FISHING — Here’s the February steelhead fishing recap for the Hanford Reach of the Columbia just filed by Paul Hoffarth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist in the Tri-Cities:
Lower Reach (Hwy 395 to old Hanford town site):
An estimated 174 steelhead were caught and 140 steelhead were harvested in February. Anglers are averaging 1 steelhead for each 12 hours of fishing. Boat anglers have faired better than the shore anglers at 9 hours per steelhead versus 32 hours per steelhead for bank anglers. A total of 1,374 steelhead have been caught this season and 1,011 hatchery steelhead have been harvested. WDFW staff sampled 15 percent of the estimated angler effort in this fishery in February and 25 percent for the season. Catch and harvest numbers are well below the 2008 and 2009 fisheries but similar to those of 2004-07.
Upper Reach (Vernita Bridge to Priest Rapids Dam):
On December 8, WDFW opened the Columbia River from the Hwy 24 bridge (Vernita Bridge) to Priest Rapids Dam for the retention of hatchery steelhead. This is the first time this area has been open in the winter for steelhead in many years. Angler effort has been relatively light. We are currently averaging 1 boat trip per day. Very few anglers are fishing from shore for steelhead. No steelhead were reported in February. Only 2 boats were interviewed. An estimated 225 steelhead have been caught in this fishery with 47 hatchery steelhead harvested.