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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Best fall chinook fishing week of season at Hanford Reach

Seth Burrill, left, poses with a hunk of freshly caught chinook salmon in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia.  (courtesy)
Seth Burrill, left, poses with a hunk of freshly caught chinook salmon in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia. (courtesy)

FISHING -- Last week was the best fishing of the season for the record or near record run of fall chinook that's piled into the Hanford Reach of the Columbia below Priest Rapids Dam.

Anglers averaged 2.2 salmon per boat, up from 1.9 fish per boat last week.

Here's the just-released report from Paul Hoffarth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist in the Tri-Cities:

Hanford Reach of the Columbia

An estimated 3,189 boats fished for salmon in the Hanford Reach this past week.  WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 796 boats (2,025 anglers:13,111 pole hours) and 170 bank anglers (753 hours).  An estimated 7,014 Chinook (7,014 adults & 861 jacks) were harvested.   Boats averaged 2.2 chinook per boat, slightly better than the week before.  Bank anglers didn’t fare as well only averaging one chinook for each 8 anglers (36 hours per chinook).   There were an estimated 8,411 angler trips for fall Chinook in the Tri-cities this past week. 

For the fall salmon season that started August 1, there have been over 32,000 angler trips harvesting 17,037 adult Chinook, 2,121 jacks, and 147 coho.

The lower Hanford Reach (Hwy 395 to the wooden power line towers at the old Hanford townsite) opened to fishing for Ringold origin hatchery steelhead on October 1. These steelhead can be identified by having both the adipose and right ventral fin clipped.  There was very little effort for steelhead this past week with anglers continuing to concentrate on Chinook.  Only one steelhead was reported harvested this past week.

The steelhead fishery in the Hanford Reach may be expanded to include additional locations and all hatchery steelhead in the next few days. Check the WDFW website for details on all emergency regulations.

Yakima River:

This past week WDFW staff interviewed 124 anglers fishing for salmon in the lower Yakima River with 29 adult chinook, 5 Chinook jacks, and 2 coho harvested. Anglers averaged a chinook for every 11 hours of fishing.  Fishing should continue to improve each week through the end of the season on October 22. 

An estimated 306 salmon were caught this past week (249 adult fall Chinook, 43 jacks, and 15 coho) bringing the season total to 613 salmon.  Chinook counts at Prosser have dropped off a bit but large numbers of coho are moving upstream.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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