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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

September 30, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Fall chinook fishery decent in the Hanford Reach area of Columbia River

For the second week in a row the Hanford Reach on the Columbia River, a popular late fall salmon fishing destination was good for fall chinook.

State Fish and Wildlife sampled 430 boats with 1,061 anglers who caught 330 chinook. Effort (number of boats) is 25-percent higher this year compared to last year.

Adult chinook catch is also roughly 20-percent above last year at this time. The number of jack chinook in the harvest is down from last year as are the counts of jacks over Bonneville (less than half of the 2009 jack count to date). For the fishery this season an estimated 3,075 adult chinook, 404 jack chinook and four coho have been caught.

Based on passage through Sept 23, Paul Hoffarth, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Pasco. estimates a total return to the Hanford Reach of 75,675. This is an expansion based on the 12-year average. Using the most recent two years this estimate drops to 56,506.

“Decent return with either estimate,” Hoffarth said.

The Hanford Reach is open to the retention of steelhead upstream to Priest Rapids Dam through Oct 22.

An estimated 526 steelhead have been caught through Sept. 26, and 237 of these have been kept. Fishing for steelhead throughout the Hanford Reach was slow last week for both bank and boat anglers.

Fall chinook catch in the Yakima River picked up slightly this past week. Effort and catch has been relatively slow to date, but both should begin to increase this week. State Fish and Wildlife interviewed 65 anglers with seven adult chinook and one jack chinook this past week.

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