FISHING – It’s not a run of fall chinook salmon coming up the Columbia River this season. It’s a stampede.
On Friday, the 2013 run topped the record since counting began at Bonneville Dam in 1938, topping the 610,700 fish counted in 2003.
As returns over Bonneville were setting daily records, regional fish managers upped their forecast on Tuesday, saying this year’s fall chinook run could eventually reach 835,000 adult fish.
Wednesday’s count over Bonneville, the first dam the fish encounter on the Columbia, was 42,506. That’s the sixth-highest single-day count on record. This year’s run set three single-day records over Bonneville Dam during the week, peaking with 63,870 on Monday.
The largest percentage of these fish is headed for the Hanford Reach of the Columbia as well as to the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers in Idaho.
“This will be a fishing season to remember,” said Guy Norman, Washington Fish and Wildlife southwest regional director.
“This year’s run of upriver fall chinook is through the roof, and a positive sign that regional efforts to rebuild this salmon population are making a difference.”
Oregon and Washington reopened fishing in the lower Columbia on Friday to let anglers tap more of the salmon bounty that’s heading upstream.
About 106,000 fall chinook had already crossed McNary Dam south of the Tri-Cities and 28,500 had been counted at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River.
Also this week, Columbia-Snake fish managers adjusted the forecast for A-run steelhead to 205,000 fish, including 86,000 wild steelhead. That’s an increase from the previous week’s prediction, but still below the preseason forecast of 291,000. The A-run fish provide fisheries for Snake River tributaries including the Grande Ronde as well as the Upper Columbia and tributaries.
The size of the B-run steelhead bound mostly for Idaho’s Clearwater River continued to track behind expectations.
Trout beefing up at Two Rivers
FISHING – Results from last weekend’s Two River’s Fall Trout Derby indicate that Lake Roosevelt’s net-pen rainbows are putting on weight for the winter fishery when they’re at their prime.
The largest rainbow weighed 4.82 with most of the fish in the 1.2-2.6 pound range. Kokanee ranged from .48 to 3.4 pounds.
Spokane-area anglers Joedy Friemal and Russ Nelson topped the 29 teams in the derby with 14 fish – the maximum the team could weigh in two days – totaling 35.96 pounds, organizer Dan Kieffer of Two Rivers RV said.
The 2014 Two Rivers fishing derby schedule includes:
• Spring trout, April 18-19.
• Walleye, June 7-8.
• Bass, June 21-22 (tentative).
• Fall trout, Sept. 13-14.