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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Columbia River chinook run lags, but not as bad as sockeye

FISHING -- Salmon fishing in the Tri-Cities area of the Columbia River has been fairly slow as chinook and especially sockeye runs have lagged so far this season.

The 48,405 adult chinook that passed upstream of Bonneville Dam from June 1-25 is 86 percent of the 10-year average, says Joe Hymer, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife salmon specialist in Vancouver.

But the 42,489 sockeye that passed upstream of Bonneville is just 28 percent of the 10-year average.

Chinook counts are averaging just under 3,000 a day and sockeye counts are varying between 3,000 and 4,000 a day at Bonneville, the first dam the salmon reach as they head up from the ocean 

Chinook counts at McNary  at the Tri-Cities are running just under 2,000 per day.

"River temperatures are still relatively cool at 62F at McNary and 59.5F in the Hanford Reach," he said.

Here's Hymer's fishing report based on creel surveys:

The summer chinook and sockeye fishery in the Tri-cities area opened June 16.  WDFW staff interviewed 70 of the 308 boats fishing for salmon.  An estimated 58 adult summer chinook, 4 chinook jacks, and 173 sockeye have been harvested and 35 wild adult chinook have been caught and released.  Anglers are averaging a little less than a sockeye per boat (0.7), 20 hours per fish. Chinook were harvested at one chinook per 4 boats, 29 hours per chinook.

Angler effort and catch began to rise this past weekend. Sockeye fishing should improve as the counts over McNary rise.

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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