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River Fishing Slows, But
Lower Columbia Yields Some Catches

by Bob Brown
The Olympian, July 2, 2009

Fishing hasn't been spectacular anywhere in Western Washington again this week. Poor ocean conditions kept Westport and Ilwaco charters in port the past few days, and low, clear river conditions continue to dampen angler aspirations.

Probably the best bet this week is the lower Columbia River, which has been producing fair-to-middling catches of chinook, sockeye and steelhead.

Bank anglers are catching some steelhead and chinook at the barrier dam, but fishing hasn't been that good for boat anglers throughout the Cowlitz. It has been about the same for Sol Duc, Hoh, Lewis and Kalama river anglers.

The Technical Advisory Committee met Monday and downgraded the adult summer chinook run to 58,000 fish from the preseason forecast of 70,700. However, the TAC did not change the sockeye preseason forecast of 183,200 fish.

Effective Wednesday, adult chinook (fin-clipped or not) may be retained from Bonneville Dam upstream.

Sturgeon fishing has been fair to good in the lower Columbia. The shad fishery is starting to wind down, and there is little action and catching by walleye and bass anglers.

The pikeminnow recreational- sports fishery has been improving, with excellent catches of pikeminnows in the Boyer Park area, Bingen and Columbia Point.



COLUMBIA: Last week, Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel sampled 1,461 bank anglers with 99 chinook, 22 jacks,37 sockeye and 47 steelhead, said Joe Hymer, supervisory fish biologist for Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Also, 605 boat anglers (256 boats) sampled had 62 chinook, six jacks, two sockeye and 12 steelhead.

Success was best on the June 22 opener and slowed as the week progressed. Hymer said that while sockeye and steelhead generally stay close to a bank, summer chinook run in fairly deep water (at least 20 feet). Plunking works best for sockeye and steelhead, but you need to let out more line to find the chinook.

Through Sunday, an estimated 16,771 angler trips have produced 1,360 adult chinook kept and 419 released, plus 873 sockeye kept and 57 released.

Adult chinook may be retained on the lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam through Sunday.

Effort was high Saturday, with 711 boats and 614 Washington and 343 Oregon bank anglers counted.


JOHN DAY POOL: On Saturday, 41 salmon anglers sampled had three hatchery jack chinook. Two hatchery chinook and one wild were released.


Boyer Park, located on the north shore of the Snake River immediately below Lower Granite Dam, was the hot spot for pikeminnows last week. Three hundred and seventeen anglers caught 2,369 pikeminnows and recovered five tagged pikes.

At The Dalles, 249 anglers also recovered five tagged fish and caught 1,360 pikeminnows.

Fishing was nearly as good at Columbia Point, Bingen, Cascade Locks and Washougal.

For the week, 8,189 pikeminnows were caught, with 21 tagged fish recovered. There was one tagged pikeminnow for every 390 fish caught.

On Sunday, water temperature was 63.4 degrees at Bonneville Dam.

Outdoors correspondent Bob Brown has lived in Washington for 35 years and got serious about fishing the region's rivers and lakes in the mid-1970s.
River Fishing Slows, But Lower Columbia Yields Some Catches
The Olympian, July 2, 2009

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