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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 1, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Lower Hanford Reach steelhead fishery chugging along at a fair pace

The steelhead fishery in the Hanford Reach area of the Columbia River was fair this past month.

Here is a look at how the fishery fared:

Lower Reach (Hwy 395 to old Hanford town site):

An estimated 174 steelhead were caught and 140 steelhead were harvested in February. Anglers are averaging one steelhead for each 12 hours of fishing. Boat anglers have fared better than the shore anglers at 9 hours per steelhead versus 32 hours per steelhead for bank anglers.

A total of 1,374 steelhead have been caught this season and 1,011 hatchery steelhead have been harvested. State Fish and Wildlife staff sampled 15-percent of the estimated angler effort in this fishery in February and 25-percent for the season.

Catch and harvest numbers are well below the 2008 and 2009 fisheries but similar to those of 2004-07.

Upper Reach (Vernita Bridge to Priest Rapids Dam):

On December 8, state Fish and Wildlife opened the Columbia River from the Highway 24 Bridge (Vernita Bridge) to Priest Rapids Dam for the retention of hatchery steelhead.

This is the first time this area has been open in the winter for steelhead in many years. Angler effort has been relatively light. Very few anglers are fishing from shore for steelhead. No steelhead were reported in February. Only two boats were interviewed. An estimated 225 steelhead have been caught in this fishery with 47 hatchery steelhead harvested.

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