier culverts would be a lifeline for salmon and fishing families alike,” the organizations argue. “The district court correctly found that removal of the state’s barrier culverts would immediately benefit these imperiled populations, and the district court’s injunction is an essential step to preserving these valuable runs.”

COHO IN PARTICULAR AS WELL AS STEELHEAD CAN BENEFIT FROM THE REMOVAL OF PASSAGE-BLOCKING CULVERTS BELOW WASHINGTON ROADS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The case is essentially a continuation of 1974’s massive Boldt Decision and could have as strong of ramifications, except not just on state and tribal fishermen alone this time.

It was originally brought by the Suquamish Tribe, who were joined by other tribes in Western Washington, and the basic argument, per the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, is that “tribal treaty rights to harvest salmon include the right to have those salmon protected so they are available for harvest.”

In recent weeks a number of parties have signed on in support of one side or the other.

Besides NSIA and others, former Washington Governor Dan Evans, a conservation-minded Republican, a number of area public officials, along with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Navajo Nation and others have filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the petitioners, or federal government.

Lining up with Washington are 11 other states, including Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, a number of home-building organizations and farm bureaus, and the American Forest & Paper Association and National Mining Association.

A decision is expected in June.

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.

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.