Latest from The Spokesman-Review
SALMON FISHING — Fishing for spring chinook on the lower Snake River could close after fishing hours on Friday because of the downgrading of the forecast from about 314,000 to 220,000 fish up the Columbia.
Anglers have been catching springers in the Snake, and they may be close to their quota given the reduced numbers of fish coming upstream.
Look for an announcement, possibly late today, that would close the Snake from Little Goose downstream on Friday night.
Fishing upstream in the Snake would likely close after the weekend, according to John Whalen, regional fisheries manager, who said fish managers would be meeting Monday to go over the numbers again.
SALMON FISHING — Two sections of the Yakima River will open this week to fishing for hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon, under regulations announced late this afternoon by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Wednesday, May 16, the lower Yakima River will open to fishing for hatchery spring chinook from the Interstate 182 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser.
Saturday, May 19, the salmon fishery will expand to the upper Yakima River from the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the railroad bridge below Roza Dam.
John Easterbrooks, regional WDFW fish program manager, said the lower river is expected to remain open through June 30, while fishing in the upper section will likely continue through July 31.
“The springers are running late this year, but they’re finally moving into the Yakima River,” said Easterbrooks, noting that fishery managers are predicting a return of approximately 5,000 adult hatchery chinook to the Yakima River.
Read on for details.
SALMON FISHING — Shortly after the 2012 spring chinook run expectations were downsized, the surge in a late-holding run finally began. Biologists are watching closely; anglers are baiting up.
The largest single-day count of spring chinook of the last nine years climbed over Bonneville Dam on Wednesday.
Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsmen shucked out a few more numbers:
The surge of 18,436 fish is the fifth largest going back through the early 2000's renaissance of the run and sixth largest back to the late 1930s, he said.
The former figure itself is higher than totals for every day of this year's return except Tuesday and Wednesday.
And Wednesday's aggregate brings the three-day total to 39,517 springers, meaning almost half of 2012's run, which now is up to 81,863, has come through the dam since Monday.
The top five all-time best days are April 18, 2001 (27,020), April 30, 2002 (25,631), May 1, 2002 (20,847), April 29, 1972 (19241) and April 15, 2001 (19,192).
In recent years, the best single day has been May 1, 2011, when 15,766 went through.
Washington and Oregon fish managers are watching the returns closely. Any run adjustments most likely would be made on Monday.
Meanwhile, expect a crowd at Drano Lake and Wind River. Anglers and salmon are all showing up at once.
FISHING — Idaho's spring steelhead fishing season closes today in most waters.
The Little Salmon, from its mouth upstream to the U.S. 95 Bridge at Smokey Boulder Road, remains open until May 15.
Meanwhile, the spring chinook fishing season opened April 22, but only about two dozen adults have been counted so far over Lower Granite Dam.
FISHING — Sea lions on the lower Columbia River are learning to take advantage of rules requiring anglers to release wild chinook salmon.
The video above shows anglers netting a nice chinook. But as they readied to remove the hook and release the fish, a sea lion nearly pulled the man holding the net into the water. Eventually, the net snapped in pieces, and the sea lion swam away with the fish.
See the Portland TV news story.
SALMON FISHING — Rain predicted for this week is forecast to cause a big surge of runoff in the region's rivers. It won't be pleasant for a lot of people. But the silver lining could be tamer rivers when the late-arriving spring chinook salmon finally get up over Lower Granite Dam and head into Idaho.
Read on for a report and thoughful analysis from Amy Sinclair of Exodus Wilderness Adventures and fishing guides in Riggins.
SALMON FISHING — With heavy runoff creating poor river conditions, the spring chinook salmon fishing season on the lower Columbia River has been extended through April 22.
The eight-day extension may give anglers a better shot at fish that appear to be delayed off the mouth of the Columbia.
Read on for details.
SALMON FISHING — Four sections of the Snake River in southeast Washington will open progressively to fishing for spring chinook salmon, starting on April 20 with the stretch below Ice Harbor Dam.
Three other sections of the river, near Little Goose Dam, Lower Granite Dam and Clarkston, will open April 25.
Idaho’s spring salmon fishing season will open April 22 in the Clearwater River, Snake River, Little Salmon and lower Salmon River in what could be the third-largest run since the fishery opened 12 years.
Read on for details about Washington's seasons on the Snake River.
SALMON FISHING — Anglers will be able to start fishing for a big run of chinook salmon in Idaho waters on April 22 under a fishing seasons and rules package adopted today by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
Chinook fishing will open in the Clearwater River, Snake River, Little Salmon and lower Salmon River in what's could be the third largest run since the fishery opened 12 years ago.
Closing dates will be announced later by Idaho Fish and Game Department officials.
The season is based on forecasts that an estimated 83,600 adult hatchery origin fish will cross Lower Granite Dam.
Read on for season details as released minutes ago by Idaho Fish and Game.
FISHING — A public meeting to discuss the outlook for this year’s salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia Basin has been set for Wednesday (March 21) in Kennewick, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced.
The fourth annual “Northeast of McNary” meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m.-9 p.m. in the Benton County PUD Auditorium, 2721 W. 10th Ave. (corner of U.S. Hwy 395 and 10th Ave.)
State fishery managers will discuss run forecasts and fishing prospects for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers and their tributaries, and invite questions from the public.
“This is the eastside version of the pre-season “North of Falcon” meetings currently being held on the west side of the state,” said John Easterbrooks, WDFW regional fish manager for south central Washington. “The goal is to give anglers an idea of what they can expect during the upcoming fishing season.”
FISHING — Michael Cordon and Benita Galland of Adventure Guide Service will present a free seminar on fishing for Columbia River salmon Thursday, 6:30 p.m., as the 2012 Spring Fishing Seminar Series continues at Mark's Marine in Hayden.
Last week in the series, Jeff Smith of Fins and Feathers detailed tactics for catching chinook in Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Here's the lineup for the rest the free seminars:
· March 22: Bass & Panfishing – “The how-to for local lakes”
By: Jim Grassi of Let’s Go Fishing. TV host and radio personality
and Tony McCalmant VP of the Panhandle Bass Club
· March 29: Lowrance HDS & Structure Scan-
“Tips, Tricks, and how to find fish”
By: Steve Binyon, the Mark’s Marine Electronics Guru.
· April 5: Trolling Lake Pend Orielle
By Donnie and Sue Halk of Frisky Jenny Flies & Lake Charters
(160+ people turn out at this one last year so please RSVP, firstname.lastname@example.org)
· April 12: Walleye Tips and Techniques
SALMON FISHING — If the chinook salmon returns for 2012 holds up to the early forecast, anglers in Idaho could enjoy the third best run in more than 30 years.
The forecast suggests a return that’s a little more robust than last year, Idaho Fish and Game fisheries bureau chief Ed Schriever told the Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday.
The fish are still out in the Pacific Ocean, but the forecast for numbers of returning fish are similar to 2002 and 2010, he said. If the run materializes as forecast, the numbers heading for Idaho look even better – exceeded only by 2001 and 2010.
Read on for more details from Idaho Fish and Game.
SALMON FISHING — Here they come!
The first chinook samon of 2012 to swim up the Columbia and over Bonneville Dam were counted on Wednesday.
That's the start of a strong run of 314,200 spring chinook forecast to enter the Columbia destined to waters upstream of Bonneville Dam. If the springer forecast isn't downgraded later, it would be the fourth largest return since 1979 and second largest of the past five years.
A good run of 83,400 is predicted for Oregon's Willamette River. An additional 25,600 chinook are expected at other lower Columbia tributaries.
About 168,000 springers are expected to be headed farther upstream, into the Snake River, over Lower Granite Dam and into Idaho. That would be up from 127,500 counted over Lower Granite last year.
A record 91,200 summer chinook are forecast for the Columbia and tributaries in northcentral Washington and elsewhere. If that holds, it would be the highest number since 1980. The current record is 89,500 in 2002.
Fish managers from area states also predict 462,000 sockeye could move up the Columbia, a potential windfall record by a wide margin, up from the 387,800 that entered the Columbia in 2010..
Spring chinook fishing will open on the lower Columbia starting March 1 and March 16 in the mid-Columbia, according to rules set on Thursday.
Complicated allocation schemes involving the Endangered Species Act, catch balancing between the Columbia treaty tribes and non-Indians, along with sport-commercial sharing arrangements all interact to determine available harvest, reports Allen Thomas of the Vancouver Columbian
Pete Hassemer of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game asked Washington and Oregon not to frontload the sport fishery, but to stretch it out until early May, Thomas reported.
Fifty percent to 60 percent of the harvest downstream of Bonneville Dam comes from spring chinook headed to four Idaho hatcheries, Hassemer said. Idaho would like to see the harvest not so concentrated on four stocks.
Guy Norman, regional director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the sport fishery would have to be limited to about a day per week to meet Idaho's request..
SALMON FISHING — State biologists are forecasting good returns of spring chinook salmon this year to Wind River and Drano Lake, popular sport-fishing spots in the Columbia River Gorge.
The prediction is for 8,400 adult spring chinook to enter the Columbia destined for the Wind River and 9,500 headed to Drano Lake, a large backwater at the mouth of the Little White Salmon River, reports By Allen Thomas of The Vancouver Columbian.
While not records, the returns would be more than enough salmon to provide robust fishing success if weather and water conditions are favorable.
Read on for more of the report:
Seattle Times outdoor writer Mark Yuasa takes his best shot at answering that question from the early forecasts for the Washington Coast and Columbia River. Read his story here.
SALMON FISHING — Preliminary forecasts for salmon returns, announced this week, give anglers three good reasons to look forward to 2012:
- Upriver spring chinook, expected to be the fourth largest since at least 1980.
- Summer chinook, could be the largest since at least 1980.
- Sockeye, tentatively expected to be the largest since at least 1938. (Record is 387,900 fish in 2010).
The 2012 preliminary forecast for upriver Columbia River spring chinook — which includes Snake River fish bound for Idaho — is 314,200 fish compared with this year's forecast of 198,400 and an actual return of 221,200, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officials say.
If the forecast holds for next year, it would be the fourth largest dating back to 1938. The largest recorded return was 440,300 in 2001.
The second largest occurred in 2002 when 335,000 upriver springers returned and the third largest was 315,000 in 2010.
The Upper Columbia spring chinook forecast in 2012 is 32,600 compared to a 22,400 forecast last year and an actual return of 16,500.
The Snake River spring/summer forecast in 2012 is 168,000 compared to 91,700 last year (127,500 was actual return). The Snake River wild spring chinook is 39,000 in 2012 compared to 24,700 last year (31,600).
The Columbia River spring chinook are prized by anglers for their tasty, Omega-3 laced, red-orange-colored meat, which is similar to fish from Alaska's Copper River, says Mark Yuasa of the Seattle Times.
Looking further ahead the Upper Columbia summer chinook forecast also looks very promising.
FISHING — Winds blasting through the Columbia River Gorge in November damaged several of the tribal netting scaffolds built along the shore at Drano Lake, a popular sport-fishing spot, reports the Vancouver Columbian
Among the platforms damaged partially is one of two built this spring at “Social Security Beach,’’ a bank-fishing location on the west side of Drano where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to build an access ramp for disabled sportsmen, reports Allen Thomas.
Tribal platforms started appearing in Drano Lake, a large backwater of the Columbia River at the mouth of the Little White Salmon River in Skamania County, on Memorial Day weekend.
The Fish, Wildlife and Law Enforcement Committee of the Yakama Tribal Council on May 31 authorized platform and hook-and-line gear in Drano Lake, one of several tributaries fished by the Yakama tribe.
Last week, more than a dozen scaffolds, overturned structures, partial or damaged platforms and piles of lumber littered the shores of Drano Lake.
Read on for the rest of the report.
FISHERIES — Canadian government officials said Tuesday they have found no signs of a potentially deadly, infectious salmon virus in British Columbia, according to an Associated Press report.
Researchers with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced last month they had detected infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, in two wild juvenile Pacific salmon collected from the province’s central coast, prompting fears the influenza-like virus could wreck the salmon fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest.
But Tuesday, officials backed off.
“There’s no evidence that (the virus) occurs in fish off the waters of British Columbia,” Dr. Cornelius Kiley, a veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Tuesday, announcing results from the government investigation.
Officials are continuing to test samples for the salmon virus, which has affected Atlantic salmon fish farms in Chile, Maine, New Brunswick and other areas. It does not affect humans.
FISHERIES — Earlier this month fishery officials in Canada and the U.S. confirmed the deadly infectious salmon anemia had been found for the first time in wild Pacific salmon. The disease was found in two sockeye salmon smolts off British Columbia.
“This is the same disease that devastated salmon farms in Chile and other countries,” says Bob Marshall, Conservation editor for Field & Stream magazine. Marshal points out in a blog post the news sent shock waves through the fishing industries and communities that depend on salmon.
But while fishermen are alarmed to learn about the finding of a European virus in our iconic fisheries, the news comes as no great surprise to a lot of knowledgeable people who 've been skeptical of salmon farms since their inception.
“Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) has erupted in every country that farms salmon,” said Dale Kelley of the Alaska Trollers Association. “Why would anyone think Canada is immune? It was just a matter of time.”
Said Marshall, “It was good to see the threat also quickly cut through the entrenched partisanship in Washington resulting in a bi-partisan bill to address the outbreak.”
Kelley says Canada needs to explain to the public precisely what it is doing to monitor and enforce biological safeguards on the fish farm industry. “Canada and the U.S. have a responsibility to protect the wild public resources they hold in trust for us all,” he said.
Check out Kelley's op-ed piece in the Vancouver Sun.
FREE-FLOWING RIVERS – The demise of Condit Dam on Washington’s White Salmon River is available for all to see online in photos and video.
The demolition crew used explosives to blow out the bottom of the dam on Wednesday (Oct. 26) to let water gush out and drain the reservoir. About 2.4 million cubic yards of sediment that has been collecting below the dam, built in 1913, began surging down through the 13-foot-high by 18-foot-wide drain tunnel created in the dam’s 90-foot wide base during August and September.
The PacifiCorp website carried the blast live.
The White Salmon Time Lapse site has been capturing images and creating an album of progress, which will continue for months.
Standing 125 feet tall, Condit is the second largest dam to be removed in the United States after being contested for its barrier to fish passage. Biologist believe salmon and steelhead will take advantage of the new habitat they can reach upstream starting with next year's runs.
Only time will tell how the surge of water and sediment affects the salmon and steelhead fishing holes in the river and at the mouth. Some anglers already worry that the fishing at the confluence of the White Salmon with the Columbia may be impacted for a long time.
Workers will begin removing he dam structure in spring 2012.
FISHING — Salmon fishing in Idaho will be over for the year when the fall chinook harvest season on the Snake and Clearwater rivers ends Monday (Oct. 31).
The season opened Sept. 1 on the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam and, this year, in the lower Clearwater River downstream of the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge in Lewiston.
As of Oct. 24, Idaho Fish and Game officials reported that anglers had caught 15 marked adults and 19 jacks and caught and released 51 unmarked fish in the lower Clearwater River.
On the Snake River, anglers caught and kept 151 adults and 375 jacks for a total of 560 fish. Hatchery-origin fish are marked with a clipped adipose fin.
This year, more than 25,000 fall adult and 19,000 jack chinook salmon crossed Lower Granite Dam.
SALMON FISHING — The fishing season for chinook and coho salmon will be extended in the lower Hanford Reach of the Columbia through Oct. 31, the Washignton Fish and Wildlife Department has announced.
The extension affects the sport salmon fishery in the Columbia River between the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco and the wooden power line towers at the old Hanford townsite.
The season previously was set to end Sunday.
Read on for details.
FISHING — Idaho Fish and Game officials just posted this notice to holders of three-day salmon-steelhead permits fishing in waters and at times when steelhead and chinook salmon both are present and can be caught and kept:
Differentiate harvest of the two species on your permits.
The three-day permits are valid for both salmon and steelhead, and anglers get only the single permit. The intent with the three-day permit has been that it could be used for the salmon season or the steelhead season. Those two seasons usually don’t overlap, and only one species was recorded on a permit for the three days fished.
Read on for more details.
SALMON FISHING — The record effort for salmon fishing in the lower Columbia River continues to grow, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department reports.
Through September, an estimated 27,490 adult fall chinook have been caught in the lower Columbia mainstem sport fishery from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line to Bonneville Dam.
The old record was 26,195 fish caught in 2003.
The new record will increase after the October catch is added. The records began in 1969.
SALMON FISHING — Washington Fish and Wildlife Staff staff interviewed 796 anglers in 339 boats with 410 chinook salmon adults, 95 jacks and 1 coho last weekend, according to a report filed today.
Vernita and the Waluke boat ramps had the majority of the catch.
Effort on the lower river has seen a decline in the past two weeks as fish moved have into the middle and upper sections of the Reach.
SALMON FISHING — With a strong run of coho moving up the Columbia, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has announced a coho fishing season that starts Wednesday (Oct. 5) on the Wenatchee, Methow and Icicle rivers, expanding fishing opportunities already under way in those waters.
Predicting a strong return of coho to the upper Columbia River system, state fishery managers scheduled coho fisheries through Oct. 31 on all three rivers.
Read on for the details.
FISHING — Here are the latest salmon and steelhead reports from around the region:
Yakima River Fall Salmon Fishery Report Sept. 26 - Oct. 2 (From WDFW):
Angler effort and harvest for fall Chinook and coho continues to rise on the lower Yakima River. This past week there were an estimated 887 angler trips on the Yakima River for salmon. WDFW staff sampled 147 anglers with 11 adult Chinook, 5 jacks, and 1 coho. Anglers averaged one Chinook for 25 hours of fishing. Estimated harvest for the week was 91 adult Chinook, 50 jacks, and 8 coho. For the season an estimated 142 adult Chinook, 115 chinook jacks, and 8 coho have been harvested.
Hanford Reach Sport Fishery Summary Oct. 2 (WDFW):
Staff interviewed 479 boats last week with 513 adult Chinook, 126 jacks, and 2 coho. Anglers averaged slightly better than one salmon per boat. An estimated 2,608 adult Chinook, 641 jacks, and 5 coho were harvested this past week. There were an estimated 6,070 angler trips this past week. This past week was likely a record for both total angler trips and Chinook caught in a week for the Hanford Reach area. For the season, 5,705 adult Chinook, 1,259 jacks, and 37 coho have been harvested.
On September 30, the in-season return estimate for the Hanford Reach was updated. The adult return estimate is now predicted to be 64,361 adult Chinook (not including hatchery returns). The in-season estimate dropped 6,000 adult Chinook from the previous estimate (9/23) but WDFW is still predicting a strong return.
Methow River steelhead (from Darrell & Dad's Family Guide Service):
Fly fishing is king, but jig and bobber guys can do well too. If you’re fly fishing, drift a glo bug under a strike indicator. If you’re a “swinger”, throw big wooly buggers and leeches. Jig and bobber guys can choose between Mack’s Lures Glo-Getter jigs or Worden Lures Maxi Jigs. Try the brightest colors you can get. Fish the same jig and slip bobber combos in the mainstem of the Columbia, but bait them with a chunk of shrimp cured with Pautzke’s Fire Cure. Remember wild steelhead release rules are in effect. Pinch those barbs.
Upper Columbia salmon (from Darrell & Dad's Family Guide Service):
It's the tail end of the salmon season above Brewster. Fish Super Baits and Plug Cut Super Baits behind big rotating flashers until the season ends Oct. 15. The fish are getting uglier, but they are big and pull hard. An extra bonus is their meat is still good.
SALMON FISHING — Just received: The latest Hanford Reach salmon fishing report for Joe Hymer, the Columbia River salmon man from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Staff interviewed 353 boats last week with 203 adult Chinook, 33 jacks, and 3 coho. Anglers averaged slightly better than a half a fish per boat. An estimated 845 adult Chinook, 137 jacks, and 12 coho were harvested this past week. Effort is spreading out throughout the Hanford Reach and the Tri-cities. An estimated 3,408 angler trips this past week with over 400 boats each day on the weekend. For the season, 1,433 adult Chinook, 249 jacks, and 12 coho have been harvested.
The first in-season run update for the Hanford Reach was completed on September 15. An adult return estimate of 135,819 was expected to return in 2011. The current in-season return estimate is 58,478 adult Chinook, considerably lower than predicted.
- Grigg's Department Store - 801 W Columbia St, Pasco WA
- Richland Ace Hardware & Sporting Goods - 1415 George Washington Way, Richland WA
- Ace Hardware and Sporting Goods on Keene Road - 103 Keene Road, Richland WA
- Other Locations - Pollywogs Sporting Goods in Desert Aire, and Hooked on Toys and Sporting Goods in Wenatchee.
FISHERIES — Columbia River area anglers keenly interested in the effort to restore the White Salmon River salmon and steelhead fisheres upstream from the soon to be breached Condit Dam should check out the Frequently Asked Questions info from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Read on for the details about the Fish Capture and Transport Project underway around Condit Dam.