Fishing report 2/16

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter



Gillnet test fishing on Tuesday and Wednesday captured no spring chinook and 17 steelhead in 16 drifts.

The netting was done between Rice Island and the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum county line.

Test fishing will resume on Tuesday with a gillnet season potentially beginning on Feb. 23, depending on the results.

The testing is to determine the ratio of spring chinook to steelhead and the ratio between upper Columbia and lower Columbia chinook

Anglers continue to prospect in the lower Columbia for spring chinook. Oregon’s flight on Saturday counted 61 boats and 140 bank rods.

Sturgeon retention is closed beginning Saturday in the Bonneville pool, but retention opens Friday in the lower Willamette River in what promises to be a derby-like frenzy.

The lower Willamette is scheduled to be open for sturgeon retention a total of four days — Friday and Saturday then again Feb. 24-25.

There’s a harvest guideline of 1,768 to 2,022 legal sturgeon.

“Our goal is to open a four-day fishery,’’ said Steve Williams of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “However, we’ll be monitoring the fishery closely to make sure we stay within the harvest guideline.’’

Through Sunday, anglers in the Bonneville pool had taken 916 sturgeon, 46 percent of the guideline of 2,000 for the year. Sturgeon retention is expected to reopen in mid- to late June to catch the balance of the guideline.

State officials have sampled the first few kokanee of the year at Merwin Reservoir. The bite is far from fast yet and the water temperature is only 39 degrees.

Walleye fishing in the mid-Columbia is ramping up, with fish checked in each pool.

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

Lower Columbia — Longview to Portland, 58 boaters with no spring chinook or steelhead; 100 boaters with three legal sturgeon kept plus two legal and 56 sublegals released. (ODFW)

Davis Bar to Portland airport tower, five boaters with no sturgeon. (WDFW)

Camas-Washougal, two bank rods with no sturgeon; five boaters with three legal sturgeon kept and six sublegals released. (WDFW)

North Bonneville, two bank rods with no sturgeon. (WDFW)

Mid-Columbia — Bonneville pool, 81 boaters with nine legal sturgeon kept plus one legal, one oversize and 95 sublegals released; 85 bank rods with one legal sturgeon kept and eight sublegals released; five boaters with nine walleye kept and four released. (WDFW)

The Dalles pool, 18 boaters with 16 sublegal sturgeon released; 20 bank rods with three sublegal sturgeon released; four boaters with one walleye released; 22 boaters with nine hatchery steelhead kept plus two hatchery and 11 wild steelhead released; 20 bank rods with one hatchery steelhead kept and one wild steelhead released. (WDFW)

John Day pool, 38 boaters with two legal sturgeon kept and one oversize sturgeon released; 30 bank rods with no sturgeon; 12 boaters with six wild steelhead released; 14 bank rods with one wild steelhead released; 52 boaters with 10 walleye kept and one released. (WDFW)

Washougal — Fifty-two bank rods with two hatchery steelhead kept and four wild steelhead released; 23 boaters with five hatchery steelhead kept and eight wild fish released. Some of the wild fish have topped 12 pounds. (WDFW)