Latest from The Spokesman-Review
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.
FISHING– Anglers will have to clear off the lower portion of the White Salmon River in southwest Washington for 12 hours on Saturday (Sept. 17) to allow an interagency clean-up team to remove derelict boats, camping gear and other debris before Condit Dam is breached Oct. 26.
The river mouth downstream of the Highway 14 Bridge will remain open.
About 100 waste sites and at least 15 sunken boats have been identified for removal so they’re not flushed down into the Columbia when the 125-foot high PacifiCorp dam is breeched.
The demolition is designed to drain the 92-acre reservoir behind the dam in a quick six hours to flush out sediments that have accumulated behind the 97-year-old dam.
The dam breaching is expected to reopen open 14 miles of habitat for chinook salmon and 33 miles of habitat for steelhead that have been blocked since the dam’s fish ladder washed out in a 1918 flood.
The free-flowing river also is expected to protect critical bull trout habitat and benefit bears and other wildlife that feed on salmon in the waters that originate on the slopes of Mount Adams.
Fisheries staffers from several agencies are jumpstarting the fishery by using seine nets to collect returning salmon in the lower river. The mature fish will be trucked upstream around the dam and released in the upper river to spawn this season.
FISHING — Steelhead anglers have set records for catch on the Lower Columbia this year, and the records continue to fall with a half million chinook salmon forecast into the river during late-summer and fall.
A big slug of those fish are bound for the Snake River system.
Today’s factoids from Joe Hymer of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlfie:
Since at least 1980:
- The estimated angler trips thru September 11 are the second highest for the entire fall season. The highest was 117,975 angler trips in 2009 so we’ve already set a new record.
- The estimated adult fall chinook catch is the 3rd largest. The record is 26,195 fish caught in 2003.
Last week on the lower Columbia, anglers made 22,985 trips and kept 7,278 adult fall chinook, 394 coho and 271 summer steelhead. Effort in the area below Warrior Rock declined by 93% after the Chinook closure on 9/9: however, about half of those trips transferred upriver. Catch rates are highest in the Bonneville area, where boat anglers averaged 0.74 chinook kept per rod yesterday.
SALMON FISHING — Citing concerns about the effect the Pebble Mine in Alaska could have on wild salmon,Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, told the Seattle Times she plans to ask the Environmental Protection Agency to consider using the Clean Water Act to stop the mine on Bristol Bay.
But Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young has already introduced a bill that would strip the EPA of the authority to stop the project.
The issue involves a high-stakes battle that pits gold and copper against the most productive salmon fisheries in the world.
FISHERIES — Pink salmon have set a record for wandering into the Columbia River and upstream over Bonneville Dam.
The spectacle has left fisheries biologists scratching their heads, since they don't know of any resident pink salmon populations in the Columbia Basin.
Also known as humpbacks or humpies, the pinks known to have a relatively high incidence of straying to spawn someplace other than their natal stream, according to the Columbia Basin Bulletin.
More than 1,500 pink salmon have been counted climbing over Bonneville’s fish ladders, easily surpassing the previous high count — 637 in 2003 — for the entire late summer-fall season, and the highest count since at least 1938, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists said today.
Read on for details and possible explanations from the Bulletin's story.
SALMON FISHING — Starting Wednesday (Sept. 14), Washington anglers will get their first chance to catch summer chinook salmon in the tailrace of the hydroelectric powerhouse operated by the Chelan County Public Utility District in Chelan.
“This opening will test whether we can conduct a fishery in such a small area,” said Jeff Korth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regional fisheries manager. “Starting this year, a lot of hatchery-reared fish will be moving through the tailrace, and we’d like to give anglers a chance to catch some.”
The new fishery, scheduled to run through Oct. 15, is restricted to the outfall area extending one-third of a mile downstream from the safety barrier near the powerhouse to the railroad bridge at the Columbia River.
Read on for details.
SALMON FISHING — The Columbia River is getting busy again. Chinook and coho runs are building, and the fortunes of both anglers and gill-netters improving as well.
The catch and fishing pressure in the lower Columbia (from Bonneville Dam 146 river miles down to the mouth) has grown steadily and more growth is expected.
Daily counts of upriver fall chinook passing over Bonneville had slowly ticked up from 100 fish on Aug. 1 to 6,830 on Wednesday.
By the end of August a total of 57,688 upriver fall chinook had passed over Bonneville.
About 399,600 adult “upriver brights” are predicted to will make it back to the mouth of the river on their way to the mid-Columbia’s Hanford Reach, the Snake River and elsewhere.
SALMON FISHING — While fishing near Sitka, Alaska, last month, Congressman Norm Dicks, D-WA, doubled his pleasure by hooking a pink salmon that lured in a lunker with lips only a mother could love.
The monster lingcod would not let the salmon go.
See more photos on Ron Yuasa's Reel Time Fishing blog.
SALMON FISHING — Lenore Groundwater, 93, who lives in a retirement home in Green Valley, Ariz., recently reeled in a 16.58-pound silver salmon — her son netted the fish, but all involved say Lenore hooked it and reeled it in — to win the one-day derby in Valdez, Alaska.
She topped a field of 789 to win $1,000 plus a bunch of prizes, including the silver tiara annually awarded to the winner of the popular just-for-women derby, now in its seventh year.
Check out the video as Groundwater drew laughs, cheers and applause at the awards ceremony when she was crowned queen of the derby Saturday night at the Valdez Civic Center.
Asked if she was enjoying the attention, she replied, “Well, it’s probably not helping my high blood pressure.”
Asked which is more important when fishing, luck or skill, she answered without a moment’s hesitation. “Luck,” she said, bringing down the house, and then adding, “And that’s the same thing about living so old.”
Read on for more of a great fishing story from the AP.
FISHING — The steelhead harvest season and the fall chinook season open on Idaho rivers on Thursday. The eye-catching news it that the limit on fin-clipped adult fall chinook is six a day!
Read on for the season details for chinook and steelhead from Idaho Fish and Game.
SALMON FISHING —Anglers in Washington waters will be able to keep hatchery chinook salmon caught on the Snake River starting Thursday (Sept. 1) through Oct. 31, the Fish and Wildlife Department has announced.
The Washington season coincides with the Idaho catch-and-keep season for fin-clipped chinook.
Washington's open area is upstream from the mouth of the Snake River, beginning at the south-bound lanes of the Highway 12 Bridge (near Pasco) to the Oregon State line (about 7 miles upstream of the mouth of the Grande Ronde River).
Wildlife officials are expecting the largest return of fall chinook salmon to the Columbia and Snake rivers in years. The large return should allow fishing for adult chinook along the entire length of the Snake River, said Glen Mendel of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife office in Dayton.
“This is the first year that we've been able to open the entire Snake River,” said Mendel, who is the district fishery management biologist. The forecast is for 60,000 to 80,000 fish passing by Lower Granite Dam with up to 30,000 of those being jacks, or immature fish, he said.
Read on for more details.
SALMON FISHING — A salmon big enough to feed the Seattle Seahawks was caught and released off the Queen Charlotte Islands last weekend.
Chris Lewis broke the Queen Charlotte Lodge's 10-year-old record with a king that topped 84 pounds on Saturday.
Lewis was fishing with lodge guide Derek Poitras along the kelp beds just east of Klashwun Point when both rods went off in a matter of seconds, according to the lodge's website.
While Lewis played his fish, fishing partner Stephen Mason played and boated a hefty 31 pound king.
After a half-hour battle — the guides recognized quickly by the “shoulders” that the fish as extraordinary — the chinook was measured at 51.5-inches long, 35-inches in girth for a for a score of 84.12 pounds.
It was photographed, appreciated, and released.
FISHING — The estimated 9,800 hatchery summer steelhead kept on the lower Columbia River so far this month — through Aug. 22 — is an all time record not just for August but for any month since at least 1969, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has just reported.
The previous record of 8,549 steelhead was set last month.
A good run along with river flows that are higher and cooler than normal appear to be favoring the anglers.
MEANTIME, about 30,000 steelhead have run up the Snake River and climbed over Lower Granite Dam. They're coming at the rate of about a thousand a day. Anglers are enjoying good catches of steelhead in Idaho's Clearwater River.
And, as the graph above shows, the big numbers are yet to come.
SALMON FISHING — The return of sockeye salmon to Lake Wenatchee is not strong enough to allow a recreational fishery in the lake this year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife just announced.
Although more than 185,000 sockeye have passed Bonneville Dam this year, only about 14,000 of them are expected to enter Lake Wenatchee, said Jeff Korth, WDFW regional fish manager in Ephrata.
That is well short of the 23,000-fish goal for spawning escapement in the lake, Korth said.
“We know this is disappointing news for anglers, especially since the lake has opened for sockeye fishing for the past three years,” Korth said. “But the number of sockeye counted between Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams is low, and very few are entering the Wenatchee River.”
While the overall run of sockeye to the Columbia River has been relatively high, most of these fish appear to be headed for the Okanogan River and on into Canada, Korth said.
“The four- and five-year old sockeye that make up the bulk of this year’s run to Lake Wenatchee were spawned in years with very low sockeye abundance,” Korth said. “So there’s good reason to believe returns will improve in the years ahead.”
SALMON FISHING — My enthusiastic post regarding the pink salmon flooding into Puget Sound apparently left Spokane angler Dan Hansen feeling a little blue about his vacation to visit West Side relatives. He writes:
“My beard’s getting full, due to my pledge to stop shaving till I catch a salmon. Six days of fishing, and I can’t even catch a humpy (which hardly even count)!
“One day, standing elbow-to-elbow on a beach in West Seattle, everyone caught salmon and the pre-teen standing next to me caught his 4-fish limit. My brother's going to take me out in his boat next Tuesday, somewhere on Puget Sound; that may be my last chance.
“Trying to decide whether I want to pledge to stop showering for deer season.”
SALMON FISHING — Puget Sound anglers are in the pink, hooking up with the building surge of six million pink salmon forecast to flood Puget Sound during the next two months.
The catch of pink salmon hit an all-time high last week at Sekiu in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, according to Washington Fish and Wildlife Department creel surveyors.
And now the fish are pushing into Puget Sound and close to cities. Northwest Sportsman's online magazine reports plenty of pinks are available for today's opening in the Lower Puyallup area
“The overall expectations are for a pretty darn good fishery, and I’ve seen some reports there are already pinks in Area 11 (south central Puget Sound),” Steve Thiesfeld, the state Fish and Wildlife Puget Sound salmon manager, told the Seattle Times.
While this summer’s forecast is 3 million fewer pinks than the 2009 record return — pinks only return in odd-numbered years — Thiesfeld says it will be an abundant run.
Another fisheries biologist fishing off Bush Point on the west side of Whidbey Island says the humpies (a term the male fish receive for a distinct hump that grows on their back at spawning time) were “rolling all over the place” this week.
The huge number means that in almost all marine areas of Puget Sound, except southern Puget Sound, anglers will be able to keep up to four pinks daily.
Shorebound anglers can also get into the action as pinks tend to congregate closely to beaches.
FISHING — While the decades-out weather forecast poses big challenges to cold-water fisheries, this year's high cool water spells good news for endangered Snake River sockeye salmon making their amazing 900-mile return from the Pacific to the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.
The fish started showing Aug. 1 at the Stanley Basin’s Sawtooth Hatchery near Redfish Lake Creek, the first of what's expected to be a relatively big run.
Through Wednesday a total of 1,480 sockeye had been counted passing the lower Snake River’s Lower Granite Dam, which is just downstream from Lewiston — about 400 river miles downstream from Sawtooth Hatchery. That count is second only to last year’s tally of 2,201 on a record dating back to 1975.
With flows that are somewhat higher and cooler than average this year, biologists feel a relatively high number of fish will make that final four-week swim up the last 400-mile leg of the journey.
SALMON FISHING — Spring and summer chinook salmon seasons across Idaho will close at the end of fishing hours Wednesday.
The closure affects the main stem of the Clearwater River, the Middle Fork Clearwater River, the South Fork Clearwater River, the Lochsa River, the Snake River downstream from Hells Canyon Dam, the Little Salmon River and the upper Salmon River.
“This has been one of the longest Chinook seasons we’ve had in recent years,” said Pete Hassemer, Idaho Fish and Game’s salmon and steelhead manager. “By this time of year, most of the Chinook have passed through the areas open to fishing on their way to hatcheries and spawning grounds, and the success rate is slowing down.”
SALMON FISHING — Beginning Sunday (Aug. 7), anglers fishing in ocean waters off of Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport (Marine Area 2) can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit.
With that change, anglers will be allowed to keep two chinook per day in all four ocean areas. Anglers fishing La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) have been allowed to keep two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit since Aug. 1.
Coho fishing was good the past few days with anglers averaging a fish a day. Being able to keep two chinook increases the incentive to book a charter.
Read on for more details.
SALMON FISHING — Although Idaho steelheaders are likely to feel the pull of a few chinook salmon this month, the season won't open open until Sept. 1 on the Snake River from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Hells Canyon Dam and in the Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the Memorial Bridge.
Read on for the fall chinook season details set by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission last week.
SALMON FISHING — Chinook salmon fishing will close at the end of fishing on Sunday in the sections of the lower Salmon River from the mouth of Shorts Creek upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek, and from the Rice Creek Bridge upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Time Zone Bridge.
The two sections are being closed to reduce the catch of fish headed upstream to the South Fork, Middle Fork and upper Salmon rivers.
Remaining open is the Park Hole section of the lower Salmon River, from the Time Zone Bridge upstream to the mouth of Shorts Creek, and the Little Salmon River. The daily bag limit remains six salmon per day, no more than three of which may be adults; the possession limit remains 18 salmon, no more than nine of which may be adults.