THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS WERE FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW
Columbia River Steelhead Fishery Update (McNary Dam to Hwy 395)
On November 1 several sections of the Columbia River including McNary Dam upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge opened for steelhead fishing. This fishery has been extended through March 31 (see Emergency Regulation listed below). The daily limit is one hatchery steelhead. Night closure remains in effect. Barbless hooks are required when fishing for steelhead/salmon in the Columbia River downstream of the WA/OR border. From Hwy 730 at the WA/OR border upstream anglers can use barbed or barbless hooks for any species except sturgeon (sturgeon: single, barbless, hook & catch-and-release only). In addition anglers may fish with two poles with Two-Pole Endorsement for any species except sturgeon.
Fishing was slow in December with boats averaging 25 hours of fishing per steelhead (193 hours per hatchery steelhead). There were no steelhead caught from the 76 bank anglers interviewed. Anglers have been harvesting primarily smaller steelhead (likely A-run) but fair numbers of wild B-run steelhead have been caught and released.
WDFW staff interviewed 166 boat anglers (65 boats) and 76 bank anglers in December to estimate catch and harvest. WDFW estimates 1,345 angler trips in December (352 bank, 993 boat) with 24 steelhead harvested (18 A-run and 6 B-run). 156 wild steelhead were caught and released (90 A-run and 66 B-run). For the fishery there have been 3,554 angler trips for steelhead with 177 steelhead harvested and 638 steelhead caught and released.
Hanford Reach Steelhead Sport Fishery Update (Final)
The lower section of the Hanford Reach (Interstate 182 Bridge at Richland upstream to the old Hanford Townsite powerline crossing) closed to fishing for steelhead fishing on January 1. 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 insufficient to support a sport fishery in the Hanford Reach and meet hatchery broodstock needs. The 2020 return estimate for Ringold Spring Hatchery is 503 adults (above McNary Dam).
For the fishery there were an estimated 1,886 angler trips harvesting 66 Ringold Springs origin hatchery steelhead and releasing 62 hatchery steelhead and 101 wild steelhead.