Salmon and Steelhead
by Alan Liere, Correspondent
Clearwater River steelhead fishing has been slow, running about one fish a day, with the Orofino area best. Several Grande Ronde fly-fishing guides have also had one-fish days. At Boggan's Oasis, Bill Vail said the water is low, clear and cold. Pluggers are picking up four or five fish a day, however, and those throwing jigs and shrimp have also done pretty well. If the rain projected for today materializes, things could get much better quickly.
The Snake is fair on both sides of Heller Bar. There have been lots of fish over Lower Granite recently, so fishing should pick up soon.
Steelheading in the Columbia near Brewster is only fair with an equal split between plugs and the bobber/jig combinations. There are still salmon in the river, so avoid spots where they are congregated, as they tend to run off the steelhead. Both the Okanogan and Methow rivers are closed to steelhead fishing.
WDFW district fish biologist Bob Jateff of Omak reported steelhead fishing has been "pretty good" on the mainstem Columbia River from Wells Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam
At Ringold, bank anglers averaged one steelhead for every 17 hours fished last week. Boat anglers are still picking up a few chinook, but angler effort has declined with the closure of the salmon season above the wooden power line towers. Good table quality fall chinook are getting more difficult to find, but there have been reports of some anglers limiting on chromers.
As of Wednesday, all hatchery steelhead may be retained.
Anglers are still catching some coho near tributary mouths in the lower Columbia, and chinook fishing is fair in the gorge. Boat angling for salmon is prohibited in the area from Beacon Rock upstream to Bonneville Dam effective Wednesday through Dec. 31. Catch rates for steelhead have declined in the John Day Pool.
Salmon anglers are hooking a good number of bright coho in the lower Columbia River and many of its tributaries, and chum salmon are showing up in several Puget Sound rivers.
Lake Coeur d'Alene chinook are hitting reasonably well in 80-90 feet of water. The usual mini squid lures or trolled herring are taking the fish.
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