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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 6, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Columbia River Tri-City area steelhead fishery saw an increase of angler effort

Weather in the Tri-City area was warmer than usual for much of February, and angler effort was more than double the six year average but slightly lower than January.

An estimated 317 steelhead were caught in January, but only 151 of the steelhead were harvested.

The number of unmarked steelhead in the fishery increased this year, and in February 165 of these unmarked steelhead were caught and released.

Based on the percentage of adipose absent steelhead returning to the Ringold Hatchery, 56 of the 165 steelhead caught were of hatchery origin, but the percentage was likely much higher as these fish are returned to the fishery and the adipose clipped steelhead are retained.

The February 2010 catch and harvest was higher than any of the past five years, and the remainder of the fishery should follow this pattern of slightly above normal catch and harvest.

Boat anglers averaged 8.9 hours per fish in February with bank anglers a bit behind at roughly 15 hours of angling per steelhead.

For the season, 3,992 steelhead have been caught with 2,583 harvested. An estimated 352 wild steelhead (8.8% of the catch) have been caught and released during the fishery through the end of February.

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