2010 was the year of the lunker for anglers
Big runs of salmon and steelhead moved upstream to delight Inland Northwest anglers again in 2010, but other big fish stories stood out.
A 9.67-pound kokanee caught in northeastern Oregon’s Wallowa Lake was declared a world record in two categories.
Ron Campbell of La Grande, Ore., landed the lunker on June 13 to break the 22-year-old all-tackle record recorded by the Florida-based International Game Fish Association. The fish also was declared the largest recorded in the 12-pound test line class.
It was the last and largest of a string of four Oregon state record kokanee Wallowa Lake produced in the span of a year.
Sockeye salmon were perhaps the dominating news in 2010.
• About 34 million sockeye salmon returned to British Columbia’s Fraser River this year – the most since 1913 – compared with last year’s 1.7 million – the lowest in more than 50 years.
• The Columbia River ushered in 386,524 sockeyes, the most since Bonneville Dam started operating and fish counting started in 1938. The abundance of fish attracted a new crop of anglers to the Upper Columbia.
• About 1,700 sockeyes made the 900-mile journey from the Pacific Ocean up the Columbia, Snake and Salmon rivers to Idaho’s Sawtooth Hatchery or Redfish Lake Creek. The species hit rock bottom in 1990, when zero sockeyes made it beyond Lower Granite Dam. Idaho’s captive breeding program saved the run from the brink of extinction.
Anglers earned $1.2 million for harvesting 173,000 fish in the Bonneville Power Administration’s bounty program on northern pikeminnows in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Nikolay Zaremskiy of Gresham, Ore., caught more than 10,000 fish and earned a record $81,000 during the six-month season. Zaremskiy is no stranger to cashing in on pikeminnows. He set the previous earning record of $58,000 two years ago.
A fledgling fly fisherman landed a record northern pike on April 30 at Smith Lake near Kalispell, Mont.
Ivan Keeney of Kalispell landed the fish with a rod, reel and line outfit that cost a measly $21. The Wisconsin-based Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame confirmed Keeney’s 30-pound northern pike as a North American record in the fly-fishing category for 15-pound test line.