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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 25, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Columbia River sockeye returns strong, but Skagit River action still not very good

While thousands of sockeye salmon are streaming up the Columbia River, it looks like local returns on the places such as the Skagit River are moving at a snails pace.

“Sockeye fishing was slow through (Tuesday), but I talked with the creels (Wednesday) and it looked like it picked up although there isn’t much effort,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “So the good news is they are starting to catch fish.”

Through Sunday, the creel check estimate was only 79 sockeye, and “horrendously slow to say the least,” Barkdull said.

Sockeye is open on the Skagit from Highway 536 at Mount Vernon (Memorial Highway Bridge) up to mouth of Gilligan Creek, which is open through Sunday, June 29 with a two sockeye daily limit.

On the other hand, to the extreme south in the Columbia River the sockeye return appears to happening as planned.

The single-day count at Bonneville Dam was 26,722 sockeye on Sunday; 26,366 on Monday; and 26,888 on Wednesday. So far this season 167,244 have been counted.

“Most people still haven’t figured out how to catch them,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist although some catch has occurred in Bonneville Pool.

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