The water temperature on the Lower Columbia River at Bonneville Dam was nearly 71 degrees on Monday.
There are many summer fishing options happening all across the state, and some are producing stellar action.
Chinook and sockeye returns to the Columbia River are very strong, and fishing has been fairly good although extremely warm water temperatures are worrisome.
“The chinook and sockeye returns are the second largest on record, and success has been bouncing up and down,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “Steelhead catches are also starting to improve.”
Starting Friday through July 31, anglers from the Megler-Astoria Bridge up to the Washington-Oregon line anglers can keep one chinook (wild or hatchery) with a two-fish daily limit.
Most Read Life Stories
The adult summer chinook passage at Bonneville Dam from June 16 through Monday was 53,197 fish, and is the second largest (record is 70,920 adults in 1957). Fishery managers updated the return to 85,000 adult chinook compared to the preseason forecast of 73,000 and record run of 89,500 in 2002.
The extremely warm weather could also play into how successful anglers are as the water temperature on the Lower Columbia River at Bonneville Dam was nearly 71 degrees on Monday (also 78 degrees in Willamette). That’s the hottest temperature to date since at least 1950, and the recent 10-year average on June 28 is 63 degrees.
“The fish have gone deep from the warm water, and guys fishing in 30 to 50 feet of water using wobblers are doing well,” Hymer said. “Catches have been better at the mouth of the Lewis and Cowlitz, where the water is cooler.”
The best bank spot to catch sockeye and steelhead are the sandbars along Vancouver.
The sockeye count at Bonneville Dam through Tuesday was 357,363, and is the second largest to date (the record is 364,849 fish in 2012). Fishery managers upgraded the return to 450,000 (preseason was 394,000) and this could be the third-largest run to the Columbia mouth since at least 1938. The record was set last year with 645,140.
The marine salmon fisheries off the coast remain the best bet; and the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Sekiu and Port Angeles, and northern and central Puget Sound opened for salmon fishing.
“We are still seeing quite a few fish caught all along the coast,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
At Ilwaco and Westport there is a nice mix of hatchery coho and some kings, with most anglers getting their two-salmon daily limit. The catch is mostly chinook at La Push and Neah Bay. A good shot of early pink salmon were also appearing in catches between Westport and Neah Bay.
“I’ve seen a few hatchery kings in the 18- to 20-pound range and we’ve got a lot of pinks milling around. and that bodes well for them and will only get better this month,” said Gary Ryan, manager of Van Riper’s Resort in Sekiu.
Central and northern Puget Sound opened Wednesday for coho and pinks (release chinook and chum) with fairly decent success.
|Marine areas||Good crabbing in Hood Canal north of Seabeck, and a few places in southern Puget Sound, plus many other areas of Puget Sound open Thursday. For more specifics on what should be a banner crab summer fishery, go to http://www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/record-year-possible-for-dungeness-crab-enthusiasts/. Fair to good in the Tulalip terminal salmon fishery for kings jigging Point Wilson Darts off the green buoy (fishing is open Fridays to noon on Mondays only). Slow to fair for chinook in south-central Puget Sound around Tacoma, Point Robinson, south of Southworth Ferry Landing, Brace Point, Dolphin Point and Colvos Passage areas. Excellent off Neah Bay, La Push, Westport and Ilwaco for lingcod and black rockfish. Slow to fair for chinook in the San Juan Islands.|
|Biting: YesRating: ★★★|
The Skagit sockeye fishery from the Highway 536 at Mt. Vernon (Memorial Highway Bridge) to the Gilligan Creek mouth is slow due to poor water visibility, but plenty of fish are still moving upstream. Slow for hatchery chinook in Skagit from Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport to Cascade River Road. Slow in Cowlitz, but should pick up at the mouth of Cowlitz and Lewis very soon for steelhead and chinook. Bonneville Pool on Columbia is open Friday to Sunday for sturgeon catch-and-keep fishing, and has been very productive. The Dalles Pool of Columbia has been fair for chinook. Sockeye action is building in Wanapum Pool of the Columbia. Good for walleye in Camas/Washougal area and The Dalles Pool of Columbia, and for bass in Bonneville Pool. Shad catches were poor with less than a fish per rod below Bonneville in Lower Columbia despite thousands of fish passing the fish counter each day this week.
|Biting: YesRating: ★★|
|Statewide lakes||Good in Stevens for kokanee, 12 to 16 inches, and most fish are deep in the 30- to 50-foot range. Also good in Cavanaugh for kokanee, 11 to 14 inches. Good perch bite in Lake Washington, but slow to fair for cutthroat along both floating bridges. Mineral in Lewis County was planted June 24 with 6,250 brown trout, and Sacajawea in Cowlitz County was planted with 2,000. Fair for trout at Green, Desire, Blackmans, Gissburg, Geneva, Pine, Cottage, Rattlesnake, Duck, Meridian, Wilderness, Aberdeen, Flowing, Roesiger, Sixteen, Lone and Spanaway. East of the Cascades, head to Roosevelt, West Medical, Sprague and Conconully. Good in Lake Chelan for lake trout and some kokanee.|
|Biting: YesRating: ★★★★|