WDFG Rule Change Spring chinook possession limit, bank angling on the Columbia River above Bonneville Dam



Effective date: April 13 through June 15, 2015.

Species affected: Spring chinook, steelhead and shad.

Action #1: Allows only hand-casted lines to be used.

Area: Mainstem Columbia River on the Washington shore from Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) downstream to Bonneville Dam

Restrictions: Washington shore only: When the mainstem Columbia River from the Tower Island powerlines (located approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) downstream to Bonneville Dam is open to fishing from the Washington bank for hatchery spring chinook, only hand-casted lines may be used. It is unlawful to use a floating device to set lines for salmon and steelhead during this timeframe.

Reason for action: Based on recent coded-wire tag and genetic analysis, the majority of the fish caught have been destined to areas other than local tributaries.

Action #2: Increase allowed in salmonid possession limit upstream of The Dalles Dam.

Area: Mainstem Columbia River from The Dalles Dam upstream to the Washington/ Oregon state line.

Restrictions: When the mainstem Columbia River from the Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to the Washington/Oregon border is open for hatchery spring chinook retention in the area upstream of The Dalles Dam the possession limit will include an additional 2 daily limits of salmon in fresh form (up to four adult salmon). Anglers aboard a boat may still only possess one daily limit of salmon in fresh form.

Reason for action: Permanent possession limits allow two daily limits in fresh form, which allows for only 2 fish, given the 1-fish daily bag limit. In an effort to promote this fishery as a destination fishery, this rule will allow anglers to possess a reasonable amount of fish during their stay.

Information contact: (360) 696-6211. For latest information press *1010.


Columbia River fishing rules anticipate another strong return of spring chinook!

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Anticipating another strong return of spring chinook salmon, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today set the initial 2015 fishing season to run through April 10 on the lower Columbia River.

Under guidelines approved for this year’s season, anglers fishing below Bonneville Dam will be allowed to catch an estimated 11,500 spring chinook before an updated run forecast is available in early May.

Another 1,200 adult upriver chinook are reserved for anglers fishing upriver from Bonneville Dam to the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles above McNary Dam. Additional fish have also been reserved for the Snake River sport fishery.

Those catch guidelines are based on a projected run of 312,600 adult spring chinook to the Columbia River, just shy of last year’s banner return, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“The stage is set for another great fishery this year,” Roler said. “Not only is the run forecast well above average, but water conditions also appear to be favorable for the upcoming season.”

From March 1 through April 10, anglers fishing downriver from Bonneville Dam may retain one marked, hatchery-reared adult spring chinook as part of their daily catch limit. The sport fishery will close in that area on three Tuesdays – March 24, March 31, and April 7 – to accommodate potential commercial fisheries.

Spring chinook fishing is currently open on a daily basis from Buoy 10 near the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to the Interstate 5 Bridge.

Under the new rules, the fishery for boat and bank anglers will expand upriver to Beacon Rock on March 1, with bank fishing also allowed from Beacon Rock upriver to the fishing boundary just below Bonneville Dam.

Upstream of Bonneville Dam, the fishery will be open to boat and bank anglers on a daily basis from March 16 through May 6 between the Tower Island powerlines (six miles below The Dalles Dam) and the Washington/Oregon state line. Bank anglers can also fish from Bonneville Dam upriver to the Tower Island powerlines during that time.

Anglers fishing upstream of Bonneville Dam will also be limited to one marked, hatchery-reared adult spring chinook per day from March 16 through May 6. The fishing area above Bonneville Dam extends upriver to the Washington/Oregon state line.

Barbless hooks are required in both areas, and anglers must release any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin.

Roler noted that this year’s projected run includes 232,500 upriver spring chinook salmon bound for rivers and streams above Bonneville Dam – well above the 10-year average of 178,000 upriver fish.

Similar to past years, Washington and Oregon will manage the fishery with a 30 percent buffer on the upriver chinook forecast until more is known about the actual magnitude of the return and an in-season run update is available, he said.

“We’ll continue to take a conservative approach in managing the fishery,” Roler said. “If the fish return at or above expectations, we will look toward providing additional days of fishing on the river later in the spring.”

In addition to setting fishing seasons for spring chinook salmon, representatives for Washington and Oregon also approved fishing rules for this year’s eulachon smelt fishery. Regulations for both fisheries will be posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/rulechanges/ by January 29.

Grays River

grays river 1

Enters the Lower Columbia River west of Skamokawa.

Take Highway 4 west from Cathlamet or east from Naselle. To reach much of the middle portion of the river, take Loop Road south off the highway (midway between the town of Grays River, and the highway bridge over the river), or turn south on Highway 403 near Rosburg to reach the lower river.

Illwaco, the nearest town of any size, is about 20 miles to the southeast and offers all your amenities. About 30 miles to the west is Fort Canby State Park, which has tent and RV sites, restrooms with showers, and a small store.


Winter Steelhead, Sea-Run Cutthroat, Resident Cutthroat, Chinook, and Coho Salmon.

Fishing the Grays River:
Once a pretty well respected winter steelhead stream, the Gray’s has slipped a few notches over the years. Although stocked with 40,000 to 50,000 steelhead smolts a year, the steelhead catch bumps up and down every year from 150-400 fish a winter. That’s probably a ray of hope for the visiting angler. When the few steelhead that return from their ocean adventures usually occurs in the months of December and January. Fall salmon fishing is a whole lot worse and is only open in certain areas. There can be some excellent cutthroat fishing in the months of October and November. I would stick with fishing a nightcrawler behind a slip sinker with a minimum of a 48″ leader.


Spring chinook must be released on the Kalama River

Action: Kalama River anglers must release all spring chinook salmon.

Species affected: Chinook salmon

Effective dates: Feb. 17, 2014 until further notice.

Location: From boundary markers at the mouth to 1,000 feet above the fishway at the upper salmon hatchery (Kalama Falls).

Reason for action: The pre-season forecast is for a return of 500 adult spring chinook to the Kalama River in 2014. The closure is necessary to provide enough fish to meet the hatchery escapement goal of approximately 450 fish.

Other information: Kalama spring chinook returns will be closely monitored in-season.

The lower Kalama River remains open to fishing for hatchery steelhead.

Single-day Chinook Salmon record shattered at the Bonneville Dam (63,870)


The fall chinook counts are on a record setting pace in the Columbia River.

According to Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist, the single-day count of 63,870 adult fall chinook at Bonneville Dam on Monday smashed the previous record set just last Saturday of 48,710.

The record before that was 45,884 fish set on Sept. 11, 2003.

“As far as I can tell going back through the annual counts since 1938, the 63,870 adult chinook counted at Bonneville may be a record daily count for all salmon, not just fall chinook,” Hymer said.

Other large single-day counts this season are: 42,445 on Sunday (Sept. 6); 48,710 on Saturday (Sept. 7); 25,956 on Friday (Sept. 6); 20,216 on Thursday (Sept. 5).

The 475,000 adult fall chinook counted at Bonneville Dam to date is the third highest on record for the entire run (from August through December).

Only 610,000 in 2003 and 584,000 in 2004 are larger.

Best salmon fishing on Columbia River since 1988!

Passage of Fall Chinook at Bonneville Dam through September 4 totals 273,820 adults. Chinook passage for both bright and tule stocks have exceeded preseason passage expectations to date. Based on the 10-year average, passage is 50% complete by September 9.

Passage of upriver summer steelhead since July 1 totals 182,898 fish. Counts have been less than expected. On August 26, the U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) downgraded the Group A run size to 199,000 fish (68% of preseason). It is too early to update the Group B preseason forecast of 31,600 fish, but TAC noted counts of Group B fish are also tracking less than expected.

Buoy 10:

Catch estimates for the Buoy 10 recreational fishery include 15,500 Chinook kept (4,100 released) from 37,200 angler trips during Aug 1-22.

Estimated catch during the August 23-September 1 mark-selective fishery, is 6,800 Chinook kept (8,600 released) from 20,900 angler trips.

Total effort and catch thru Sept. 1 was 22,300 Chinook kept (12,700 released) from 58,100 angler trips.
Chinook catch was the highest on record since 1988 (30,700 fish).

Estimated coho harvest through September 1 totals 6,800 fish (including release mortalities) compared to the 13,100 fish available.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam:

Catch estimates for the lower Columbia River (LCR) recreational fishery include 12,600 Chinook kept (1,100 released) from 69,000 angler trips during Aug 1-31.

The fishery experienced record high catch in August (previous record 6,800 last year).

Lake Wenatchee now open for Sockeye Salmon!

A strong sockeye return to Lake Wenatchee will allow a sport fishery that will open Saturday, Aug. 3, one hour before official sunrise until further notice.

Daily limit will be two sockeye with a minimum size of 12 inches.

So far, more than 27,000 sockeye have passed Tumwater Dam on the Wenatchee River. About 30,000 are forecasted to return with about 7,000 available for sport anglers to catch above the spawning escapement goal of 23,000.

Other rules are: Selective gear rules (up to three single barbless hooks per line, no bait or scent allowed, knotless nets required) in effect; a night closure will be in effect; all sockeye with a floy (anchor) tag attached and/or one or more round ¼ inch in diameter holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin must be released; and bull trout, steelhead, and Chinook must be released without removing them from the water.

Anglers must have a fishing license, including a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement.


Washington State Fish and Wildlife Fishing Reports July 15th – 21st


Don Armeni ramp, West Seattle — July 19: 19 boats with 39 anglers caught three chinook and seven coho; July 20: 57 boats with 120 anglers caught nine chinook, 11 coho and 103 flounder; July 21: 50 boats with 120 anglers caught four chinook, 15 coho and two pinks.

Eddie Vine ramp, Shilshole Bay — July 16: 75 boats with 153 anglers caught 66 chinook, 22 coho, one pink and 25 flounder; July 17: 19 boats with 39 anglers caught 11 chinook; July 19: 93 boats with 180 anglers caught 24 chinook, 20 coho and 29 flounder; July 20: 115 boats with 244 anglers caught 30 chinook, 28 coho, four pinks and 80 flounder; July 21: 107 boats with 215 anglers caught 24 chinook, 29 coho, five pinks, one sockeye and 68 flounder.

Everett ramp — July 16: 94 boats with 212 anglers caught 96 chinook, 11 coho, three pinks and nine flounder; July 17: 25 boats with 61 angles caught 19 chinook and one coho; July 19: 98 boats with 217 anglers caught 54 chinook, 10 coho and 53 flounder; July 20: 211 boats with 498 anglers caught 60 chinook, 25 coho, three pinks and 126 flounder; July 21: 175 boats with 390 anglers caught 39 chinook, 10 coho, 10 pinks and 155 flounder.

Manchester ramp — July 17: Nine boats with 19 anglers caught one chinook and two coho; July 19: 20 boats with 36 anglers caught two coho and 16 herring.

Kingston ramp — July 16: 33 boats with 75 anglers caught 12 chinook, three coho and 17 flounder; July 21: 59 boats with 134 anglers caught eight chinook, 15 coho, one pink and four flounder.

Port Orchard ramp — July 15: Five boats with 10 anglers caught no fish; July 16: Three boats with three anglers caught no fish; July 18: Four boats with eight anglers caught one coho; July 21: Two boats with three anglers caught no fish.

Glenn Street ramp, Bellingham — July 20: 25 boats with 60 anglers caught nine chinook, one coho and 37 pinks.

Blaine ramp — July 19: Three boats with six anglers caught no fish; July 20: Two boats with seven anglers caught one kelp greenling and three lingcod; July 21: Three boats with six anglers caught eight pinks and two lingcod.

Swinomish Channel ramp — July 20: Eight boats with 21 anglers caught two chinook and five pinks; July 21: Six boats with 14 anglers caught two chinook and one pink.

Cornet Bay ramp, North Whidbey Island — July 15: Six boats with 14 anglers caught 12 pinks; July 19: Three boats with five anglers caught two pinks; July 20: 11 boats with 28 anglers caught one chinook and 18 pinks; July 21: Four boats with nine anglers caught no fish.

Washington Park ramp, Anacortes — July 15: 24 boats with 43 anglers caught 13 chinook and four pinks; July 19: Eight boats with 22 anglers caught six pinks; July 20: 20 boats with 59 anglers caught 11 chinook, one coho and 38 pinks; July 21: 13 boats with 38 anglers caught 21 pinks.

Olson’s Resort, Sekiu — July 16: 45 boats with 110 anglers caught 37 chinook, 53 coho, 19 pinks and three rockfish; July 17: 22 boats with 50 anglers caught 19 chinook, 14 coho, four pinks, 11 rockfish and one kelp greenling; July 18: 37 boats with 85 anglers caught 70 chinook, 18 coho, seven pinks and one rockfish; July 19: Five boats with 14 anglers caught 13 chinook, three coho, two pinks and two rockfish; July 20: 86 boats with 206 anglers caught 130 chinook, 10 coho and 61 pinks; July 21: 62 boats with 168 anglers caught 44 chinook, 10 coho, 13 pinks and one rockfish.

Van Riper’s Resort, Sekiu — July 16: 20 boats with 39 anglers caught 10 chinook, nine coho, four pinks, one rockfish, two lingcod and two kelp greenling; July 18: 37 boats with 85 anglers caught 70 chinook, 18 coho, seven pinks and one rockfish; July 19: 50 boats with 123 anglers caught 46 chinook, 13 coho, 33 pinks and one rockfish; July 20: 51 boats with 141 anglers caught 70 chinook, five coho, 16 pinks and three rockfish.

Curley’s Straitside Resort, Sekiu — July 18: 13 boats with 39 anglers caught 11 chinook, seven coho and three pinks; July 20: 13 boats with 33 anglers caught five chinook, four coho and 15 pinks.

Freshwater Bay ramp — July 19: 18 boats with 31 anglers caught 27 chinook, four coho and 10 pinks; July 21: 22 boats with 41 anglers caught 28 chinook, six coho and 15 pinks.

Ediz Hook ramp, Port Angeles — July 17: 36 boats with 71 anglers 34 chinook and nine pinks; July 18: 41 boats with 81 anglers caught 37 chinook, one coho and 13 pinks; July 19: Four boats with 10 anglers caught no fish; July 20: 44 boats with 91 anglers caught 26 chinook, two coho and two pinks; July 21: 59 boats with 139 anglers caught 51 chinook, one coho and 10 pinks.

Fort Worden State Park ramp north of Port Townsend — July 21: 31 boats with 68 anglers caught 42 chinook.

Port Townsend Boat Haven Marina — July 16: 79 boats with 169 anglers caught 194 chinook and one pink; July 17: 67 boats with 149 anglers caught 70 chinook and one coho; July 19: 63 boats with 130 anglers caught 55 chinook, three coho and one pink; July 20: 67 boats with 154 anglers caught 37 chinook, two coho and three pinks; July 21: 43 boats with 98 anglers caught 24 chinook and one pink.

Hoodsport shoreline, Hood Canal — July 15: 10 anglers caught one pink; July 20: 20 anglers caught four pinks; July 21: Nine anglers caught one chinook and five pinks.

Salsbury County Park ramp, Hood Canal — July 18: Two boats with three anglers caught one chinook.

Skokomish ramp, Hood Canal — July 20: Eight boats with 22 anglers caught two chinook; July 21: Nine boats with 17 anglers caught four chinook.

Redondo Beach ramp — July 16: 13 boats with 23 anglers caught three chinook, one pink and 16 flounder; July 19: 44 boats with 94 anglers caught one chinook, two coho and 165 flounder.

Narrows Marina and ramp — July 15: Five boats with 10 anglers caught no fish; July 18: Five boats with eight anglers caught one chinook; July 21: 11 boats with 25 anglers caught one chinook and six flounder.

Gig Harbor ramp — July 21:
Five boats with seven anglers caught no fish.

Dash Point Park Pier — July 16: Two anglers caught one pink.

Point Defiance Park ramp and Boathouse, Tacoma — July 15: 48 boats with 73 anglers caught seven chinook, one coho and 41 flounder; July 16: 36 boats with 72 anglers caught one chinook and 22 flounder; July 17: 22 boats with 36 anglers caught three chinook and 24 flounder; July 19: 53 boats with 114 anglers caught nine chinook, two pinks and 17 flounder; July 21: 103 boats with 223 anglers caught 12 chinook, one coho, one pink and 162 flounder.

Solo Point ramp south of Tacoma — July 19: Three boats with six anglers caught no fish.

Luhr Beach ramp — July 16: One boat with two anglers caught no fish; July 21: Five boats with eight anglers caught no fish.

Zittel’s Marina — July 15: Five boats with 12 anglers caught no fish; July 19: Four boats with nine anglers caught no fish.

Wollochett Bay ramp — July 20: Two boats with three anglers caught one coho.

Boston Harbor Marina — July 21: Five boats with 11 anglers caught no fish.

Columbia River below Bonneville Dam — July 15-21: 1,445 bank anglers caught four sockeye and 150 steelhead, and released seven chinook, and 285 sockeye; 237 boats with 536 anglers caught 113 steelhead, and released one chinook and 178 steelhead; five boats with 10 anglers released 13 sturgeon; one bank angler caught no shad; 12 boats with 20 anglers caught eight walleye.

Columbia River in The Dalles Pool — July 15-21: Three bank anglers released 20 sturgeon; five boats with nine anglers released 53 sturgeon; 14 bank anglers released one wild steelhead; two boats with four anglers caught two walleye and released four; two boats with four anglers released 50 bass.

Cowlitz River— July 15-21: 20 bank anglers caught 19 mini jack chinook and one cutthroat trout; 74 boat anglers caught 43 steelhead and released one cutthroat trout.

Lewis River mainstem — July 15-21: Nine boat anglers released one steelhead.

Lewis River North Fork — July 15-21: 11 bank anglers caught no fish.

Drano Lake — July 15-21: Two bank anglers caught no fish; 15 boat anglers caught one steelhead and released eight.