FISHING -- Although steelhead fishing has opened in the Ringold area of the Columbia River's Hanford Reach, most angling pressure has been focused on the record run of chinook salmon packing into the area.
Anglers last week AVERAGED 2.5 chinooks per boat as they set sportfishing records for chinook caught in the free-flowing stretch between the Tri Cities and Priest Rapids Dam. Awesome.
The chinooks also are setting records on the Snake River.
The total count at Bonneville Dam this year through Monday is 904,855 adult fall chinook, already far beyond the previous seasonal record count of 610,244 set in 2003. Bonneville is the first hydro project the fish encounter on their way upstream to the mid-Columbia and the Snake River.
The count as of Monday at Lower Granite on the Snake River was 52,277, well past the previous record of 41,815 set in 2010. Fish continue to move over Lower Granite at the rate of 400-500 a day.
The Snake River fish pass over four Columbia River dams before turning into the Snake. Lower Granite is the last of four passable dams on the lower Snake before the fish head into the Lewiston-Clarkston area, the Clearwater and up the Snake farther to the Salmon River.
The counts at the lower Snake River’s Lower Granite Dam include wild Snake River fall chinook that are listed under the Endangered Species Act.