Salmon, steelhead booming upstream

Steelhead have been pouring over Lower Granite Dam in double the numbers to date of last year’s record run up the Snake River.  (File)
Steelhead have been pouring over Lower Granite Dam in double the numbers to date of last year’s record run up the Snake River. (File)

Kings, sockeye, steelies give anglers little rest

The big 2010 spring chinook run up the Columbia River is history.

The record number of sockeye are still making a splash and the whopper run of steelhead is catching attention in the Snake River.

But that’s not the end of the phenomenal anadromous fish year of 2010.

Possibly the second-largest run of fall chinook in the past 70 years is staging to make its run through the heart of Washington.

More than 650,000 fall chinook are forecast to enter the river in the next few weeks, up from a return of 429,000 chinook last year. If the run materializes as expected, it would be the largest fall chinook return since 2004.

Anglers are predicted to catch about 20,000 of the salmon in the Columbia before the fish reach Bonneville Dam.

“Fishing did start off slow, but believe me the fish are in the ocean stretched from here to Canada,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

Last week, fishermen were enjoying great success off British Columbia’s Vancouver Island in a big turnaround from the slow fishing most of that area suffered two years ago.

“It is going to be fantastic for kings, and all the information points to a pretty solid guarantee that they’ll be arriving on every flood tide,” Floor said. “Historical data show the fish will peak (in the Buoy 10 area at the mouth of the Columbia) on (Wednesday or Thursday).”

To home in on the precise depth and to entice fish even more anglers also use a Dipsy Diver, EZ Diver or a Deep Six Diver trailed behind a Fish Flash or KoneZone Flasher.

“The most important thing will not be in the criteria of using a bait or spinner as in just finding huge groups of fish and putting your presentation down right in front of them,” Floor said.

The best places to fish are the deadline area at Buoy 10; finger pilings off Sand Island; the entrance to Baker Bay near Chinook; in front of Hammond, Warrenton and Astoria; the Desdemona Flats; and just above the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

In September, many of the fish will be bending rods upstream in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia.

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