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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Wind River and Drano Lake catch rates for spring chinook increase along with more fish over Bonneville Dam

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The fish counts at Bonneville Dam had soared in the middle of this week, but what it all means as far as total spring chinook returns is yet to be seen.

Back on May 7, the single-day counts crept up to 9,081 spring chinook, and then went to 12,000 by May 8, and soared to 18,436 by May 9 before coming back down to 7,200 on Thursday (May 10).

“The (water) flows at Bonneville did go back up, and that could have impeded the fish movement,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “That could’ve been the peak of the run, but we just don’t know yet.”

Hymer says we’ll know more on Monday when the Technical Advisory Committee meets to evaluate the spring chinook return.

With those bigger spring chinook counts at Bonneville has also meant the fisheries in tributaries above has increased along with the crowds of anglers at the Wind River and Drano Lake.

“The Wind has picked up and it has gotten busier too,” Hymer said. “Fishing has been pretty darn good with some of the top checks up to a fish-and-a-half per boat at the peak.”

“We’ve seen some 100-plus boat days on the Wind, so it is pretty busy and very crowded,” Hymer said. “The last I heard from Drano Lake was mixed reports and a little bit slower than the Wind.”

“The new expanded boundary at the Wind gives folks more area to fish, and it has been producing some fish, but most of the fish are being caught in the old areas,” Hymer said. “The limiting factor in the Wind is simply getting a boat in the water.”

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