Upper Columbia River Region
by Mark Yuasa
Now that the Columbia River sockeye return has surpassed preseason expectation, anglers will be able to pursue them in the upper stretches of the river.
State Fish and Wildlife announced this morning that sockeye fishing on the Columbia above Priest Rapids Dam as well as in the Okanogan and Similkameen Rivers, and Lake Osoyoos will open either Thursday, July 14 or Saturday, July 16.
State Fish and Wildlife managers met Monday and updated the sockeye return the mouth at 181,500 compared to the preseason forecast of 161,900.
Counts the past five days at Bonneville Dam have averaged anywhere from a low on July 12 of 3,329 to a high of 5,262 on July 8. As of Tuesday, the dam count is 170,337, and has seen some good runs in recent summers.
Sockeye salmon returns above Priest Rapids Dam are predicted to be well in excess of needs for wild fish escapement to the spawning grounds. The population is not listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The daily limit will be four sockeye with a minimum size limit of 12 inches. All coho and steelhead must be released.
Here is a breakdown on the sockeye fisheries opening:
Columbia River from Hwy 395 Bridge at Pasco to Wells Dam open July 14 through Oct 15. Anti-snagging and night closure in effect for Rocky Reach Dam to Turtle Rock. Columbia River from Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge in Brewster open July 16 through Aug 31.
Columbia River from Hwy 173 Bridge in Brewster to Hwy 17 Bridge in Bridgeport open July 14 through Oct 15.
Okanogan River from the mouth to Hwy 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth open July 14 through Oct 15. Anti-snagging and night closure in effect.
Okanogan River from Hwy 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth to Hwy 97 Bridge crossing at Oroville open July 14 through Sept 15. Anti-snagging and night closure in effect.
Similkameen River from the mouth to 400 feet downstream of Enloe Dam open July 14 through Sept 15. Anti-snagging and night closure in effect.
Lake Osoyoos from Zosel Dam upstream to 300 yards south of the 49th parallel (US-Canadian border, which is marked with large fluorescent orange signs) open July 14 through Sept 15.
Important angler note: All sockeye and chinook with a floy (anchor) tag attached must be released. These fish are essential to ongoing studies being conducted by the Yakama Indian Tribe (sockeye) and by WDFW (chinook). Signs will be posted at individual boat launches informing anglers on the study and type of tag that can be expected.
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
July 12, 2011 - Here is the latest report by state Fish and Wildlife on the Columbia River salmon and steelhead reports:
In the Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam last week state Fish and Wildlife sampled 1,873 salmon anglers (including 234 boats) with 105 adult and 19 jack summer chinook, 294 steelhead, and 28 sockeye. 65 (62%) of the adult and 14 (74%) of the jacks were kept as were 181(62%) of the steelhead and all but two (93%) of the sockeye.
Just over 800 salmon bank anglers and exactly 300 boats were observed on the lower Columbia mainstem last Saturday July 9.
Bank anglers were catching some summer chinook in The Dalles Pool.
Paul Hoffarth, a state Fish and Widldlife biologist in Pasco reports no chinook, sockeye, or steelhead were harvested this past week in the John Day Pool. Seven wild jack chinook were caught and released. Effort has been light. No boats were interviewed fishing for salmon this past week. A few bank anglers are still coming out routinely to fish for salmon or steelhead.
There were an estimated 70 angler trips for the week. For the fishery that began June 16, an estimated 20 adult hatchery summer chinook and 33 hatchery jacks have been harvested.
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