HOOK AND FUR
By Bob Brown
It looks like this year’s fall chinook return to the Columbia River might be another record run, according to Washington and Oregon fish managers. The agencies have forecasted a return of 1,510,600 fish which would exceed last year’s chinook return and be another record-breaking return. The forecast is 119 percent of the 2013 actual return (1,268,400) and 254 percent of the 2004-2013 average return of 59,200 fish. Bonneville Dam passage is expected to total over 1.1 million upriver fall chinook adults. Passage is typically 50 percent completed by Sept. 8.
The steelhead return is also looking good. The forecast for the combined Group A/B steelhead return to Bonneville Dam total is 272,400 fish; including 88,900 wild fish (33percent). Group A’s forecast is 85 percent and Group B’s is 62 percent of their respective 10-year averages. The forecasted coho return is 638,300 adults, which includes 367,100 early and 271,200 late stocks respectfully. It is expected 193,500 adult coho will cross over Bonneville Dam.
Joe Hymer, of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW, reported that during the week of July 21-27, boat anglers on the Cowlitz averaged nearly a hatchery summer steelhead per person while bank anglers averaged over a spring chiook jack per rod. Most of the steelhead were sampled at Blue Creek and Mission Bar; salmon at barrier dam. Also, during that week Tacoma Power recovered 1,217 summer steelhead, 130 spring chook adults, 74 jacks, 219 mini-jacks and one fall chinook, two cutthroat and two sockeye salmon at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. They also recycled 200 summer steelhead and three sockeye down stream to the Interstate 5 boat launch, and released 80 spring chinook into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek.
Other fishing bulletins
• Last month, WDFW personnel released 2,300 rainbows into Rainey Creek, located five miles from Morton near Glenoma. Anglers need to be aware this is a small creek with very limited bank and public access.
• It has been reported some steelhead are being caught near the mouth of the Lewis River. Angler effort has been light on the Klickitat due to turbid water conditions. Water levels are extremely low on the Wynoochee and the Skokomish opened to fishing Aug. 1. No fishing reports are presently available on either river.
• Karen Glaser, of Barrier Dam Campground, said Mayfield Lake has been producing limits of trout and there have been reports of Tiger Muskie activity. Fishing has been very good in Swofford Pond for Blue Gills, trout, catfish and bass, also some limits of silvers are being caught near the dam on Riffe Lake.
Nearly all lakes in the Pierce County region are reporting good catches of warm-water species with some limits of rainbows being had. Early mornings and late evenings appear to be the best catching periods. Standard baits and gear are working in all waters.
• The Bonneville Power Administration’s Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward fishery continues to be red hot throughout the Columbia and Snake rivers. During the same week of Hymer’s report, 812 anglers participating in the fishery caught 6, 972 pikeminnows. One of the hottest areas was near Boyer Park on the Snake River where 137 anglers caught 1,600 pikeminnows. The average was 11.7 fish per angler.
To date, 15,675 pikes have been caught in that area.
Hunting and wildfire notes
• The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will be considering the 2014-15 hunting seasons for migratory waterfowl Aug. 8-9 in Olympia. WDFW has proposed state waterfowl season be similar to that adopted last year. The general duck season would be open for 107 days- from Oct. 11-15 and from Oct. 18 –Jan. 25, with a special youth hunting season proposed for Sept. 20-21.
As in previous years, goose hunting seasons would vary by management areas across the state, but most would open in mid-October and run through late January. The commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on both days in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building.
• WDFW land managers are urging everyone planning to spend time outdoors this month to take care not to spark a wildfire. A state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) burn ban is in effect through Sept. 30 on all DNR-protected land, including WDFW land.
Bob Brown is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be contacted at email@example.com