SW WA Fishing Report



Cowlitz River – Spring chinook are being caught at the barrier dam while steelhead are being caught from there downriver.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 336 winter-run steelhead, 67 summer-run steelhead, 487 spring Chinook adults, 30 jacks and one mini-jack during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.  Tacoma Power employees released 280 spring Chinook adults, 17 jacks and seven winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa at the Day Use Park above Cowlitz Falls Dam and 80 spring Chinook adults and six jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood, Washington.

Flows have been steady at 3,560 cfs (except for the weekly flushing flow).  A total of 2,669 adults have returned to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator as of May 14.  The 13 year average cumulative total to date is 24.12% of the run.   Using average run timing returns to date would convert to a run size of 11,066 to the separator.  The 2010 pre-season forecast (total return to Cowlitz)was 12,500 adults.


Kalama River – Anglers are catching a mix of spring Chinook and steelhead.

A total of 62 adults have returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery as of May 14.  The 5 year average cumulative total to date is 10.5% of the run. Using average run timing returns to date would convert to a run size of 590 adults to Kalama Falls Hatchery.  Hatchery escapement goal is 438 adults.  The 2010 pre-season forecast (total return to Kalama) was 900 adults.

Lewis River – More steelhead than spring Chinook are being caught.

Through May 12, a total of 783 hatchery adult spring Chinook had returned to the trap at Merwin Dam.  This compares to 119 fish at the same time last year.

Through May 10, a total of 150 males and 150 females have been shipped to Speelyai Hatchery for brood stock and 188 fish planted into Swift Reservoir for reintroduction habitat prep.  Goal:  1,300 fish for brood stock and up to 500 for habitat preparation in the upper watershed.

2010 pre-season forecast (total return to the Lewis) was 6,000 adults.

Wind River – Effort and catch has dropped at the mouth while fishing in the gorge has improved.  About one in four boat anglers at the mouth caught an adult spring Chinook last week.  Over half the bank anglers sampled in the gorge had caught a fish.

There have been 211 adult and four jack chinook with Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags from Carson National Fish Hatchery (CNFH) detected at Bonneville Dam adult ladders as of May 12.  Applying the tag rates from CNFH produces estimates of 16,335 adults and 232 jacks over Bonneville Dam through May 12.

The final run size of Wind River origin adult spring chinook over Bonneville Dam using early, average, and late timing data from 2000-2009, projects to  16,641, 18,038, and 20,650, respectively.  PIT tag detections have tapered off over the past week and it appears that the final run at Bonneville Dam will fall between 17,000 and 18,000.  The 2010 pre-season forecast (total return to the Wind) was 14,000 adults.

Through May 17, a total of 251 spring Chinook had returned to Carson National Fish Hatchery.  Daily counts are available via phone @ 509.427.5905.  Hatchery escapement goal is 1,500 fish.

Drano Lake – Catch rates remain good though a little slower than the previous week.  About 40% of the boat anglers sampled had caught a spring Chinook while bank anglers averaged one per every 6.5 rods.

There have been a total of 255 detections of 2006 brood Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery (LWSNFH)  PIT tagged adult spring Chinook at Bonneville Dam as of May 16.  Applying the juvenile tag rate from LWSNFH (14,938 PIT tagged from a release of 934,438 smolts or 1.6%) produces an estimate of 15,951 LWSNFH origin four-year-old chinook over Bonneville Dam through May 16.  The 2010 pre-season forecast (total return to Drano Lake) was 28,900 adults.

The ladder at the hatchery was opened for one day on May 6.  700 fish were counted in less than 24 hours.  The ladder has been closed since.  The hatchery escapement goal is 1,000 fish.

Klickitat River – Bank anglers from the Fisher Hill Bridge downstream are catching equal numbers of spring Chinook and summer run steelhead.

5,000 PIT tags were put into both the 2005 and 2006 brood spring Chinook smolt releases from Klickitat Hatchery.  Through May 16, nine four-year-old and one five-year-old Klickitat Hatchery PIT tags had been detected at Bonneville Dam.  The total 2005 and 2006 brood smolt releases from Klickitat Hatchery were approximately 606,000 and 615,306 fish, respectively.  Using the PIT tags recovered at Bonneville Dam/5,000 PIT tagged Klickitat Hatchery smolts released = smolt to adult survival rate of 0.02% and 0.18% for the 2005 and 2006 broods, respectively. Applying this survival rate to the entire releases, then approximately 1,229 Klickitat Hatchery origin adult spring chinook, including 1,108 four-year-olds and 121 five-year-olds, have crossed Bonneville Dam through May 16.

Through May 13, a total of 82 hatchery and 5 wild adult spring Chinook had been counted at the trap at Lyle Falls.  The trap daily counts are available at http://www.ykfp.org/klickitat/Data_lyleadulttrap.htm.

The 2010 pre-season forecast (total return to the Klickitat) was 4,500 adults.

Yakima River – From Paul Hoffarth, WDFW District 4 Fish Biologist in Pasco:  For the week of May 10-16, an estimated 18 hatchery spring chinook were harvested in the lower Yakima River (I-182 to Horn Rapids Diversion). For the season, an estimated 41 adult hatchery spring chinook have been harvested and 9 wild chinook have been released.

Lower Columbia from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line to the I-5 Bridge – Open to fishing for hatchery steelhead and hatchery Chinook jacks.   Through June 15, salmonid daily limit is 6 fish of which up to 2 may be hatchery steelhead.  Adult Chinook and all other salmon must be released.

On yesterday’s opener, bank anglers from Longview downstream averaged a steelhead kept/released per every 6 rods while boat anglers in the Longview area averaged one per every 9 rods based on mainly incomplete and completed trips, respectively.

Ringold – From Paul Hoffarth, WDFW District 4 Fish Biologist in Pasco:  For the week of May 10-16, anglers harvested 105 adult hatchery spring chinook at Ringold. No wild chinook were reported in the fishery. For the season, an estimated 406 adult spring chinook have been harvested with 44 wild chinook released.

Bonneville Dam passage of Chinook through May 16 totals 221,282 adults.  This is the highest cumulative count to date since 2002 and the 3rd highest count to date (1977-current).

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met today and updated the upriver run to 340,000 adults at the Columbia River mouth.  TAC will continue to meet at least weekly to review passage at Bonneville Dam.

Non-treaty impacts to ESA-listed spring Chinook are projected to be 1.93% compared to the 2.3% guideline at a 340,000 run size.

At the current 340,000 run size projection, non-treaty fisheries are projected to have a remaining balance of about 1,200 upriver spring Chinook for harvest under the catch-balancing agreement.


Lower Columbia from the mouth to the Wauna powerlines – No report on angling success.  Through May 21, white sturgeon must be released.  Effective May 22 through June 26 white sturgeon may be retained daily.  Daily limit will be 1 fish, minimum size 41” fork length and maximum size 54” fork length. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed during non-retention days.

Lower Columbia from the Wauna powerlines to the Marker 82 line – Boat anglers in the gorge and around Vancouver were catching some legals.  Just under half of the 143 sturgeon boats counted during last Saturday’s (May 15) flight were found from the Marker 82 line downstream to Corbett.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Open to fishing for shad.  No report on angling success.  Daily counts at Bonneville Dam are increasing with 775 fish tallied yesterday.  For daily counts see http://www.cbr.washington.edu/dart/adult.html, http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/fishdata/home.asp, or http://www.fpc.org/currentdaily/HistFishTwo_7day-ytd_Adults.htm.

For more information about shad including biology, history, where, when and how to catch them and how to prepare your catch  and some recipes, see http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/outreach/fishing/shad/shad.htm


No plants for last week other than nine surplus hatchery winter run steelhead averaging 10 pounds each were released into Kress Lake near Kalama.


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