The total 2013 count of about 953,225 adult fall chinook in the Columbia River at Bonneville Dam this year smashed the record of 610,244 set in 2003. The chinook run surged to set several single-day record numbers, peaking with a Sept. 9 stampede of 63,870 over Bonneville.
“You’re not going to write about the ‘being a woman in a male-dominated sport’ thing, are you?” she said politely near the end of our interview. “That’s old, boring and I’m tired of it.” But unless you are April Vokey, the theme is still compelling and evolving.
FISHING – Fly fishers have been reporting standout fishing for bigger brown trout on the Missouri River upstream from Great Falls this year, and there’s proof they weren’t telling fish tales. This year’s trout population was bigger in size and slightly lower in abundance than the past two years, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist Grant Grisak. That’s typical as the population reaches maximum size.
West Medical Lake is churning with the promise of great fishing when the 2014 season opens on the fourth Saturday of April. Thanks to local fly fishing clubs, a new aerator was switched on in October and will run until ice-off as a winter-kill insurance policy.
OUTFISH – A youth steelhead clinic held on the Snake River recently accomplished its goal by netting more than just fish.
Sometime early next summer, probably late June, 60-degree subtropical ocean currents will push close to the chilly waters off the Northwest Coast. Albacore tuna and other fishes from far-flung southern latitudes and eastern longitudes will swim within 60 miles of most Oregon and Washington ocean ports. To the delight of charter and private boat operators targeting tuna, the fish will draw much nearer as summer progresses, nearer yet in fall.
The Clearwater Snake Steelhead Derby will be held Nov. 23-30 despite the closure of a large section of the Clearwater River to harvest of steelhead more than 28 inches long. Officials with the steelhead derby committee at the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce are working with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to ensure the annual fishing contest doesn’t unduly target fish that an emergency rule change is designed to protect.
Four lucky anglers found their way to the Ringold Springs boat launch in the pre-dawn darkness last week and used flashlights to find their fishing guide. They’d booked a salmon fishing trip in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River with a day’s notice only because another group of anglers had canceled with Reel Time Fishing guide Toby Wyatt. Normally a last-minute group cancellation is a direct $600-$1,500 blow to a guide’s bottom line.
Two hot fishing topics emerged this week: • Where are the behemoths in the Columbia River’s record run of chinook salmon?
OUTFISH – For dog owners, there is a downside to this year’s record-breaking return of fall chinook in the Snake River basin. Anglers are catching many of those fish and bringing them home.