Tag: Northwest Fishing Reports

Washington’s State salmon fisheries set for 2017


 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Washington anglers can expect a mixed bag of salmon fisheries this year with slightly increased opportunities in the ocean, seasons similar to last year in the Columbia River, and continued restrictions in Puget Sound. 

The state’s 2017 salmon fishing seasons, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were finalized during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s meeting in Sacramento, Calif.

In recent years, unfavorable environmental conditions, such as warm ocean water and drought, have reduced the number of salmon returning to Washington’s waters, said Kyle Adicks, salmon policy lead for WDFW.

“We’re in the third year of a multi-year downturn in salmon returns,” Adicks said. “Similar to last year, we faced significant challenges in crafting fisheries.”

With low returns of coho and wild chinook expected back to several rivers, fishery managers are limiting opportunities in some areas to protect those fish. The most severe restrictions will be in Puget Sound marine and freshwater areas, where the forecast is for extremely low returns of “key stocks,” such as Skagit River coho and Nooksack River chinook.

“We made some difficult decisions this year in order to protect weak salmon stocks,” said Adicks. “However, we worked with constituents to preserve fishing opportunities where it made sense.”

Anglers fishing for coho in Puget Sound marine areas will have improved opportunities in areas 9-13 while those fishing in areas 5-8 will see closures or will be limited to openings that align with chinook seasons. That’s still an improvement from last year, when only Hood Canal and south Sound were open for coho fishing. Rivers such as the Skagit and Stillaguamish also will be closed to coho fishing this year.

Opportunities for chinook fishing in Puget Sound marine areas are somewhat similar to last year with a few more closures in the winter. Marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) are scheduled to be open from July 16 through Aug. 15, like in 2016. However, both areas have higher catch quotas that should provide better opportunity.

Anglers will have limited opportunities to fish for pink salmon in Puget Sound due to projected low returns of pinks this year. There are no “bonus bag” limits for pink salmon in 2017.

In the Columbia River, anglers will see salmon fisheries that are similar to last year. The popular Buoy 10 fishery opens Aug. 1 while the chinook fishery on the mainstem from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge will be open from June 16 through July 31 for hatchery summer chinook and sockeye.

Anglers fishing Washington’s ocean waters will be able to retain chinook, as well as coho salmon in all four marine areas, as compared to 2016 when coho retention was limited only to Marine Area 1. Salmon fisheries get underway daily in areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) on June 24 and on July 1 in Marine Area 2 (Westport).

Information on recreational salmon fisheries in Washington’s ocean waters and the lower Columbia River is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/, where notable changes to this year’s Puget Sound sport salmon fisheries also can be found. Details on all recreational salmon fisheries will be provided in the 2017-18 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in late June.

For information on tribal fisheries, contact the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (http://nwifc.org/).

 

 


 

Columbia River Fishing Report 03-30-2017

Photo courtesy of Swannys Guided Fishing


Columbia River Spring chinook fishery extended four days below Bonneville Dam

 

OLYMPIA – State fishery managers have extended the initial sportfishing season for spring chinook salmon on the lower Columbia River by four days in response to poor fishing conditions caused by extremely high, turbid water.

The initial fishing period, previously set to close April 6, was extended through April 10 under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

As of March 26, catch estimates show that Washington state anglers had caught a total of 24 upriver spring chinook salmon, just a fraction of the expected harvest of 6,905 upriver chinook through April 6.

“It’s clear that the spring chinook catch is running well below expectations, so we’re announcing the extension now to give the angling community and industry time to plan ahead,” said John Long, southwest regional manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Although this year’s upriver spring chinook run to the Columbia River is predicted to be about 35 percent lower than in 2016, Long said that is not the primary reason for anglers’ lack of success. The real problem, he said, is that record-setting streamflows carrying logs and other debris, which has made fishing difficult – and potentially dangerous – in recent weeks.

“Test fisheries show that the spring chinook run has arrived, but in a lot of cases visibility in the river is so limited that the fish can’t see the anglers’ lures,” Long said.

He suggests that anglers check reports of streamflows and fish-passage levels at Bonneville Dam for signs of improving fishing conditions.

The spring chinook fishery upriver from Bonneville Dam to the Washington-Oregon border near Umatilla is open until May 5, and will not be affected by the extension in the lower river. If spring chinook return at or above projections, fishery managers plan to provide additional fishing opportunities in both areas later this spring.

Anglers fishing those waters are allowed to retain one marked, hatchery-reared adult chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two salmon, two steelhead, or one of each. Any chinook or steelhead without a clipped adipose fin and a healed scar must be released unharmed.

 

 


 

2017 Columbia River Fishing Report 02-23-2017

Photo Courtesy of Swannys Guided Fishing


 

Washington and Oregon set initial Columbia River spring chinook season

 

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today approved an initial sport fishery for spring chinook salmon on the lower Columbia River that reflects a lower projection of returning fish but a larger share of the catch than in previous years.

Initial catch guidelines set by the two states will allow anglers fishing below Bonneville Dam to catch up to 6,905 upriver spring chinook through April 6, before the early season closes until mid-May for a run assessment.

Under the preseason forecast, approximately 160,400 upriver spring chinook are expected to return to the waters above Bonneville Dam this year, which represent about 80 percent of the 10-year average. Spring chinook returns to the Willamette River and other tributaries are also expected to be lower than in recent years.

On the other hand, 80 percent of the allowable catch of upriver spring chinook will be allocated to the sport fishery – up from 70 percent in previous years – based on policies recently adopted by the Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife commissions.

The allocation for the commercial fishery will be reduced accordingly and no commercial fisheries will be considered before the run update in mid-May, said Ron Roler, a Columbia River fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

As in previous years, both states will manage the recreational fishery with a 30 percent buffer on the upriver chinook forecast until the results of the in-season run update are known, Roler said.

“We’ll continue to take a conservative approach in managing the fishery,” he said. “If the fish return at or above expectations, we will look toward providing additional days of fishing on the river later in the spring.”

The following fishing regulations will be in effect below Bonneville Dam from March 1 through April 6:

  • Fishing area: The fishery is currently open downstream from the Interstate 5 Bridge, but will expand upstream starting March 1 under the new rules. Fishing will then be open to boat and bank anglers daily from the mouth of the Columbia to Beacon Rock. Bank anglers can also fish upriver to Bonneville Dam.
  • Daily limit: Anglers are allowed one marked, hatchery-reared adult chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two salmon, two steelhead, or one of each. Any chinook or steelhead without a clipped adipose fin and a healed scar must be released unharmed.
  • Lewis River area closure: An area of the Columbia River will be closed to all fishing near the mouth of the Lewis River, as defined by the fishing rule posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/feb2317a.pdf. Anglers must also release any spring chinook in the Lewis River itself downstream from Merwin Dam.

The two states also approved a sport fishery between Bonneville Dam and the Washington-Oregon border, east of Umatilla, to open March 16 and run through May 5. The early season allocation for that area is 921 spring chinook.

Roler said river conditions could pose a challenge to anglers this season, noting that the Columbia River is currently running high and off-color with a substantial snowpack remaining in the Cascade Range.

“We ask anglers to keep watch for changing fishing rules, but it’s also important to keep a close eye on the river conditions,” he said. “Boat anglers, in particular, have a hard time catching fish when the river is running high and dirty, and personal safety has to be everyone’s first priority.”

 

 


 

Columbia River Fishing Report 01-29-2017


11/04/2016 – J. W. Snyder – Fishing The Columbia

Columbia River Fishing Report:

The latest reports on the Columbia river are that the water is cold with visibility at about 3-4 feet. Word is that there’s still some catch and release sturgeon fishing going on up above the Bonneville, but the thing anglers should note, is that the smelt are starting to enter the river. If the smelt are in the river that means the Spring Chinook are there too. Look for the Spring Chinook action to start picking up on the Columbia soon and watch our for those pesky sea lions, there are sure to be there too.

 

This Columbia River fishing report provided by Swannys Guided Fishing