THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW
The lower section of the Hanford Reach (Interstate 182 Bridge at Richland upstream to the old Hanford Townsite powerline crossing) opened for steelhead fishing on October 1. The daily limit is restricted to one Ringold Springs Hatchery origin steelhead this fall/winter due to the low expected adult returns for both the Ringold Springs and Upper Columbia steelhead. Steelhead released from Ringold Springs Hatchery are adipose clipped and right ventral fin clipped. All adipose-only clipped hatchery and wild steelhead must be released immediately.
The fishery has been very slow to date. Only 17 hatchery steelhead were harvested in October. Effort continued to be slow in November; only 452 angler trips (307 bank, 145 boat). Estimated harvest in November was 37 steelhead for a total harvest of 54 steelhead for the fishery. Anglers averaged 16 hours of fishing per steelhead (hatchery + wild) in November. 105 unclipped steelhead and 10 adipose clipped steelhead have been caught and released in addition to fish harvested.
Summer steelhead returns to the Columbia and Snake Rivers have declined in recent years. Although some stocks picked up slightly in 2020 the Ringold Springs Hatchery adult return is expected to be very low again this year.
The Ringold Springs Hatchery steelhead return is calculated in-season based on sampling at the adult fish trap at Priest Rapids Dam combined with mark recapture estimates from the volunteer trap at the hatchery. The most recent return estimate for Ringold Spring Hatchery is 503 adults above McNary.