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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 26, 2010 at 12:08 AM

Columbia River above Priest Rapids opening soon for sockeye fishing

Another section of the Columbia River and two tributaries will open for sockeye salmon fishing after fisheries managers indicated the run size will be twice the size originally thought.

Anglers will be able to keep sockeye starting July 1 on the Columbia River above Priest Rapids Dam, and in the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers.

The daily limit is six salmon and up to three adult chinook, of which only one wild adult chinook may be retained. Sockeye minimum size limit is 12 inches. All coho and steelhead must be released. Release all sockeye and chinook with floy (anchor) tag attached.

There is an anti-snagging and night closure in effect for Rocky Reach Dam to Turtle Rock and the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers.

Here are the dates and sections opening:

July 1-Aug. 31, Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to Wanapum Dam.

July 1-Oct. 15, Columbia River from Wanapum Dam to Wells Dam.

July 16-Aug. 31, Columbia River from Wells Dam to Hwy. 173 Bridge in Brewster.

July 1-Oct. 15, Columbia River from Hwy. 173 Bridge in Brewster to Hwy. 17 Bridge in Bridgeport.

July 1-Oct. 15, Okanogan River from the mouth to Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth.

July 1-Sept. 15, Okanogan River from Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth to Hwy. 97 Bridge crossing at Oroville.

July 1-Sept. 15, Similkameen River from the mouth to Enloe Dam.

Through June 23, 164,431 sockeye have returned already, and the updated inseason forecast is 250,000, exceeding the original preseason forecast of 125,000.

The largest all-time sockeye return happened in 1947 when 335,300 returned.

The daily counts at Bonneville have gone beyond record highs, and on June 23 the single day count was 30,374. That is a brand new record since Bonneville Dam was erected in 1938. The old record was 27,112 on July 7, 1955.

Sockeye passage is typically 50-percent complete by June 25.

Sockeye 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.

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