Wenatchee Sockeye Count Tops 20K

Nooooooooooooo pressure on Art Viola and Jeff Korth, but we couldn’t help but notice that the Tumwater Dam sockeye count was up to 20,715 this past Sunday.

That’s about 2,300 fish below what’s needed to meet spawning escapement goals and 4,300 or so away from enough to open a fishery on Lake Wenatchee.

“If the fish keep coming, it will be in a week or two,” says Viola, who is the local fisheries biologist; Korth is his boss.

Viola points out that the peak of the run at the dam 24 miles below the Central Cascades lake has already past, however.

This year’s biggest day was 3,319, this past Thursday, July 22.

It’s since tailed off to 1,531 on July 25. (One close observer of the fishery suggests that escapement numbers could have been met in the two and a half days since the 25th.)

Last year, fishing was open Aug. 5-11 and anglers caught 2,040 sockeye.

SARAH WALKER WITH A LAKE WENATCHEE SOCKEYE. (RYAN WALKER)

There are two ways that managers could open a fishery: the minute there’s enough for anglers to catch some, or hold off awhile and give everyone a chance to get into the launch line at Lake Wenatchee State Park or Glacier View Campground.

The latter option, however, could bump up against an upcoming furlough day for state workers, Aug. 6, who must monitor the fishery. (That may or may not indicate that managers are thinking about something like a Friday-Sunday season).

While the lake is very popular when it does open, North-central Washington anglers are actually slaying sockeye elsewhere — on the Brewster Pool.

“Oh, man, it’s loaded with them,” says Viola. “My wife and I have caught 10.”

Anton Jones’ guides have been pounding the upper Columbia reservoir too, bailing limits.

ROB PHILLIPS OF YAKIMA AND THE ZIMMERMANS OF TUMWATER, WASH., SHOW OFF THEIR LIMITS OF SOCKEYE. (DARRELL & DAD'S GUIDE SERVICE)

In his most recent fishing report, Jones, who operates Darrell & Dad’s Guide Service (866-360-1523) reports:

What’s hot is trolling for sockeye salmon off the mouth of the Columbia River.  Chinook numbers are still building with some fish being caught both below Wells Dam and off the mouth of the Okanogan.

Fish for sockeye with Mack’s Lures mini squid rigs behind big chrome dodgers or simply bait a tandem red hook set up with Pautzke cured shrimp chunks off the mouth of the Okanogan River.  Strap on your patience for the Brewster launch ramp.

Your fishing tip of the week is to remember the keys to success in fishing are location and presentation.  There were a lot of people trolling in blank water out of Brewster this week.  The location difference between catching fish and a slow boat ride is very subtle.  A good sonar unit and some experience is helpful here.

And in other sockeye news, there are successful reports from the first-ever Baker Lake fishery, and the Lake Washington salmon count is up to 148,393 through July 25, the second largest run since 2005, though nowhere near enough to hold a sport season.

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