Fishing report 2/9

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter



Prospecting for spring chinook on the lower Columbia is under way, with 34 boats and 58 bank rods counted during an aerial survey on Saturday.

A St. Helens, Ore., angler landed a 14-pound spring chinook on Sunday trolling a plug-cut herring off Caterpillar Island. State biologists in a nearby boat observed the catch, plus a photo was posted to the angler's Facebook page.

There were a total of 39 sturgeon and one spring chinook caught in the three winter gillnet periods that ended on Tuesday in the lower Columbia.

In the Bonneville pool, fishing has been slow. The east wind has reached 30 miles per hour at times on several days according to measurements taken at Stevenson.

Through Sunday, the catch estimate is 831 legal sturgeon kept from the guideline of 2,000. Sturgeon retention in the pool is closed beginning Feb. 18. It is estimated there will be a balance of 900 sturgeon left to be used in a summer fishery, probably three two-day periods starting in mid-June.

Lots of birds and seals were observed around Cottonwood Island and Kalama on Saturday. The timing is about right for smelt, but fishing is no longer allowed since the 2010 listing of smelt as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

State samplers checked walleyes in all three mid-Columbia pools last weekend, so that fishery should ramp up soon.

Battle Ground Lake was stocked with 2,000 half-pound rainbow trout on Monday, while Klineline Pond got 1,000.

Angler checks and related information from the Washington (WDFW) and Oregon (ODFW) departments of Fish and Wildlife:

Lower Columbia — Longview to Portland, 37 boaters with no spring chinook; 81 boaters with one legal sturgeon kept and 33 sublegals released. (ODFW)

Columbia Gorge (downstream of Bonneville Dam), 13 bank rods with no sturgeon. (ODFW)

Mid-Columbia — Bonneville pool, 97 boaters with seven legal sturgeon kept and 171 sublegals released; 56 bank rods with four sublegal sturgeon released; two boaters with nine walleye kept. (WDFW)

The Dalles pool, 19 boaters with four sublegal sturgeon released; 41 bank rods with three sublegal sturgeon released; 23 bank rods with four hatchery steelhead kept andd two wild steelhead released; 11 boaters with eight hatchery steelhead kept and 12 wild steelhead released; 15 boaters with four walleye kept and one released. (WDFW)

John Day pool. 35 boaters with three legal sturgeon kept plus one oversize and three sublegals released; 17 bank rods with no sturgeon; six bank rods with no steelhead; 16 boaters with nine walleye. (WDFW)

Cowlitz — Thirteen bank rods with three steelhead kept and two released. Best success was near Blue Creek boat ramp. (WDFW)

Washougal — Fifty-three bank rods with three steelhead kept plus one hatchery and two wild steelhead released; 10 boaters with two steelhead kept and five released. (WDFW)