Salmon Fishery on Lower Columbia
by Jordan Nailon
The vaunted fall salmon fishery on the lower Columbia River begins today, but steelhead continue to comprise the catch de jour.
Today, hatchery salmon will be open to harvest from Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia upriver to the Oregon/Washington border above McNary Dam. Numbers provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife show that the agency anticipates 1,510,600 fall Chinook and 638,300 fall coho to make the passage past Bonneville Dam. Fifty percent of the Chinook run typically arrives by Sep. 8.
Ocean anglers are giving those fish a go right now as the saltwater summer season continues to provide excellent success to those with sturdy sea-legs. Anglers in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) hauled in 1.65 salmon per rod last week. Ninety percent of that harvest was comprised of coho. Success for bank anglers off of the North Jetty was low.
Although salmon season is right around the riverbend, summer run steelhead are still holding court in the Columbia and its tributaries. Creel survey numbers provided by the WDFW last week indicate that salmonid anglers in the Columbia gorge last week averaged 1.63 steelhead and 0.13 Chinook per boat. From Portland to Westport, boat anglers were averaging 1.30 summer steelies and just 0.02 summer Chinook per vessel, while anglers in the estuary averaged a harvest of 1.6 steelhead with no report of summer Chinook success. Bank anglers in the estuary managed to haul in 0.25 steelhead and 0.13 Chinook per angler.
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