Hanford Reach Fishing Report (9-28-20)
THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW
Harvest picked up a bit in the Tri-city area but not red hot by any means. All areas typically improve this week. Overall, boats averaged 1.3 salmon per boat, 12 hours per fish, very similar to the week prior. Bank anglers at Ringold are averaging 7.3 hours per salmon, very good compared to prior years. Continuing to see a large proportion of hatchery chinook in the harvest.
The lower Hanford Reach, Interstate 182 at Richland upstream to the old Hanford townsite powerline crossing, will open for Ringold Springs Hatchery (RSH) steelhead on October 1. Anglers are limited to one RSH steelhead daily. Ringold Springs steelhead are adipose clipped and right ventral fin clipped. All other hatchery and wild steelhead must be immediately released.
The Yakima River was not opened for salmon this fall due to low projected returns for both fall chinook and coho. WDFW staff will monitor the return and could potentially open the fishery if numbers exceed current escapement goals. A run update is scheduled for Tuesday, September 29.
WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 1,010 boats (2,546 anglers) and 133 bank anglers (Ringold Springs access) with a combined harvest of 1,182 adult chinook, 118 jacks, and 13 coho. Based on the sampling information, an estimated 3,465 adult chinook, 345 chinook jacks, and 38 coho were harvested from 7,770 angler trips. For the season, there have been 22,511 angler trips harvesting 8,026 adult chinook, 976chinook jacks, and 66 coho. In addition, 188 sockeye, 59 wild steelhead, and 6 hatchery have been caught and released during the fishery.
We continue to see some good late season pulses of fall chinook counts at Bonneville. McNary numbers have declined but still seeing 2,000 – 4,000 per day. The second in-season return for the Hanford Reach fall chinook population was completed last week. Current estimate is 83,593 natural (wild) fall chinook, up 28% from the pre-season forecast of 65,359 adults. In addition, both Priest Rapids and Ringold Springs Hatcheries are expecting good returns. At ~83,000 adults, there will be sufficient numbers of fall chinook allocated to the sport fishery to continue the fishery with a two adult limit through the end of the scheduled season. The next in-season update will be posted October 1.
This week’s Technical Advisory Committee updates for the Columbia River should be available later today or tomorrow.
TAC met on Monday, September 21 to review and discuss salmon and steelhead passage at Bonneville Dam and harvest in fall season fisheries.
TAC updated the expected Columbia River mouth abundances of URB, PUB, and BPH stock fall Chinook to 282,300, 86,100, 53,300 adults, respectively (total of 421,700 upriver fish). Given the preseason forecasts for lower river stocks, the total fall Chinook return is now expected to include 499,700 adults (18% greater than the preseason forecast). Passage of bright and tule components are both tracking several days earlier than recent-year averages.
TAC updated the in-season projection for A-Index and B-Index steelhead passage at Bonneville Dam. Given current information, TAC now expects 79,100 total A-Index fish (including 34,100 unclipped) which is 92% of preseason forecast and 33,500 B-Index fish (7,900 unclipped) which is 349% of forecast. The A-Index projections were based on the recent 10-year average run timing while the B-Index passage projections assumed their timing is five days earlier than the recent 10- year average. The aggregate A-/B-Index abundance is expected to total 112,600 fish.
TAC updated the projected return of early-stock coho (defined as those passing prior to September 30) to 86,200 adults. The pre-season total coho forecasted return to Bonneville Dam was 42,300 fish (33,880 early stock and 9,400 late stock coho). Through September 20, 72,965 adult coho have passaged Bonneville Dam.
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.