Hunting and Fishing: Steelhead and Salmonby Alan Liere
Spokesman Review, October 21, 2011
At 150,000, the 2011 steelhead count at Lower Granite Dam is about 20,000 fish behind last year's count but only 10,000 fish behind the average of the last five years.
The peak of the fall chinook run has passed over Bonneville Dam, but boat anglers fishing in the gorge continue to average 1.80 fall chinook and 0.50 coho caught per boat. Bank anglers have taken considerably fewer.
Steelhead fishing is good for bait fishermen at Heller Bar on the Snake River, but much slower upriver. The mouth of the Salmon has slowed way down. Guide Tim Johnson of Clarkston said he fished upstream of Asotin recently and did OK. He said 14 of his last 17 steelhead have been unclipped. The Clearwater/Snake confluence has been slow, but fishing is pretty good around Orofino. The Clearwater is producing some nice "B" run steelhead. Grande Ronde River flows are up and fishing is good.
Anglers fishing the Wenatchee River are catching steelhead, coho salmon and chinook, all on the same trip all the way up to Leavenworth.
Anglers are still taking chinook at Vernita. Most fish have turned significantly, but a few bright ones remain. Wells Dam has been slow for steelhead, but it should pick up later in the season. Anglers at Hanford averaged 1.7 chinook per boat last week. Saturday is the last day of the salmon fishery from the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco upstream to Wanapum Dam.
Chinook effort has decreased slightly on the Yakima River, but harvest remains strong. This week there were an estimated 1,063 angler trips on the Yakima River for salmon. Last week, anglers averaged one chinook for 12 hours of fishing. Estimated harvest for the week was 171 adult chinook, 53 jacks and nine coho. Saturday is the last scheduled day of the salmon fishery.
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