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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Lots of fish to catch on Columbia River, including one-million shad counted at Bonneville


South Fork Toutle River – Very slow for summer run steelhead. Only a few wild winter run steelhead were released last week.

Cowlitz River – Anglers are mainly catching spring Chinook, in particular around the salmon hatchery. Some steelhead are also being caught mainly between the hatcheries.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 196 spring Chinook adults, 34 jacks, two winter-run steelhead and 91 summer-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 74 spring Chinook adults, 23 jacks and one winter-run steelhead at the Day Use Park in Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, six spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and 13 spring Chinook adults into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 7,780 cubic feet per second on Monday, June 11. Water visibility is 10 feet.

Kalama and Lewis rivers – Light effort and catches. Kalama River is closed to fishing for spring Chinook.

Washougal River – Some summer run steelhead are being caught.

Wind River and Drano Lake – Effort and catch continues to below low at both locations. Two pole rule rescinded at both areas during the sturgeon retention season June 15, 16, 22, and 23.

Klickitat River – Bank anglers in the lower river are still catching some spring Chinook and summer run steelhead. Boat effort was light in the upper river last Saturday. Upper river is now open for hatchery adult Chinook.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the I-5 Bridge downstream – Last week we sampled 908 salmonid anglers (including 34 boats) with 47 adult and 4 jack spring Chinook, 106 steelhead, and 19 sockeye. All but one of the adult spring Chinook and 10 of the steelhead were released. Of the 45 known origin adult Chinook released, 28 (62%) were hatchery fish. The one adult Chinook kept was a large “jack”.

Megler-Astoria Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam – Scheduled to reopen for hatchery adult Chinook retention June 16. Hatchery steelhead and sockeye may be retained from the I-5 Bridge upstream beginning the same day. Retention of hatchery adult Chinook and sockeye below Bonneville Dam is expected to be allowed through July 1.

Bonneville Dam to Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco – Scheduled to reopen to fishing for hatchery Chinook, hatchery steelhead, and sockeye beginning June 16.


Ports of Chinook and Ilwaco – Charter boat anglers averaged a legal kept 7.9 rods while the 75 private boat anglers sampled had kept only a couple legals. If an angler did catch a fish, there was a one in five change it was a keeper. The odds were actually higher it would be an oversize fish that had to be released.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Chinook to Marker 82 – Last week we sampled 92 sturgeon anglers (including 28 boats) with 14 legals kept. Boat anglers kept all the legals.

Mainstem Columbia and its tributaries from Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam -Retention will be allowed June 15, 16, 22, and 23. The daily limit will be 1 fish, min. size 38″ fork length and max. 54″ fork length. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted on non-retention days.

The Dalles Pool – Slow for legal size fish. Through May, an estimated 106 (35%) of the 300 fish guideline had been taken.

Walleye and Bass

The Dalles Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged a walleye and 15 bass per rod. Bank anglers are also catching some bass.


Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 188 shad anglers (including 23 boats) with 2,094 shad kept and 43 released, an average of nearly a dozen fish per rod.

Almost a million shad have been counted at Bonneville Dam to date. Last year just 73,500 fish had been counted by June 11. More fish have been counted at the dam each of the last five days than last year’s total to date.



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