After all the excitement on the huge return of fall upriver kings to the Columbia River, which now totals 830,177 and still counting, the sport catches have started to take a slight nose dive this week.
“It has been a little slower for chinook this week on Lower Columbia, and starting (Thursday, Sept. 26) you can keep any chinook (wild or hatchery) from Lewis River mouth all the way down to Buoy 10,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
“While fishing has slowed down we’ve still had at Buoy 10 the highest chinook catch since 1988 of 28,000 and a Lower Columbia sport catch that is a new record since at least 1980,” Hymer said. “It has been a good fishing year.”
Good chinook catches are still coming off the mouth of Klickitat and White Salmon River, and inside the Klickitat above and below the lower falls.
It remains fair in Drano Lake for chinook and steelhead. The Lewis mainstem and North Fork are fair for coho and hatchery chinook, and starting Oct. 1 all chinook may be kept and should be decent.
Fishing is fair in Cowlitz for chinook, coho and steelhead, and Kalama for chinook and coho.
The big fall king return has also boosted effort and catch in the Hanford Reach area of Columbia where anglers averaged a king per boat.