THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW
Adult fall chinook counts at Bonneville have dropped below 10,000 per day with a cumulative total of 451,112. Fall chinook returns to the Columbia River as measured at Bonneville are 16% above the ten-year average. Adult fall chinook counts through McNary continue to run around 5,000 per day and ~26% below the 10-year average. The cumulative count over McNary is 93,010 adult chinook compared to the ten-year average of 125,377. Conversions from Bonneville to McNary are within the range that we have observed over the most recent 10 years but at the lower end of the range.
In addition to the US v Oregon Agreement, the Hanford Reach URB population is managed under the Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Fishery Management Plan. The population is managed to meet the Hanford Reach URB escapement goal of 31,100 to 42,000 adults (naturally spawning population). Harvest allocated to the Hanford Reach sport fishery is based on these in-season return estimates. An in-season estimate is generated weekly beginning September 15. The estimate is generated based on current passage through the fish ladders at McNary, Ice Harbor, and Priest Rapids Dams and projected migration timing.
Based on numbers through September 15, an estimated 52,810 adult, wild (natural origin) fall chinook are expected to return to the Hanford Reach. The in-season return estimate is 17% above the pre-season forecast for the Hanford Reach. Current harvest of adult fall chinook in the Hanford Reach is 2,248 adults. Based on the current return estimate there will be sufficient numbers of fall chinook allocated to the sport fishery to continue the fishery through the end of the scheduled season. WDFW will update the return estimate next week.
Fishing picked up this past week and should continue to improve over the next couple of weeks. We are tracking a week behind last year’s numbers. From September 12-18 WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 496 boats (1,185 anglers) and 145 bank anglers at Ringold with 372 adult chinook, 41 jacks, and 3 coho harvested. Based on sampling information collected, the total harvest in the Reach was 1,184 adult chinook, 126 chinook jacks, and 10 coho were harvested from 4,183 angler trips. Boat anglers averaged just under a salmon per boat (0.85), 18 hours per fish. Bank anglers at Ringold are doing well for this early in the season, averaging 17 hours per chinook.
For the fishery there have been 9,676 angler trips with 2,248 adult chinook, 213 chinook jacks, and 13 coho harvested. In addition, 17 sockeye, 21 adult chinook, 20 chinook jacks, and 88 steelhead were caught and released.