the film
Ecology and salmon related articles

Latest Local Fishing Report
a Mixed Bag

by Staff
Wallowa County Chieftain, October 26, 2020

Snake River Steelhead Triggers Early Warning Indicator, NOAA is trying to ignore that fact. ENTERPRISE -- Wallowa County anglers are seeing a variety of salmon and trout in the rivers this fall, and reports of fish making their way over the Columbia and Snake River dams continue to be refined.

In a report from Kyle Bratcher, assistant fish biologist for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Enterprise, the hatchery steelhead bound for the Grande Ronde don't seem to be moving through the main stem of the Columbia River as expected.

"There's a bit of a lag where the expanded estimates at McNary Dam are only about 55% of the expanded estimate at Bonneville Dam," Bratcher said.

While Bratcher said he couldn't explain the discrepancy, he said the Imnaha hatchery fish are moving through as expected with a good portion of those fish over Lower Granite Dam. He said perhaps lower river fisheries are affecting later-returning fish or there could be environmental factors that have delayed them.

"The short story is we may have fewer hatchery steelhead available in the Grande Ronde than I was previously hoping for," Bratcher said. "I still haven't heard any reports from the Imnaha River fishery, but there should be a few fish around and fall fishing can be great in the lower river."

A positive note in Bratcher's report is wild steelhead are making a good showing at Lower Granite Dam with current counts at about 13,000 fish, which he said could mean about 3,000 wild fish entering the Grande Ronde and about 1,000 into the Imnaha.

"The wild fish have been a bright spot on the Grande Ronde this year, though still down from the 10-year average," Bratcher said. "I'm hearing a lot of reports of big, healthy, wild, steelhead caught on the Grande Ronde."

The majority of the reported catch, Bratcher said, has been wild fish with catch rates being average to poorer than average, which is to be expected with down year runs. But angling pressure appears to be on the light side for this time of year and finding good runs to fish has been easy, Bratcher said.

Fall chinook are in Northeast Oregon rivers now, too, Bratcher said. He cautioned anglers to avoid directly targeting them as they finish out their lifecycle and prepare to spawn.

On the Coho front, he said there have been a few sporadic reports of fish being caught with one fish checked by the creeler last weekend. Bratcher said he suspects catch rates will pick up in the next week or two.

There are reports of steelhead in the Wallowa River, which Bratcher said is not uncommon in the fall, but they aren't there in big numbers.

As for large rainbow trout, Bratcher said the Wallowa River has fished very well this year

And there are reports of good trout fishing on the lower Imnaha River this fall.

"I know a good October caddis dry fly can be productive this time of year," Bratcher said.

Latest Local Fishing Report a Mixed Bag
Wallowa County Chieftain, October 26, 2020

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation