Wenatchee Reopening

Lake Wenatchee will open again this Saturday, Aug. 7, for sockeye, with fishing continuing until further notice, WDFW announced this afternoon.

“My guess is it will last 10 days,” says Art Viola, the local fisheries biologist. “That’s my guess. It’s only a guess. It could get windy and nobody catches anything.”

Brandon Rogers of the Yakima area ran into the wind when he made a run to the lake on Monday, temporarily scratching his plans to get out after the salmon, but he made it out that evening and on Tuesday.

“Limits after the sun went behind the hills — two fish in less than 5 minutes,” Rogers reported Tuesday night. “This morning was more of a grind. We caught our limit of four by 8 a.m. 000 chrome dodger with 1/0 red Gami and a pink/glow hoochie tail (just two fronds)  did the trick. Sixty-five feet was the best depth.  Not much pressure last night and maybe 75 boats this morning.”

Viola estimates that the first three-day season yielded 1,085 fish, and says that right now there are around 4,000 to 5,000 more sockeye to catch.

A total of 28,000 or so have gone over Tumwater Dam, he adds, and the final count could end up around 29,000.

SCOTT FLETCHER OF WENATCHEE'S BEEN HITTING THE LAKE HARD, NAILING THIS LIMIT OF 3.12- AND 3.7-POUND SOCKEYE AUG. 3. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

The reopener will come after almost all state employees are required to take a furlough day this Friday. And afterwards, Viola says he won’t be able to monitor the catch as thoroughly as he’d like due to budget issues, but still feels creel samplers will still get pretty good estimates of the harvest.

The limit remains two sockeye, 12 inches or longer, per angler per day.

Selective-gear rules and a night closure remain in effect, and WDFW reminds anglers they need a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license.  Legal angling hours are one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.  Bull trout, steelhead, chinook, and tagged sockeye must be released unharmed without removing the fish from the water.

Tagged sockeye will have one or more holes (round, approximately Ľ inch diameter) punched in the tail (caudal fin) of the fish.  These fish are part of a study and have been anesthetized; the FDA requires a 21 day ban on consumption of these fish.

WDFW will closely monitor the fishery, which will continue until the majority of the surplus fish are harvested.  Anglers should check for any rule changes on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

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