Columbia Steelie Catch Over 6K So Far In July

Anglers are within roughly 2,000 steelhead of topping last year’s phenomenal catch on the lower Columbia River in July.

Nearly 6,150 had been bonked on the big river through the 25th.

Last year’s catch of 8,221 is the highest tally since the early 1970s, according to Joe Hymer, a fisheries biologist in Vancouver.

Tallies from the fishery show the highest boat catches this month coming below Bonneville for boaters as well as Oregon-side bank anglers and the Longview area for boaters and Washington-side plunkers.

Managers expect an overall return of 462,000 summer steelhead past Bonneville this year.

They’ve been surprised by the number of wild steelhead mixed into the run. Nearly 5,800 have been let go on the lower river this month, and of the 158,197 summer-runs that have passed Bonneville since April 1, 76,879 have had an intact adipose fin. Hatchery steelhead have that fin cut off for identification purposes.

Managers say the bigger B-run fish will come in in August; they expect a pretty good return.

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