It’s still a steelhead fishery in the lower Columbia River so far, other than at Buoy 10.
While the salmon catch in the estuary is off to a good start, there aren’t a ton of fall chinook to catch yet upstream of Tongue Point, based on the Bonneville Dam counts, sport sampling and the commercial catch.
At Buoy 10, Oregon checked 754 anglers on the weekend with 311 chinook and 12 coho kept plus 74 chinook and 17 coho released.
Washington’s sample for the first three days at Buoy 10 was 351 rods with 77 chinook and 48 coho.
The chinook count at Bonneville has been in the 200-fish range the past few days. Washington sampled 1,001 lower Columbia anglers during the first three days of August with two adult fall chinook, a sockeye and 310 steelhead.
The commercials also had a slow opener on Sunday between Woodland and Beacon Rock.
The mark rate on steelhead was only 49 percent. The best steelhead fishing is from Longview downstream, although Drano Lake anglers averaged about 1.3 steelhead per rod, but 75 percent were wild and had to be released.
Almost 50 boats were counted outside Drano Lake on Sunday and there are reports of good success off the mouth of the White Salmon River.
Angler checks from the Washington (WDFW) and Oregon (ODFW) departments of Fish and Wildlife:
Lower Columbia — Estuary, 10 boaters with 11 steelhead kept and seven released; four bank rods with one steelhead kept. (WDFW)
Westport, Ore., to Portland, 79 boaters with two adult fall chinook and 16 steelhead kept plus seven steelhead released; 16 Oregon bank rods with one steelhead released. (ODFW)
Cathlamet, 30 boaters with 18 steelhead kept and 11 released; 56 bank rods with 13 steelhead kept and 11 released. (WDFW)
Longview, 76 boaters with 10 steelhead kept and 12 released; 281 bank rods with 33 steelhead kept and 16 released. (WDFW)
Cowlitz River mouth, 21 boaters with three steelhead kept and six released. (WDFW)
Kalama, 49 boaters with 13 steelhead kept and 24 released; 92 bank rods with one fall chinook and five steelhead kept plus six steelhead released. (WDFW)
Woodland, 18 boaters with no catch; 173 bank rods with 18 steelhead kept and 31 released; five boaters with seven walleye kept. (WDFW)
Warrior Rock to Kelley Point, 22 boaters with five steelhead caught and one released; 28 bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Davis Bar to Portland airport tower, 31 bank rods with two steelhead kept and two released. (WDFW)
Troutdale, 81 boaters with one adult chinook kept plus one adult chinook and seven steelhead released. (ODFW)
Camas-Washougal, seven boaters with one steelhead released; three boaters with four walleye kept. (WDFW)
North Bonneville, 103 bank rods with one adult fall chinook and 19 steelhead kept plus 31 steelhead released. (WDFW)
Columbia Gorge (downstream of Bonneville Dam), 40 boaters with one adult fall chinook and five steelhead kept plus one jack chinook and nine steelhead released; 80 Oregon bank rods with one adult fall chinook and four steelhead kept plus 10 steelhead released. (ODFW)
Mid-Columbia — Bonneville pool, eight boaters with two steelhead kept and two released. (WDFW)
Cowlitz — Forty-seven boaters with 37 steelhead kept; 51 bank rods with two adult chinook and eight steelhead kept plus four adult and five jack chinook released. (WDFW)
Drano Lake — Seventy boaters with one adult fall chinook and 23 steelhead kept plus 69 steelhead released. (WDFW)