FISHING – Anglers in the popular Buoy 10 late-summer salmon season in the Columbia River estuary will get to keep wild chinook seven days a week in 2017.
According to rules recently adopted by Washington and Oregon, there will not be a repeat of 2016 when Buoy 10 sportsmen had to release unmarked chinook on Sundays and Mondays.
Buoy 10 is the name given to the 16 miles between red buoy No. 10 at the mouth of the Columbia.
The season will be Aug. 1 through Labor Day with a daily limit of two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook.
Summer steelhead regulations have not yet been set, but significant restrictions are anticipated.
State biologists are forecasting a return of just 130,700 steelhead to waters upstream of Bonneville Dam, down from 182,737 in 2016 and 261,400 in 2015. Returns were 601,000 as recently as 2009.
In worst shape are the Group B steelhead headed for Idaho. Group B are larger, later-returning steelhead headed for Idaho’s Clearwater River, a major tributary of the Snake River.
Forecasts are for 6,200 hatchery-origin Group B steelhead and a mere 1,100 wild Group B steelhead.
Hatcheries in the Clearwater basin need 2,000 adult steelhead for spawning.
The federal Endangered Species Act limits non-Indian harvest of wild Group A and wild Group B steelhead to 2 percent incidental catch in the process of catching fish from healthy stocks.
That means only 22 wild Group B steelhead can be killed in the plethora of sport fisheries between the Columbia River mouth and Idaho, plus in commercial gillnet fisheries between Woodland and Beacon Rock in the fall.
Fly fishers rally at Red’s
FISHING – Free seminars and clinics to improve fly fishing skills are scheduled for the annual Red’s Rendezvous on the Yakima River south of Ellensburg, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday. Info: redsflyshop.com.