Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon on Wednesday set 2013 fishing seasons for the lower Columbia River that anticipate a smaller return of spring chinook salmon. Most new fishing rules adopted at the meeting take effect March 1.
After three years of strong returns, fishery managers based harvest guidelines for this year’s spring chinook season on a projected run of 141,400 upriver fish, about 25 percent below the 10-year average. Approximately 203,000 fish destined for areas above Bonneville Dam returned to the Columbia last year.
This year’s initial catch guideline for the recreational spring chinook fishery will allow anglers fishing below the dam to catch up to 5,000 hatchery-reared upriver chinook before the run forecast is updated in May.
The spring chinook fishery is scheduled to run through April 5, but could be extended if enough fish are still available under the harvest guideline.
Beaches: The next razor clam dig will run Thursday-Feb. 12 at Twin Harbors. Long Beach will be open for digging Friday-Feb. 10; Copalis and Mocrocks will be open Friday-Feb. 9. No digging will be allowed at any beach before noon. The evening low tide times are: Thursday, 4:22 p.m., -0.5 feet; Friday 5:11 p.m., -0.9 feet; Feb. 9, 5:56 p.m., -1.0 feet; Feb. 10, 6:37 p.m., -0.9 feet; Feb. 11, 7:17 p.m., -0.5 feet; and Feb. 12, 7:54 p.m., 0 feet.
Fly fishing: Fishing for resident coho has been off and on in the Tacoma Narrows. Searun cutthroat fishing has been good in some spots in marine areas 11 and 13. This also is a good time to try to hook a blackmouth from the beach at night.
North Sound: The San Juans remain the hot spot. Troll at 2 mph with just about any Silver Horde lures about four feet behind a flasher right on the bottom. Some of the keepers are running more than 15 pounds. Should make for an interesting Roche Harbor Salmon Classic that opens Friday.
South Sound: Marine Area 11 reopened to fishing Friday. There is plenty of bait around, so people should be able to find some blackmouth.
American: The rainbow trout action remains fair to good. People are reporting consistent catches of fish measuring 12-14 inches. Yellow Power Eggs or Power Bait fished off the bottom remains the popular bait choice.
Chelan: Anglers are catching lake trout in the deep water above the Yacht Club and in the indeterminate flat below Wapato Point. Silver Horde’s Kingfisher Lite spoons in orange splatterback glow, Mack’s Lures Cha Cha Squidders and Silver Horde’s Ace Hi Flies baited with a piece of northern pikeminnow all have been effective. Troll at speeds of 1.2-1.7 mph with you gear within 5 feet of the bottom.
Roses: Ice anglers are using a variety of baits to catch some chunky rainbows. Pautzke’s Firebait in American wildfire is a favorite. Try using a bare 1/16th ounce jig with these floating baits to keep them down. Vary your depth in the water column until you locate the fish.
Chehalis: The steelhead fishing has been fair to good in the stretch between the mouth of the Satsop River and Centralia.
Olympic Coast: River conditions are good, and even with more rain in the forecast, the steelhead fishing should be fair to good this weekend.
Skookumchuck: The steelhead fishing remains very slow.
Wenatchee: The river is tentatively scheduled to reopen for a fairly short steelhead fishery on Friday. The river has not been open since November and there are fresh fish moving into the system now.
Yakima: The river should be in good shape this weekend, having come down and cleared up. Look to get your stonefly nymphs, San Juan worms or streamers on the inside of corners and in slower pools of water.Contributors: Blake Merwin at Gig Harbor Fly Shop, Red’s Fly Shop, washingtonlakes.com, salmonuniversity.com, The Evening Hatch, Anton Jones of Darrell and Dad’s Family Guide Service, Art Tachell at Point Defiance Boathouse, state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure