Lower Columbia steelheaders bonked a record number last month, and just missed topping the all-time “handle” mark for July as well.
According to fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver, Washington and Oregon anglers kept 8,549 steelies in July 2011 from Bonneville Dam down to the mouth, over 300 more than the previous record set in that monster run year, 2009.
That year saw 8,221 retained while last July fell just eight fish short of tying that mark.
“Last month’s 15,897 total steelhead handled (kept and released) missed the record by just 37 fish — 15,934 in 2009,” Hymer adds.
The incredible fishing has continued right into August. Earlier this week he announced that fishermen had handled 11,639 steelhead, a record for August by 590 fish (a mark also set in 2009).
It’s likely that this year’s higher, cooler Columbia is making the fish more available to bank anglers, and that we’re also dialing in how to fish dyed prawns.