Outdoors

Chinook catch rates still high at Hanford; fish quality lower


This 1997 photo shows the salmon nesting area of the White Bluffs, located along the Hanford Reach on the Columbia River. 
 (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
This 1997 photo shows the salmon nesting area of the White Bluffs, located along the Hanford Reach on the Columbia River. (File/Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

FISHING — The latest fall chinook creel report from the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River says the fishing pressure continues to decline but anglers still working the record salmon run were averaging an excellent 2.7 fish per boat.

However, with the season heading toward the Oct. 31 closure, the quality of the salmon is degrading as they ripen for spawning.  

Paul Hoffarth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist for the area said that, based on anecdotal information from anglers and creel surveyors, he'd say, “Roughly 20% are still edible, 20% are smokers, and 60% are more than ready to spawn.”

Here's Hoffarth's summary of the survey data for last week.

The number of boats on the water in the Hanford Reach continues to decline as the season nears the end.  The Columbia River between the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers and Priest Rapids Dam will close to fishing for salmon on October 22.  The river from the Hwy 395 bridge in Kennewick/Pasco upstream to the old Hanford townsite will remain open to fishing for salmon through October 31. 

There were an estimated 3,981 angler trips for salmon this past week.  Anglers averaged 2.7 Chinook per boat and 12 hours for each Chinook caught from the bank.

Staff interviewed anglers from 387 boats (941 boat anglers) and 215 bank anglers fishing for Chinook reporting a harvest of 1,074 adult Chinook and 60 jacks.  Harvest for the week was estimated at 4,009 adult Chinook and 224 Chinook jacks. 

For the season, 23,332 adult Chinook and 2,588 jacks have been harvested.  The adult harvest breaks the previous record of 13,102 adults harvested set last year.  There have been 37,062 angler trips for the fishery through October 20. The in-season run update for natural origin adult Hanford Reach fall Chinook returning to the Hanford Reach is 132,692 (updated Oct 15).




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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