by Rich Landers
SALMON FISHING -- Better late than never - the 2011 sockeye salmon run pouring over Bonneville Dam and heading up the Columbia River likely be the fourth largest since records were started in 1980.
Most of the sockeye are headed for the Wenatchee and Okanagan river basins in central Washington and British Columbia, but around 2,000 are destined for a 900-mile swim up the Columbia and Snake river systems to spawn in the Sawtooth Mountains of central Idaho.
While this year's forecast of 181,000 sockeyes is big, it pales to last year's record run of 387,858.
Beginning yesterday, anglers can retain adult sockeye salmon in the mainstem Columbia River above Priest Rapids Dam, including the Okanogan and Similkameen Rivers, and Lake Osoyoos.
Columbia River sockeye returns are surpassing expectations and fisheries managers say, "Game on!"
The daily limit is four sockeye with a minimum size of 12 inches. All coho and steelhead must be released.
Bonneville Dam counts have ranged from 3,329 on July 12 to 5,262 on July 8.
As of Wednesday, 173,500 fish had moved above Bonneville of the 181,000 expected.
Read on for a breakdown on the sockeye fisheries opening:
Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement required for all sockeye fisheries.
Sockeye and Chinook Season is Closed Upstream of Astoria Bridge by Staff, The Daily Astorian, 7/18/11
Upper Columbia River Region Opens for Sockeye Fishing by Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times, 7/13/11
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