THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW
Adult fall chinook counts at Bonneville have dropped below 3,000 per day with a cumulative total of 482,036 through September 25. Fall chinook returns to the Columbia River as measured at Bonneville are 8% above the ten-year average. Adult fall chinook counts through McNary are running around 3,000 per day. The cumulative count over McNary is 123,987 adult chinook compared to the ten-year average of 177,560, ~30% below the 10-year average; only 7% lower than the 2021 return. This year we are observing a larger proportion of the fall chinook passing over McNary migrating into the Snake River compared to recent years.
Fishing (harvest) continued to picked up this past week and should hold steady for the next couple of weeks. From September 19-25, WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 594 boats (1,532 anglers) and 236 bank anglers with 725 adult chinook, 67 jacks, and 10 coho harvested.
Based on sampling information collected, the total harvest in the Reach was 2,364 adult chinook, 203 chinook jacks, and 35 coho were harvested from 5,526 angler trips, slightly better than the 2021 harvest for the same week. Boat anglers averaged better than a fish per boat (1.2), 12 hours per fish. Bank anglers at the Ringold access area are doing well compared to prior years due to a strong return of fall chinook to Ringold Springs Hatchery, averaging 17 hours per chinook.
For the fishery there have been 15,202 angler trips with 4,612 adult chinook, 416 chinook jacks, and 49 coho harvested. In addition, 17 sockeye, 31 adult chinook, 34 chinook jacks, and 118 steelhead were caught and released.
Based on the current passage of adult fall chinook through the McNary, Ice Harbor, and Priest Rapids fish ladders, 60,079 wild (natural origin) fall chinook are expected to return to the Hanford Reach this year. The in-season return estimate is 33% above the pre-season forecast. 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.