Columbia River sockeye returns breaks sets record

With water temperatures hitting 70 degrees in many lakes, anglers need to be careful to quickly release any trout they plan to release. Temperatures that high quickly stress fish struggling to get away. Do your best to fish early or late in the day when the water is cooler.


Columbia: The sockeye salmon return has set a record, with 551,530 sockeye counted at Bonneville Dam as of Thursday. The old record was 521,000 sockeye in 2012. This year’s run forecast is now 560,000 fish. Anglers fishing the lower river can keep summer chinook and sockeye through the end of July. Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon Thursday extended the season for hatchery-reared summer chinook salmon after upgrading the run size to 74,000 fish, up from 67,500. The summer chinook fishery had closed Monday. Boat anglers in the Kalama area are doing well in the catch-and-release only sturgeon fishery.

Cowlitz: People are catching some summer-run steelhead, but the fish are spread throughout the river. The most success has come using divers and bait.

Green: People are catching a few steelhead near Kanaskat-Palmer State Park. Try drifting a pink jig under a bobber through the deeper runs.

Skykomish: People are catching some hatchery steelhead, with the best action taking place downstream of the Lewis Street access site in Monroe. People are having success free drifting.

Wynoochee: The action has been slow. Fish the deep holes for steelhead because the river is low and clear. Small spinners or nightmare pattern or red jigs under a bobber have produced some fish.

Yakima: River flows have been slowing climbing in the last week or so, and are now close to 4,500 cubic feet per second. The summer stonefly hatch is under way, meaning anglers are casting large dry flies close to the bank.

Salt water

Hood Canal: Crabbing has been slowed in the canal, with lots of undersize crab.

Ilwaco: State sampling last week showed anglers averaged 1.52 salmon per rod, the highest catch rate for the area so far this summer. Of the catch, 81percent were coho.

South Sound: There have been good reports from salmon anglers fishing in the Dolphin Point area and down to Beal Point. The Silver Horde Tail Wagger spoon and new Point Wilson herring seem to be working. Another angler fishing off the clay banks caught a 25-pound chinook. The crab fishing has been better than expected. The best action seems to come for those soaking their pots in water out to 200 feet deep. That means weight in the pots and extra flotation.

Westport: Last week’s average catch fell to 1.38 salmon per person, but reports from this week indicate the fishing remains very good. Some charter boats are returning to port by 10 a.m. Most boats have been heading out about nine miles and north of the jetty. The catch has been mostly coho as of late.


Potholes: The largemouth bass action has been very good, with a few anglers catching and releasing 30-50 fish a day. Try floating stick baits, poppers or buzz baits. eople have been catching large rainbow trout trolling along the face of O’Sullivan Dam with Needlefish, Rapala Shad Raps or Baby Hot Lips. Some of the trout are weighing around 7 pounds. The best walleye action has been on the northeast side of Goose Island in 20-35 feet of water.

Silver: Anglers are catching rainbow trout, crappie and largemouth bass. Most people are using Power Eggs fished off the bottom. The evening fishing is good with lots of fish on the surface.

Spencer: Trolling has been effective these days. People are using a variety of gear, including Wedding Rings, small spoons, Roostertails and Smile Blade Flies.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640