I had a chat this week with Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Vancouver and longtime angler.
Here is what Hymer had to say before he heads out the door this weekend to possibly search the waters of the Columbia River for sturgeon.
More than 2.4-million shad have been counted at Bonneville Dam, and the catch has been going “pretty big guns” Hymer said. Bank anglers were averaging about 10 shad per rod rod. On Tuesday, the daily count was 205,024, Wednesday it soared to 222,119 and Thursday it climbed to 220,628.
Chinook catches were scattered from Cathlamet to Bonneville with some hitting 30 to 40 pounds, including one that measured out at 44 inches. Some sockeye have also been caught and released. Chinook counts at Bonneville were 2,080 on Tuesday, 2,182 on Wednesday and 2,244 by Thursday with 108,362 total for the season so far.
“Some are doing decent at times from the bank with spin-n-glos, sardines and tuna balls,” Hymer said. “Some bank folks are dropping in deeper water with wobblers and plunking spinners, and boat guys are using spinners and Kwikfish wraps or a variety of things at a variety of depths.”
“There have been some good days for chinook, and then it will slow down but there are a couple thousand fish a day going over the dam.”
Summer steelhead fishing has been happening mainly from Cowlitz downstream, and it’s not a big return this year but some of them are pretty big.
Sturgeon fishing has been going pretty good, and on the bigger tides in the estuary last week they averaged almost half-a-fish per rod. Tides are softer this weekend, and Hymer says that could lead to a few more bullheads hooking up on your baits.
The sturgeon bite has been good from Cathlamet to Vancouver, and sturgeon retention opens this Friday and Saturday and June 21-22 in Bonneville Pool. Look for this to be a decent opportunity to catch these prehistoric monsters.
Sturgeon retention from Wauna powerlines to Bonneville closes starting Sunday, June 16 and reopens in mid-October.