Posts tagged: Upper Columbia
FISHING — Steelhead fisheries will close one hour after sunset on Sunday, Dec. 8, on the upper Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam and on the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers.
Fishing for whitefish will also close on the Wenatchee River.
The closures will not affect the Okanogan River, Similkameen River, Methow River, and mainstem Columbia River from Wells Dam upstream to Chief Joseph Dam. Those fisheries will remain open until further notice under previously published rules.
Jeff Korth, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the closures are necessary to keep impacts on wild steelhead within limits established under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“This year's run is smaller than in recent years and contains a relatively high proportion of wild steelhead,” Korth said. “Because of that, we saw an increase in the rate of encounters with natural-origin fish in some fishing areas.”
Although anglers must release any wild, unmarked steelhead they intercept in area fisheries, some of those fish do not survive and are counted toward ESA impact limits.
The federal permit authorizing the steelhead fisheries sets a maximum allowable mortality of natural-origin steelhead to accommodate variations in run strength and angling effort on specific waters. WDFW closely monitors the fisheries and enforces fishing rules to protect wild steelhead.
The primary reason the upper Columbia steelhead fisheries are permitted is to remove excess hatchery fish from spawning grounds, said Korth, noting that those fisheries provide popular recreational fishing opportunities and economic benefits for rural communities throughout the region.
WDFW fisheries managers are analyzing fishery impacts to date, and will produce a steelhead run update next month, Korth said. Some areas could be reopened at a later date for additional fishing opportunities, and anglers should keep a close eye on the WDFW website for these possibilities.
Read on for specific details about the closure:
FLY FISHING — Everett Coulter of Spokane emailed to remind me that the record run of chinook salmon stampeding upstream from the ocean isn't the only fishery worth exploring in the upper Columbia River.
The photo above shows a feisty 23-inch rainbow, “one of four really nice rainbows we caught on the Columbia at Castelgar,” he said. “We landed two on dry flies and two on nymphs. The fishery on the Columbia is really quite good.”
The other photo (click “continue reading”) shows Hugh Evans (back) of Spokane with more proof that Coulter isn't blowing steam.
The anglers fished out of a drift boat with Columbia-Elk river fly fishing guide John Muir.
There you go.
FISHERIES — A record 515,700 sockeye salmon was counted this year at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department reports.
The run count — the most since counting began at Bonneville Dam in 1938 — far exceeded the agency's preseason forecast of 462,000 fish.
The record run translated into a record 3,400 sockeye caught by sport anglers during the summer season in river reaches below the dam.
So many fish reached the Upper Columbia, the Brewster pool region was covered with boats as anglers fished for their generous daily limits of six sockeye and six chinook.
For 2013, a total of 180,500 sockeye are predicted to return to the Columbia River basin, less than half of last year's forecast.
FISHING — As Oregon and Washington consider banning gill nets from the lower Columbia River, some worry the move could have unintended and negative consequences on salmon fisheries in Idaho and Eastern Washington.
Check out this report by the Columbia Basin Bulletin.
FISHING — Steelhead fisheries on the upper Columbia River will close one hour after sunset on Saturday (Dec. 1) from Wells Dam to the Highway 173 bridge at Brewster and on the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, and Methow rivers.
Several whitefish fisheries scheduled to open that day will also close at sunset Dec. 1, including those on the Wenatchee and Entiat rivers, as well as on the Methow River downstream of the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop.
Jeff Korth, Regional Fish Manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the closures are necessary to keep impacts on wild steelhead within limits established under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The closures will not, however, affect steelhead or whitefish seasons on the mainstem Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam, or from the Highway 173 Bridge in Brewster to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Those fisheries, plus steelhead and whitefish seasons on the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers, will remain open until further notice under previously published rules.
Read on for more details.
FISHERIES More than a century after their runs up the Cle Elum River were wiped out by dams, the sockeye are spawning again this year, thanks to a boost from fisheries programs.
Meantime, the Yakama Nation is in the fourth year of spearheading an effort to reintroduce this prized salmon species back into the Yakima River Basin.
Sockeyes bound for the Wenatchee and Okanogan rivers were trapped at Priest Rapids Dam about three months ago and trucked them to Lake Cle Elum for release. A total of 10,000 wild sockeye were released in the lake this year, a number that has grown steadily each year because of the abundance of the Columbia River sockeye run. The Yakama Nation plans to harvest fish at Priest Rapids after the overall run reaches 80,000 fish.
Ultimately, the program seeks to establish a self-sustaining run of Yakima River sockeye that will allow for a sport fishery.
The total Columbia River run this year approached 600,000 fish as daily counts set June records at Bonneville Dam.
See more in this report by the Yakima Herald-Republic.
SALMON FISHING — Although the the season still could be closed on short notice, it appears as though Lake Wenatchee will be open to sockeye fishing through Labor Day, thanks to a record-busting run to the upper Columbia River.
About 50,000 sockeye have turned into the Wenatchee River of the 63,000 predicted to make this year's run to Lake Wenatchee. Going into the past weekend, anglers had caught only about 7,000 of their 23,000 quota.
The daily limit hs been bumped from three to five sockeye 12 inches in length or greater.
Fish counters have tallied a whopping record of 515,666 sockeye over Bonneville Dam, the first hydro project the fish encounter on their run from the Pacific into the Columbia River. That shatters the previous record of 386,505 in 2010.
The count at Rock Island Dam on the mid-Columbia is 410,498 sockeye. Rock Island is the seventh and final dam the sockeye climb before a portion of the run turns into the Wenatchee River.
Most Columbia sockeye continues upstream over Rocky Reach and Wells dams before heading up the Okanogan River. More than 363,200 sockeye had been counted at Rocky Reach last week. That’s more than triple the 10-year average count.
The Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery could be closed on short notice depending on how many fish anglers catch this week.
Anglers are advised to check daily the Fishing Hotline at 360-902-2500 or the Fishing Update Web page.
SALMON FISHING — Fishing guide Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad's Family Fishing Guide Service says now's prime time for catching good-quality chinook salmon in the upper Columbia River near Brewster. Here's his report:
On the Brewster Pool the bite has transitioned from Sockeye to Kings. This is a short window where the Chinook are more eager to bite and still of good eating quality. These Kings will bite Super Baits and Plug Cut Super Baits as well as plug cut herring.
Mountain Dew Plug Cut Super baits 42” behind a big rotating flasher is one tried and true presentation. Fill the Super Bait with oil based tuna and dip it in your favorite sauce. We like Pautzke’s Krill Juice. Make sure your herring is fresh and cured nicely to stay on the hooks.
FISHING — Sockeye salmon fishing in the upper Columbia River is still generating plenty of interest among anglers, and good numbers of fish for the freezer.
The early morning bite in the Brewster Pool can be particularly hot, said Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad's Family Guide Service:
“The suggested formula for Sockeye would be a big Mack’s Lures Double D Dodger,” he said. “Then add a 12” leader of 30 or 40 pound test mono back to a Mack’s Mini Cha Cha Squidder in Pink & White.
“Space the hooks about 2 inches apart. Then bait the hooks with 1 inch chunks of shrimp cured in Pautzke’s Fire Cure. Fish this ensemble about 15 down to start.”
FISHING — Here's what some of the region's media are saying this week about salmon fishing in Washington:
Just posted at 1:40 p.m.:
SALMON FISHING — Sockeye salmon fishing is hot at the mouth of the Okanogan River near Brewster, and it's no secret.
Anton Jones of Darrell and Dad's Family Guide Service said anglers have converged on the fishery, requiring some thought to how to cope with the crowd.
“Strap on your patience as there were 345 boats on Saturday on the Columbia at the mouth of the Okanagon,” he reports.
“Fish the edge of the old channel just above the depth you mark them on your sonar,” he said. “Pull big chrome dodgers with a short heavy leader back to a big Mack’s Lures Wedding Ring baited with a piece of Pautzke Fire Cured Shrimp.
“You can also get some Chinook fishing Super Baits behind a rotating flasher. Fill those Super Baits with oil based tuna and dip them in Pautzke’s Krill Juice.
Keep your set backs short when you are in that combat fishery at the mouth of the Okanogan. Twenty feet back is plenty. More setback will lead to tangles with other anglers.
Yes, that does have a double meaning.