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Roosevelt Lake shore ideal for winter hikes with dogs

HIKING — Hikers looking for a long winter walk where they can let their dog romp a bit might consider the shores of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area that are away from houses and buildings.

Be smart: If there's anyone around — anglers, walkers or anyone else — use a leash.

Snow rarely lingers long on the Roosevelt shoreline after a storm, and the water level is low from winter through early spring leaving a large beach area for roaming.

Local hiker Karen Jurasin snapped the photo above of her dog, Scout, during a romp on the shore line at the Hawk Creek area northwest of Davenport (page 315 in 100 Hikes of the Inland Northwest).

Latest spring chinook forecast looks promising

FISHING — The chart above was just released by Columbia River fisheries managers.  Get your tackle rigged.

Revised plan is status quo for Columbia salmon

FISHING — The federal government’s management plan for protecting salmon and steelhead populations imperiled by federal dams in the Columbia River basin differs little from its earlier version and continues to rely heavily on habitat improvement.

Click continue reading for a report by the Associated Press.

Spring chinook will double the pleasure at Drano Lake

FISHING — Here's the latest forecast for a niche of the Columbia River spring chinook run popular with anglers:

 

Minor fluctuations in Roosevelt levels expected

BOATING — The elevation of Lake Roosevelt was 1278 feet Wednesday and is expected to range from 1270 to 1278 through mid-February as the dam operates primarily for providing power, the Bureau of Reclamation reports.

Although local snowpacks are thin, the status of the Columbia  Basin, which ranges well into Canada, is bright for Columbia River hydropower and fish. Says the Bureau:

The January Water Supply Forecasts have been issued. Currently the inflow forecast for Lake Roosevelt is 95% of average. The forecast for the Dalles is 97% of average.

The following are flood control elevations forecast for Lake Roosevelt but subject change:

  • January 31 - 1290 feet
  • February 31 - 1290 feet
  • March 31 - 1276.8 feet
  • April 31 - 1243.2 feet

Daily lake level forecast by phone: (800) 824-4916.

Or check out this NOAA site with Roosevelt levels and a list of boat launching elevations on the same page.

Video: winter trolling for Lake Roosevelt trout

FISHING — Anglers new to winter trolling for trout at Lake Roosevelt should take five-minutes to view a video produced by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Chris Donley, the agency's inland fisheries manager and a Spokane County native, offers general guidelines to help anglers zero in on what's left of the 750,000 net pen rainbows that are released in the lake each summer. 

Main points: 

  • Most winter rainbows are in the top 10 feet of the water column.
  • Troll far back behind boats —150-300 feet — or use side planers to put lures in front of fish displaced by movement of the boat.
  • Experiment with a variety of flies and lures, such as Apex and Rapala, and use a flasher to attract fish.
  • The keys to success generally are speed (he mentions trolling at 2 mph), depth and color.

Tribes keep fishing jurisdiction a hot potato on Lake Roosevelt

PUBLIC LANDS — My column today regarding the murky jurisdictional differences sport fishermen must navigate on and around Lake Roosevelt is just a glimpse at years of posturing that's likely to go on for many more years.   That's the way it is with boundary disputes between sovereign nations, only in the case of a U.S. citizen challenging the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe, the citizens pay the cost of both the prosecution and the defense, since the U.S. Attorney would be called in to defend the tribe.

This is part of the reason it's hard to move forward.

A few notes:

  • When camping or fishing FROM SHORE on the Colville or Spokane Indian reservation lands along Lake Roosevelt, tribal permits and licenses are required.  No state or federal agencies dispute that.
  • The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Colville Tribe recently renewed their five-year agreement to allow non-tribal anglers to fish without a tribal fishing license in the designated area along the net pens on Lake Rufus Woods.  The agreement calls for allowing this privilege in three areas along the reservation side of Rufus Woods, but state funding has allowed development of only the one site so far, said WDFW Police  Capt. Chris Anderson.
  • Attatched to this blog is the “5 Party Agreement” the Indian Tribes refer to when they say they have jurisdiction to the middle of Lake Roosevelt, regardless of what the federal court ruled in the Cassidy Decision.
  • Click here for my story explaining the Spokane Tribe's contention that a tribal fishing license is required for fishing in the Sanpoil Arm of Lake Roosevelt, even from a boat below the 1,310 elevation line.

Connie Williamson of Grand Coulee was one of the anglers first ticketed by tribal officers for fishing without a Colville tribal fishing license on Geezer Beach. She says she has a tribal because she fishes on the reservation lands and respects the tribe's authority to manage its fish and wildlife on the reservation. But she fished while carrying just a state fishing license on Geezer Beach to  press the point that that land belongs to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the tribe should have no authority on that land.

When she went to Colville tribal court for her hearing, the charges were dropped. She, too, could not progress to a resolution in the dispute.

Read on for portions of the responses she's received as she's pursued the issue to higher levels:


Documents:

Early birds get discounts on Lake Roosevelt boat launch permits

NATIONAL PARKS — Boaters and anglers can save money buy buying their season boat launch permit for Lake Roosevelt before the end of April.

A launch permit is required at all designated National Park Service-managed ramps regardless of the type of vessel.

Without a season permit, boaters pay on site a $6 fee for a permit valid for seven days.

2014 season launch permits cost $30 if purchased by April 30. After that, the cost increases to $40.

Federal Golden Age, Golden Access and Interagency Senior or Access Pass cardholders, fees get 50 percent off.

Read on for details on where to purchase the boat launch permits.

Hanford Reach steelhead fishing rusty in December

FISHING — The Columbia River steelhead fishing report for December in the Hanford Reach isn't anything to get excited about.  Here's the summary just posted by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist Paul Hoffarth in the Tri-Cities:

Cold weather has kept anglers away from the water in December. Only 82 angler trips taken in December so far.  Through December 15, staff interviewed 18 anglers with 1 wild steelhead released.  

Hastings shuns environmental angle to Columbia River Treaty

RIVERS — Talks on revising the Columbia River Treaty aren't getting off to a great start from the perspective of fishermen:

Hastings: Leave ecosystem out of Columbia River Treaty — Capital Press

Columbia River Treaty hearing set in Pasco Monday

RIVERS — Discussions on revising the Columbia River Treaty are picking up, as the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee plans a field hearing Monday, Dec. 9, in Pasco to learn about regional impacts of the treaty with Canada.

Changes in the treaty could have profound impacts on hydropower management and fishing.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the committee, has concerns about the upcoming renegotiation of the treaty and the United States’ draft recommendations for possible changes.

He scheduled the hearing for 9 a.m. in the Pasco City Council Chambers, 525 N. Third Ave.

Read on for more from the Associated Press:

2014 spring chinook forecast sees more fish

FISHING — The chart above, just released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, is an early forecast for spring and summer chinook returning to the Columbia River next year.

The numbers suggest that almost twice as many spring chinook will return to the system to delight anglers in 2014 while the numbers of summer chinook bound for the upper Columbia could be slightly down.

The numbers will be updated several times over the coming months.

Hanford Reach steelhead catch lagging

FISHING — Through November 30, anglers have harvested a total of 243 steelhead in the Hanford Reach (Hwy 395 to old Hanford townsite), according to a report just posted by Paul Hoffarth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist for the area.

  • Roughly 50 percent of the steelhead encountered to date have been unclipped.
  • Both catch and harvest are well below last year’s fishery and the 10-year average. 
  • Anglers are averaging 20 pole hours for one hatchery steelhead. 
  • Bank anglers are faring a bit better than the boat anglers. 

Canoeing salmon advocates near source of Columbia River

Sea2Source Episode 5: Kettle Falls to Kinbasket Lake BC from Voyages of Rediscovery on Vimeo.

The “Sea to the Source” canoe expedition that left Astoria, Ore., on Aug. 2 in hand-made crafts is on track to reach the end of its voyage Monday at Canal Flats, the source of the Columbia River in British Columbia.

An expedition of canoeists and Native American students is leading an upstream effort the length of the Columbia to advocate construction of a fish ladder to reintroduce chinook salmon runs in the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam.

  • See photos of the latest leg of the journey upstream from Kettle Falls.

The crew consists of five river guides who oversee a river-based environmental education program called Voyages of Rediscovery. They have enlisted the muscle power of Indian Tribes, youths and other supporters to build new boats and power them along the way.

Donna-Gay Ward of Northport, Wash., paddled more that 300 miles with “the Guys” to the U.S.-Canada border. By Oct. 12, she said the paddlers were in Revelstoke, British Columbia, making a food buy and were down to four men paddling the new canoe they had built while at Kettle Falls. “They have been getting up around 4:30 a.m. and hitting the water at first light and paddling all day,” she said. “The day they phoned they had done about 75 km!”

Here is the latest update, received today from expedition member Adam Wicks-Arshack: 

What an incredible RIVER!  Last week we paddled away from Revelstoke and into the most remote and serene sections of the Columbia River.  In just a few days we made it to Mica Dam and were treated to a nights stay in a house and an all you can eat buffet at the cafeteria (I am pretty sure they will now have to raise the BC Hydro rates after our food binge).  What great hosts as have been everyone that we have met along the Great River of the West.  Leaving Mica dam was a little eerie, you could really feel the power of the river and the power of what we humans have done to the river.  For the past 500km we had been warned about the Kinabasket Lake about the winds in particular and how fierce they can be.  It was a thrill to paddle past Boat Encampment, the Canoe River, Wood River and finally turning south around the big bend of the Columbia River.

Fortunately we were able to cover a lot of territory in short time and sailed about 65km in one day.  We really felt as though the river graced us and allowed us safe passage and this was for a reason.  The river wants salmon and wants to get healthy again.

Wicks-Arshack says the paddlers have been resupplied, helped  and cheered on by people along the way who “share incredible stories and their deep relationships to the river and the salmon.”

They all seek to let salmon regain their relationship with the entire river from sea to source, he said.

“It is clear we need more education along the river,” he said. “There is a great disconnect between the upper and lower basin.  Many people in Canada are unaware of where the river meets the ocean and people on the lower river in the USA are oblivious to where the headwaters are and the sacrifices the First Nation, Canadian people, and the land have made for flood control and hydro power.”

  • In Spokane:  Expedition members plan to participate in the Roundtable discussion on the Columbia River Treaty Perspectives  at the annual Lake Roosevelt Forum, Nov. 19-20 at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane.

“There is a lot of work to do.  Even though this trip is coming to an end, for us, this is just the beginning lets start figuring out how we can get a diverse group of young people connected to the river…. Respect for the river comes with a love for the river and you can only love something you know.” 

He envisions an international water trail — perhaps The Columbia River Water Trail from Source to Sea — that “would constantly remind Columbia River citizens that everyone lives downstream.”

Steelheaders find action among Hanford Reach salmon

FISHING — Oh, yeah!  Steelhead are returning to the Upper Columbia River through the Hanford Reach, too.  Outnumbered by the record run of  fall chinook, some anglers almost forgot… but not everyone.

Here's the latest report from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The majority of the boats and bank anglers fishing in the Hanford Reach were targeting salmon this past week.  WDFW staff interviewed 215 bank anglers fishing for steelhead and salmon and 40 boat anglers fishing for steelhead.  An estimated 111 steelhead were caught and 39 fish harvested by steelhead anglers this past week.  Salmon anglers caught an additional 24 steelhead bringing the total steelhead catch to 135 (harvest = 47). 

On October 17, the steelhead regulations were modified in the lower section of the Hanford Reach (Hwy 395 to the old Hanford town site wooden powerline towers) to allow retention of all hatchery steelhead.

For the season, Oct 1-20, an estimated 334 steelhead have been caught in the lower Hanford Reach and 90 steelhead have been harvested. 

Majority of Washington lawmakers back Columbia River bridge

While touring Spokane on Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee said his withdrawal of plans to seek $450 million in state money for a controversial span over the Columbia River should eliminate the last roadblock to passing a comprehensive transportation package for the state before year's end.

A majority of Washington lawmakers want Oregon to know that doesn't mean they've turned their backs on the project.

A letter to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber sent Wednesday was signed by 75 Washington legislators, including many members of the Senate Democratic caucus that were denied a vote on the bridge project during the Legislature's regular and two special 2013 sessions.

“I’m disappointed our two states aren’t sharing leadership of this project, as we once were,” said Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver. The project would replace existing spans over the Columbia River that have been in operation for more than half a century and are badly in need of repair to alleviate congestion, according to engineers.

Inslee said in an interview with The Spokesman-Review on Wednesday that Kitzhaber is pondering calling a special session of his own to attain authorization for his state to move forward on the project without Washington's assistance. Inslee said the state attorney general has reviewed that option and there is no legal barrier to Oregon connecting its bridge to Washington roads.

The project recently received the go-ahead from the U.S. Coast Guard. The leader of the Oregon Senate indicated Wednesday plans to push a vote on the project to February, according to the Oregonian.

Click here to read the entire letter sent by Washington lawmakers to Kitzhaber.

Steelhead rules liberated on Hanford Reach

FISHING — Steelheading rules on a portion of the Columbia River are being liberated Thursday as enough fish move up the river to satisfy hatchery egg-taking needs.  

Here's the announcement just posted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Action:  Open a section of the Columbia River to retention of any hatchery steelhead

Species affected:  Hatchery steelhead

Effective Date:Oct. 17, 2013

Location:  Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco upstream to the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers

Other information:

•      Daily limit of two (2) hatchery steelhead.  Hatchery steelhead are identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar in its location.  Minimum size is 20 inches.

•      Wild steelhead (adipose fin intact) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

This action removes the requirement for both an adipose fin clip and ventral fin clip for hatchery steelhead retained prior to Nov. 1. The Lower Hanford Reach will remain open for hatchery steelhead fishing after Oct. 31 under the current permanent regulation listed in the 2013-14 fishing rules pamphlet (Page 73) and is scheduled to run through March 31, 2014.

Reason for action: Hatchery-origin steelhead in excess of desired escapement are forecast to return to the upper Columbia River. This fishery will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds. Higher proportions of naturally produced spawners are expected to improve genetic integrity and recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage.  Steelhead fisheries for hatchery steelhead (adipose clip only) have recently opened in the upper Columbia and tributaries allowing early retention of adipose clip only steelhead in the lower Hanford Reach.  

Hanford Reach salmon effort thins, catch stays high

FISHING — Chinook salmon anglers are finding a little more elbow room on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River and anglers numbers declinced slightly last week, but the catch rates on the 2013 record run remain high.

Here's the report just received from Paul Hoffarth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife area fisheries biologist:

The number of boats on the water in the Hanford Reach dropped a bit this past week compared to the two weeks prior.  There were an estimated 5,123 angler trips for the week.  Anglers averaged 2.2 Chinook per boat and 20 hours for each Chinook caught from the bank.

Staff interviewed anglers from 572 boats (1,309 boat anglers) and 227 bank anglers fishing for Chinook reporting a harvest of 1,221 adult Chinook and 102 jacks.  Harvest for the week was estimated at 4,357 adult Chinook and 357 Chinook jacks. 

For the season, 19,313 adult Chinook and 2,365 jacks have been harvested.  The adult harvest breaks the previous record of 13,102 adults harvested set last year.  There have been 33,081 angler trips for the fishery through October 13. The in-season run update for natural origin adult Hanford Reach fall Chinook returning to the Hanford Reach is 136,902 (updated Oct 7).

Yakima River fishing for chinooks hasn't been bad, either.  Says Hoffarth:

WDFW staff interviewed 185 anglers between October 7th and 13th.  Anglers reported harvesting 86 adult Chinook, 14 jacks, and 7 coho.  An estimated 662 adult fall Chinook, 148 jacks, and 76 coho were harvested this past week from 1,657 angler trips.  Anglers averaged 1 salmon for every 4.4 hours fished.

For the season, 5,942 anglers trips have been taken and 995 adult Chinook, 313 chinook jacks, and 83 coho have been harvested.

Upper Columbia and tribs open Wednesday for steelhead

FISHING — Starting Wednesday (Oct. 16), fishing will open for hatchery steelhead on the mainstem upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Icicle, Methow and Okanogan rivers until further notice.

In addition, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the Similkameen River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Nov. 1.

Jeff Korth, regional fish manager for WDFW, said approximately 14,000 adult steelhead are expected to return to the upper Columbia River this year - enough to allow the department to open area steelhead fisheries.

Korth noted, however, that fishing will be more tightly regulated than last year because fewer hatchery steelhead are projected to return this year and wild steelhead are expected to make up a higher proportion of the run.

“Careful management is required to protect naturally spawning steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act,” Korth said. “While these fisheries traditionally remain open through the winter, we may have to close fishing early due to the higher number of encounters with wild steelhead expected this year.”

Korth said anglers should check WDFW's website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/ ) throughout the season for possible changes in the fishing regulations.
 
On all rivers, anglers will have a daily limit of two hatchery steelhead, marked with clipped adipose fins and measuring at least 20 inches in length. Anglers are required to immediately release any steelhead with an intact adipose fin without removing the fish from the water. All steelhead fitted with a floy (anchor) tag and those with one or more round quarter-inch holes punched in their caudal (tail) fin must also be released.

Anglers fishing tributaries to the upper Columbia River are also required to retain any legal-size hatchery steelhead they catch until the daily limit of two fish is reached. Once they have retained two fish, anglers must stop fishing for steelhead.

Selective gear rules apply to all areas where steelhead seasons are open, although bait may be used on the mainstem Columbia River. All anglers are required to follow selective gear rules and restrictions described in WDFW's Sport Fishing Rules, available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

Anglers should also be aware that motorized vessels are not allowed on the Wenatchee or Icicle rivers under Chelan County ordinances.

Areas that will open to fishing for hatchery steelhead Oct. 16 until further notice include:

  • Mainstem Columbia River: Open from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except bait is allowed.
  • Wenatchee River: Open from the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply. Motorized vessels are not allowed.
  • Methow River: Open from the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited from the second powerline crossing to the first Highway 153 Bridge. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
  • Okanogan River: Open from the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.

Areas that will open to fishing for hatchery steelhead Nov. 1 include:

  • Similkameen River: Open from the mouth to 400 below Enloe Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.

Three areas of the Columbia River - Vernita, Priest Rapids and Wanapum - will not open for steelhead fishing this fall to preserve fishing opportunities on upper-river tributaries, Korth said.

All anglers must possess a valid fishing license and a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement to participate in these fisheries. Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River steelhead fisheries.

The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for WDFW to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River Basin.  

Update on fall chinook salmon record run

FISHING — Although steelhead fishing has opened in the Ringold area of the Columbia River's Hanford Reach, most angling pressure has been focused on the record run of chinook salmon packing into the area.

Anglers last week AVERAGED 2.5 chinooks per boat as they set sportfishing records for chinook caught in the free-flowing stretch between the Tri Cities and Priest Rapids Dam.  Awesome.

The chinooks also are setting records on the Snake River.

The total count at Bonneville Dam this year through Monday is 904,855 adult fall chinook, already far beyond the previous seasonal record count of 610,244 set in 2003. Bonneville is the first hydro project the fish encounter on their way upstream to the mid-Columbia and the Snake River. 
 
The count as of Monday at Lower Granite on the Snake River was 52,277, well past the previous record of 41,815 set in 2010. Fish continue to move over Lower Granite at the rate of 400-500 a day.
 
The Snake River fish pass over four Columbia River dams before turning into the Snake. Lower Granite is the last of four passable dams on the lower Snake before the fish head into the Lewiston-Clarkston area, the Clearwater and up the Snake farther to the Salmon River.
 
The counts at the lower Snake River’s Lower Granite Dam include wild Snake River fall chinook that are listed under the Endangered Species Act. 

Hanford Reach anglers catch record number of fall chinook

SALMON FISHING — The 2013 record run of chinook salmon that's stampeding up the Columbia River is making history, and so are anglers.

Sport fishermen caught a record number of chinook in the lower Columbia when the run was peaking there.

Now Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife creel surveys have confirmed that anglers alrealdy have set a record for the catch in the Hanford Reach, where they averaged a whopping 2.5 kings per boat last week.

And the season doesn't close until Oct. 22 in that stretch of river.

Here's the report just received from Paul Hoffarth, WDFW fisheries biologist in the Tri Cities.

Angler effort remained strong this past week with an estimated 7,714 angler trips for the week.  Anglers averaged 2.5 Chinook per boat.

Staff interviewed anglers from 477 boats (1,191 boat anglers) and 382 bank anglers fishing for Chinook reporting a harvest of 1,099 adult Chinook and 107 jacks.  Harvest for the week was estimated at 6,531 adult Chinook and 651 Chinook jacks. 

For the season, 14,967 adult Chinook and 2,014 jacks have been harvested.  The adult harvest breaks the previous record of 13,102 adults harvested set last year.  There have been 27,958 angler trips for the fishery through October 6.

The in-season run update for natural origin adult Hanford Reach fall Chinook returning to the Hanford Reach is 181,137 (updated Oct 1).

Lake Roosevelt boat ramps remain closed

BOATING — The trout are getting break at Lake Roosevelt as the public boat launches continue to be closed by the National Park Service.

“We’ve been given direction for the duration of the shutdown that all National Park Service facilities are closed for visitor recreation activities,” said Dan Foster, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area superintendent in Grand Coulee.

He said today that the boat launch areas will continue to be barricaded until Congress resolves the federal government shutdown.

“I don’t blame people for wanting to go boating on the lake. I know the fishing has been good and this weekend especially is supposed to be really nice.

“But the closures are part of the direction we’ve been given, and as superintendent, I have no latitude for changes.”

Fed shutdown delays fish counts at dams

FISHING — Online posting of fish counts over dams on the Columbia and Snake river is being delayed for some dams because of the federal shutdown.

The counts are keenly watched by anglers this time of year as they monitor salmon and steelhead movements during the upstream migrations.

The Fish Passage Center has been posting the counts as soon as it gets them through channels dealing with the shut-down U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Columbia River treaty meeting Wednesday in Spokane

RIVERS — Despite the U.S. government shutdown, Bonneville Power and the Army Corps of Engineers will hold public hearings on Columbia River Treaty review in Spokane on Wednesday (Oct. 2) at the downtown Spokane Public Library, 906 W. Main St.

The announcement was posted on the U.S. Columbia River Treaty Review website.

The agencies will be taking comments on the draft recommendations to the Department of State regarding what a modernized Treaty will look like, said Rachael Paschal Osborn, Spokane-based attorney with the Center for Environmental Law & Policy.

Osborn suggests parties interested in how the treaty may be used to restore the Columbia River should consider providing the following messages at the meetings, or via www.bpa.gov/comment (or call 800-622-4519):

(1) Adding ecosystem function and restoration as a co-equal purpose of the treaty is good.  Thank the US Entity and the agencies and tribes who have worked hard to recommend this new purpose for the Treaty.

(2) Adding fish passage at Columbia system dams is good.  Salmon must be, and can be, restored to their ancestral grounds. Tribes and supporters are proposing a fish ladder over Grand Coulee Dam.

(3) Modernize flood control.  Fewer levees, more flood plain connections, practical solutions such as not building in the flood plain can create flexibility for upstream water storage.

(4) Recognize B.C.'s contribution to power generation, safety and ecological well-being in the U.S.  Let's negotiate in good faith.

Osborn will post updates on the Columbia River on her Naiad's blog.

Salmon run is big, but so are upper Columbia rainbows

FLY FISHING — Everett Coulter of Spokane emailed to remind me that the record run of chinook salmon stampeding upstream from the ocean isn't the only fishery worth exploring in the upper Columbia River.

The photo above shows a feisty 23-inch rainbow, “one of four really nice rainbows we caught on the Columbia at Castelgar,” he said.  “We landed two on dry flies and two on nymphs.  The fishery on the Columbia is really quite good.”

The other photo (click “continue reading”) shows Hugh Evans (back) of Spokane with more proof that Coulter isn't blowing steam.

The anglers fished out of a drift boat with Columbia-Elk river fly fishing guide John Muir.

There you go. 

Lake Roosevelt boat launches gated during government shutdown

UPDATED 1:05 p.m.

BOATING — The hot fishing for rainbow trout that's been reported in recent weeks at Lake Roosevelt might cool off for lack of anglers.

The federal officials have announced that all  National Park Service facilities on the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area are being closed during the federal government shutdown

This includes campgrounds, marinas, boat launches and concessions operations, the supervisor's office said today.

  • Even the national park web pages are down!

Park Service officials just confirmed that they will be putting up barricades at the entrances of campgrounds and boat launches.

There are no state-managed access sites on the 125-mile long reservoir.

Read on for more details in a press release issued by the Lake Roosevelt NRA at 1 p.m. today:

Snake River hot for pikeminnow bounty anglers; season closes today

FISHING — The area of the Snake River upstream from Lower Granite Dam has been the hottest September spot in the Columbia River system for bounty angers targeting northern pikeminnows for cash rewards.

The 2013 season for the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, ends today.

Angers who report to any of 21 check stations along the Snake and Columbia rivers have been earning $4-$8 per fish in the program to suppress predators that prey on young endangered salmon. Bonuses of up to $500 can be collected from fish that are tagged as incentive to attract more anglers.

In the most recent week of reports, Sept. 16-22, the Greenbelt's 54 anglers fishing out of the Clarkston area caught 1,051 pikeminnows. The next closest total was reported by the Boyer Park check station, with 74 anglers catching 890 fish. 

Overall for the season that started in May, Boyer Park's 1,913 registered anglers have turned in 24,145 pikeminnows, second only to The Dalles Boat Basin, where 3,368 anglers have turned in 26,265 fish.

The harvest total from Sept. 16-22 — the latest data available — was 6,363 pikeminnows (compared with 6,327 the week before) from 517 anglers (579). The catch average was 12.3 fish per angler up from 10.9 the previous week with three tags recovered (two).

One tagged fish was caught for every 2,121 pikeminnow caught (one for every 3,163 the week before).

The harvest season total is 155,245 pikeminnow from 19,622 anglers for a catch average of 7.9 fish per angler with 158 tags recovered.

The best catch rates this past week occurred at PortCo (Marine Park) with 29.0 fish per rod; Washougal with 28.5; Ridgefield with 23.7; Gleason with 20.4; and Greenbelt with 19.5.

Studis have shown that northern pikeminnow, a large member of the minnow family, eat millions of young salmon and steelhead, and other fish like bass, walleye and shad in the Columbia and Snake rivers each year.

The more northern pikeminnow an angler catches, the more the fish are worth. The first 100 are worth $4 each; the next 300 are worth $5 each, and after 400 fish are caught and turned in, they are worth $8 each. 

Only fish caught from the Columbia mouth to Priest Rapids Dam, and from the Snake mouth to Hells Canyon Dam are eligible.

Info: (800) 858-9015.

Landers verifies Columbia River’s record run of chinook salmon

FISHING — Four people, including me, reeled 13 chinook salmon to the boat today in the Hanford Reach and got eight of them INTO the boat.

That's a good indication that the record run of chinook salmon heading up the Columbia and Snake Rivers is the real deal.

We were fishing with Toby Wyatt and Jim Havener of Reel Time Fishing on Wyatt's 27-foot boat, which he built with his dad in Clarkston.

Surprise! Disagreement on new plan for dams, salmon

USFWS releases new plan for NW dams to save salmon

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service is again opposing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plan to increase releases of water from eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers to help salmon make the trek to the Pacific Ocean because the agency disagrees with the goal of the plan and the basic science on which it is premised.
—Idaho Statesman

Meeting set on changes to Lake Roosevelt boat launches

BOATING — Proposed changes at the Kettle Falls and Fort Spokane boat launches are detailed in the 2013 Boat Launch Development Concept Plan released for public by the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.

The plan evaluates the effects of expanding and reconfiguring the two existing boat launches and the associated facilities within recreation area.

National Park Service staff will hold an open house to discuss this plan, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Kettle Falls Visitors Center, 425 W. Third Ave.  Written comments will also be accepted at this meeting.

Comments on the plan are due by Sept. 30.