THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW
Fishing and catching picked up this past week for boat and bank anglers. Harvest for the week was the highest on record since the record return in 2015. Boats averaged slightly less than a one salmon per boat, 16 hours per fish. From September 7 through September 13, WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 426 boats (973 anglers) and 55 bank anglers (Ringold Springs access) with a combined harvest of 339 adult chinook and 39 jacks. Based on the sampling information, an estimated 1,207 adult chinook and 141 chinook jacks were harvested from 3,632 angler trips. For the season, there have been 8,104 angler trips harvesting 1,743 adult chinook and 218 chinook jacks. In addition, 188 sockeye and 35 wild steelhead were caught and released.
Fall chinook counts at Bonneville are declining but McNary numbers are holding steady for now. Numbers at Bonneville are running 65% higher than the 2019 counts. From August 1 to September 13, 258,248 adult chinook have passed upstream of Bonneville Dam (2019: 156,710). Adult fall chinook through McNary are currently at 73,523 compared to 25,175 in 2019.
This week’s Technical Advisory Committee updates for the Columbia River were not available today. The first in-season run update for Hanford Reach returns will be calculated on September 16.
TAC met on Tuesday, September 8 to review run size and harvest information for summer steelhead and fall Chinook. The returns of bright and tule fall Chinook appear to be tracking early and both are expected to meet or exceed the pre-season forecasts. However, TAC did not provide an update to the run size for either fall Chinook stock. TAC updated the in-season projection for A-Index steelhead to 82,000 (this includes 34,300 natural-origin fish as determined visually and is subject to updates from genetic information). The update is an increase from last week’s projection but still less than the preseason forecast of 85,900 A-Index steelhead. B-Index steelhead passage has totaled 10,200 to-date (total forecast was 9,600) but TAC determined that it is too early to update to the B-Index steelhead return. TAC will continue to meet weekly throughout the fall management period and will provide further updates as information becomes available.
The Hanford Reach fall salmon fishery opened August 16 (Hwy 395 Bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam). Pre-season forecast for fall chinook to the Hanford Reach is 92,000 adults, 65,000 wild and 27,000 hatchery. Returns are expected to be very similar to last year. Daily limit is 6 salmon but anglers are limited to two adults. Anglers must stop fishing when the adult limit is retained. Anglers can harvest fall chinook and coho, both hatchery and wild. Anglers can use barbed or barbless hooks when fishing or salmon in this area of the Columbia River. Anglers may fish with two poles for any species except sturgeon with two-pole endorsement. Party fishing is not allowed when fishing for salmon in this section of the Columbia River. The Columbia River upstream of the Highway 395 Bridge is closed to fishing for steelhead.