With the best return of upriver fall Columbia River chinook salmon in the past 75 years, Washington and Oregon fishery managers expanded sport-fishing options below Bonneville Dam on Friday.
Anglers can fish for chinook through the end of the year in all areas of the mainstem below the dam that are open to salmon fishing.
The area open to chinook retention was expanded by moving the lower boundary from Rocky Point 16 miles downstream to Buoy 10.
Anglers can catch and keep up to two adult chinook per day as part of their catch limit below the dam. Through Sept. 30, only hatchery chinook with a clipped adipose fin and healed scar may be retained downstream from the Lewis River.
Boat anglers from Buoy 10 to the U.S. Highway 395 bridge in Pasco can fish until the daily limit of salmon/steelhead for all anglers aboard is achieved.
Based on the latest forecast, 664,000 to 835,000 upriver bright adult chinook are expected to return this year, well above the record of 420,000 fish set in 1987.
Cowlitz: Anglers are catching a mix of fall chinook and coho plus some sea-run cutthroat trout. Boat anglers near the mouth are doing the best.
Lewis: Anglers are catching a mix of fall chinook, coho and steelhead, primarily around the salmon hatchery.
Nisqually: People are catching a few chinook and a good number of pinks.
Puyallup: Fishing is very good, especially for coho the past few days. People are reporting catching fish weighing 8-10 pounds. There also are lots of pinks still in the river. Not sure how the rain forecast for next week will impact the river, which already is chocolate brown.
Yakima: Trout anglers are having a good time of it, especially with dry flies. Try a No. 12 Royal stimulator. River flows were at 1,530 cubic feet per second Friday morning, very good for wading.
Black: The lake has been closed this week after being treated. It will reopen Sunday, but people are being told not to eat fish they catch from the lake.
Mineral: Fishing off the dock finally has picked up. People are using white Power Eggs with a worm. Boat anglers are having more success, especially at the north end. Most people are using worms with a marshmallow fished off the bottom.
Offut: Fishing has improved as the water temperatures cool. The action for trout, perch and bass is good to very good. Most people are using night crawlers or PowerBait.
Spanaway: People are catching their limits of rainbow trout fairly quickly by trolling a Wedding Ring tipped with a worm. Still-fishing in that area is producing limits. On the west side, people are catching brown trout trolling a Rapala about 20 feet down. Perch and rock bass are hitting worms fished under a bobber.
Ilwaco: Fishing has been good off the North Head Lighthouse, with the fish being found in 30 feet of water. Cut-plug herring fished close to the bottom has been effective.
South Sound: Fishing slowed Thursday, with just a handful of fish being brought back. Point Dalco and the slag pile have been the best spots. The pink action has slowed in Marine Area 13, but people are catching coho off Anderson Island and an occasional chinook throughout the area.
Westport: Fishing has been pretty good, with most people bringing back limits, mostly coho. They just have to work hard to find the fish right now.Contributors: State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Westport Charterboat Association, The Evening Hatch, salmonuniversity.com, Art Tachell at Point Defiance Boathouse, Mike Zittel at Zittel’s Marina, Doreen Douglas at Mineral Lake Resort, gamefishin.com, Bud Herlitzka at Spanaway Park Boathouse, Ron Adams at Verle’s Sports Center, Salmon Shores Resort, Becky Pogue at Offut Lake Resort Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640 jeff.mayor@ thenewstribune.com thenewstribune.com/outdoors