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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 1, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Word on Hanford Reach steelhead sport fishery

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Here is an update on the steelhead fishery in the Columbia River’s Hanford Reach area.

The Lower Reach from Highway 395 to old Hanford town site: An estimated 353 steelhead were caught and 264 steelhead were harvested in March. Anglers are averaging one steelhead for each 12 hours of fishing. Boat anglers have done better than bank anglers at 10 hours per steelhead versus 20 hours per steelhead for bank anglers.

A total of 1,727 steelhead have been caught this season and 1,275 hatchery steelhead have been kept. State Fish and Wildlife sampled 26-percent of the estimated angler effort in this fishery in March, and 29-percent for the season. Catch and harvest numbers are well below the 2008 and 2009 fisheries but similar to those of 2004-07.

Effective April 1 this fishery is restricted to bank anglers only. The boundary area for the bank fishery is from the state Fish and Wildlife marker 1/4 mile downstream of the Ringold irrigation wasteway outlet to the marker ½ mile upstream of Spring Creek. The fishery will close to fishing for steelhead on April 15.

The Upper Reach from Vernita Bridge to Priest Rapids Dam: On March 31, the steelhead sport fishery on the Columbia River between the Hwy 24 bridge (Vernita Bridge) and Priest Rapids Dam was closed by emergency regulation change to the retention of hatchery steelhead.

This fishery opened Dec. 8. This was the first time this area has been open in the winter for steelhead in many years.

Angler effort was been relatively light with limited harvest in December and January. This fishery averaged one boat trip per day. Very few anglers fished from shore for steelhead. No steelhead were reported in February or March. An estimated 157 steelhead have been caught in this fishery with 46 hatchery steelhead harvested.

(Photo taken by Associated Press)

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