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Ecology and salmon related articles

Columbia River Fishing Reports
Shows Slow Action for Spring Chinook

by Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times, April 9, 2012


Cowlitz River - Spring Chinook and winter run steelhead are being caught throughout the river though most of the steelhead are being caught around the trout hatchery.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 1,125 winter-run steelhead, 55 spring Chinook adults, four jacks, and one cutthroat trout during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 83 winter-run steelhead and 48 spring Chinook adults at the Day Use Park in Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, four winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River, and four winter-run steelhead into the upper Cowlitz River in Packwood. A total of 65 winter-run steelhead were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and one cutthroat trout was released in the upper Cowlitz River basin by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 7,800 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 9. Water visibility is nine feet.

Kalama River - River was high and turbid at times last week. Through July, salmon daily limit is 6 hatchery Chinook. Only 1 adult may be retained.

Lewis River - Some spring Chinook are being caught. On the mainstem and North Fork Lewis, through July the salmon daily limit is 6 hatchery Chinook. Only 1 adult may be retained.

East Fork Lewis from mouth to top boat ramp at Lewisville Park and Washougal River from mouth to Mt. Norway Bridge - Open to fishing for hatchery steelhead Monday April 16. Through the first Friday in June, selective gear rules are in effect; no bait may be used.

Wind River, Drano Lake, and Klickitat River - Little to no effort last week.

Beginning this week, Drano Lake is closed to all fishing on Wednesdays through June. In addition, bank fishing only west of a line projected from the eastern most pillar of the Hwy. 14 Bridge to a posted marker on the north shore beginning April 16.

FYI - We hope to get the new Wind River extended buoy line in place later this week.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam - In the last four days we sampled 1,449 salmon anglers (including 402 boats) with 84 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook and 18 steelhead.

Boat anglers averaged an adult Chinook kept/released per every 12.7 rods based on mainly completed trips while bank anglers averaged one per every 42.2 rods based on primarily incomplete trips.

69 (82%) of the adult Chinook caught were kept. We sampled 51 (74%) of the Chinook kept. 43 (84%) of the Chinook sampled were upriver stock based on Visual Stock Identification (VSI). The jack was a hatchery fish that was released.

14 (78%) of the steelhead caught were kept.

In comparison to previous years during this period, this year's catch rate is the lowest since at least 2000. Boat anglers averaged an adult chinook kept/released per every rods:

2012: 12.7

2011: 10.5

2010: 2.9

2009: 5.9

2008: 2.5

2007: 4.1

2006: 7.2

2005: 6.4

2004: 3.0

2003: 5.6

2002: 4.9

2001: 4.6

The effort flight counts between last Saturday (April 7) and the same time last year are almost identical (728 v 721 boats and 867 v 849 bank).

A Joint State hearing is scheduled for noon Thursday April 12 to review the ongoing sport fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam. It's projected through April 13 the sport fishery will have caught 2,038 upriver fish (16%) of the current 12,700 fish allocation.

The Dalles Pool - One of the two dozen spring Chinook that had crossed The Dalles Dam was caught by a very lucky bank angler!

John Day Pool - Light effort and no catch was observed.

Mark Yuasa
Columbia River Fishing Reports Shows Slow Action for Spring Chinook
Seattle Times, April 9, 2012

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