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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Wind River and Drano Lake spring chinook catches improve this week

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The spring chinook catch rates have skyrocketed the past few days in the tributaries above Bonneville Dam.

“We had a (one-day) count of over 15,000 spring chinook a couple days ago, and the past two days they have been in the 8,000 to 10,000 range,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “The pit tags (used to track spring chinook as they cross over the dam) show they are headed to the Wind River and Drano Lake, and those fisheries have been pretty darn good the last few days.”

Hymer says the consequences to those ramped up fish counts is the angler effort has gone up and so have the catches.

“It was good for the past couple days, and better than a fish per boat average, and for spring chinook that is really good,” Hymer said.

The Bonneville Dam passage of spring chinook through May 3 totals 68,752 adult fish. Daily counts have dramatically increased, with the counts for the past three days accounting for nearly half the total passage.

Based on the recent five-year average, which includes four late-timed years, passage is typically about 35-percent complete by May 3 and the average 50-percent passage date is May 8.

The state Fish and Wildlife Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has been reviewing the status of the upriver spring chinook run on a weekly basis.

With the strong counts at Bonneville Dam in recent days, TAC is more optimistic about the run status now compared to one week ago. TAC has not updated the run size. TAC prefers to be closer to the 50-percent cumulative arrival date at Bonneville Dam before updating the run size.

(Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

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