FISHING -- The stats are compiled: Indeed, Ringold-area steelhead fishing was slow in January, but the fishing on that stretchof the Columbia should pick up in February, biologists say.
Paul Hoffarth, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist in the Tri-Cities posted this report on the past two months based on estimates from staff creel surveys.
December: 1,151 anglers fished for steelhead in the Hanford Reach (Hwy 395 to Hanford), 314 anglers interviewed had 66 steelhead.
January: 131 steelhead were caught including 78 hatchery steelhead that were harvested. Catch and harvest was well below January of 2015, when 287 steelhead were caught and 187 hatchery fish were kept. But the 2016 January catch is only slightly lower than the 10-year average (catch=150, harvest=94).
This season: 4,686 anglers have fished for steelhead in the Hanford Reach catching 1,191 steelhead and harvesting 872 hatchery steelhead.
Anglers fishing in the Columbia River near Ringold Springs Hatchery averaged 21.4 hours per steelhead during the month of January. Boat anglers had the best catch per hour at 13 hours of fishing per steelhead. 82% of the steelhead landed have been clipped hatchery origin steelhead.
Fishing was very slow in January but should pick up by late February, Hoffarth said.