Home Life

Let’s go fishing now… Everybody’s learning how — humans and wildlife alike

Action moves into the river as ocean season ends

Observer staff report

Published on August 17, 2018 3:08PM

A couple fishing from the rocks at Beards Hollow showed off one of their surf perch.

NELLIE HUX

A couple fishing from the rocks at Beards Hollow showed off one of their surf perch.

Fish doesn’t any fresher as a local brown pelican prepares to let one slide down the hatch.

JANE WINCKLER WEBB

Fish doesn’t any fresher as a local brown pelican prepares to let one slide down the hatch.

The rich near-shore waters of the south Long Beach Peninsula attract many marine mammals.

JANE WINCKLER WEBB

The rich near-shore waters of the south Long Beach Peninsula attract many marine mammals.

Great blue herons fish in their way and humans in another as late-summer fisheries gather strength near Ilwaco.

JANE WINNCKLER WEBB

Great blue herons fish in their way and humans in another as late-summer fisheries gather strength near Ilwaco.

Birds of all kinds, including this gull, are drawn to the shoreline in search of small foraging fish.

JANE WINCKLER WEBB

Birds of all kinds, including this gull, are drawn to the shoreline in search of small foraging fish.

With the closure of ocean salmon fishing, hundreds of recreational vessels are crowding into the more-confined waters of the Columbia estuary.

NELLIE HUX

With the closure of ocean salmon fishing, hundreds of recreational vessels are crowding into the more-confined waters of the Columbia estuary.


ILWACO — Fishing of every kind is in full swing in the waters around the Long Beach Peninsula.

In an area as biologically rich as ours, it’s only natural that people and wildlife alike explore every way to find delicious meals made up of dozens of species of fish. Spend any time staking out Peninsula shorelines — as photographers Jane Winckler Webb and Nellie Hux do — and it’s inevitable that interesting life-and-death struggles will happen before your eyes. On the other hand, when humans are in the photo, they’re likely to be having fun.

Salmon fishing is, of course, the marquee fishery in local waters. Even in a year when returning adult salmon are in relatively short supply, the chance to catch Chinook and coho is a huge draw for fishermen from throughout the region. With the conclusion of the summer salmon season in the ocean on Aug. 12, a fleet of hundreds of small recreational craft now clusters in a few places inside the Columbia’s vast estuary — most commonly crowded against the Buoy 10 line near the river’s mouth or in the river’s north channel near the Washington end of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

The summer season in the ocean ended on a high note, with 6,425 coho and 641 Chinook caught between Aug. 6 and 12 in Marine Area 1 just outside the river’s mouth. More than 7,100 anglers participated, by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s calculations that count each day a person goes out fishing as a separate angler. Through Aug, 12, a cumulative total of 2,237 Chinook (28 percent of the area guideline) and 20,351 coho (85 percent of the revised area sub-quota) had been landed out of Ilwaco, Chinook and other Lower Columbia marinas.

The late-building success for fishermen in the ocean sharply contrasted with creel-sampling results inside the river, with WDFW seeing only 59 coho and 349 Chinook kept between Aug. 1 and 12.

The comparatively slowness of salmon to re-enter the river has been reflected in counts at Bonneville Dam. Through Aug. 16, just 5,174 adult fall Chinook made their way past the dam, the first major obstruction on the river. In comparison, 6,099 Chinook had passed the dam by the same date in 2017. The 10-year average for the date is 12,878.

Not many coho tend to make their way inland at this point in the summer, with a 10-year average of only 275 counted at Bonneville by Aug. 16. This year, the count was 122 on that date, compared to only eight in 2017.











Marketplace

Share and Discuss

Guidelines

User Comments