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Salmon and Steelhead Fishing Report

by Alan Liere, Correspondent
Capital Press, November 17, 2006

Snake River steelhead fishing appears to be improving in all upstream stretches of the mainstem and in most tributaries, according to the latest steelhead creel survey conducted by WDFW fish biologists and their colleagues in Idaho and Oregon. The best catch rate was on the Tucannon River where anglers averaged less than six hours of fishing per steelhead. Steelheaders checked on the Walla Walla River averaged less than seven hours of effort per fish.

On the Snake mainstem, the stretch from Little Goose dam to Lower Granite dam saw an average of just more than seven hours of fishing per steelhead. Fishing off the Wall at Little Goose has been good at times. Turbine No. 2 is down for repairs, so Turbine No. 1 is running more, putting the current closer to the Wall, which improves fishing.

The Guide Shop in Orofino reported excellent steelheading for B-run fish on the entire Clearwater. On the Lower Grande Ronde River, from Boggan's to the Oregon border, the average catch rate was less than 10 hours per steelhead. Fly fishermen are having success with purple and black patterns, and those using pluggers said gold is the color of the week. The Grande Ronde was running at 1,600 cfs Wednesday with a little stain in the water.

Steelheading near Brewster is only fair, and anglers have to sort through a lot of wild fish. Some of the best success has come near the docks at Pateros. The water is starting to clear after the heavy rains and the bait of choice is the bobber and jig combo with dyed red shrimp.

The November steelhead catch at Ringold is higher than last year's and may be larger than 2004. Boat and bank anglers continue to pick up an occasional chinook. Last week, bank anglers did better than boat anglers, averaging one steelhead for every six hours fished

On the Bonneville Pool, boat anglers continue to catch coho near the mouth of the Klickitat. The mainstem Columbia was clear upstream from the mouth of the Klickitat.

Steelhead fishing declined slightly from last week, but it continues to be good in the Columbia above John Day Dam and in the John Day Arm, with anglers averaging about a half fish caught per rod.

Cowlitz River bank anglers near the barrier dam continue to catch coho, although river flows are nearly the same height as the parking lot. Flows at Mayfield Dam were 27,800 cfs earlier in the week. The Lake Scanewa Day Use Park is closed and the lake is drawn down for flood control. It's anticipated Lake Scanewa will be drawn down at least into this week.

Chum salmon are swarming into fisheries throughout the Olympic Peninsula. Recent updates indicate many runs are exceeding preseason forecasts. As the water clears, there will be plenty of opportunities to catch these 6- to 15-pound fish.

Anglers should also start watching for winter steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula, said WDFW fish biologist Mike Gross. He expects to see early steelhead in the catch once the rivers fall back into shape.

Tip of the week
Guide Rod Hammons of Brewster, Wash., heard a lot of steelhead were being lost by anglers using the Rock Dancer Jig. He solved the problem by opening up the hook with a pair of pliers and reports he lost few fish after that.

Alan Liere, Correspondent
Salmon and Steelhead Fishing Report
Capital Press, November 17, 2006

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