Thursday, October 30, 2014

Columbia River 2014 Salmon Wrap Up

What an amazing Summer it was on the Columbia River.  Many of us are often nostalgic for a history we have never seen or experienced.  A time and place where loading friends and family into a small fishing boat and heading out on the Ocean, Lake or River produced more fish than you really knew what to do with at the end of the day.  From the record Spring Chinook and Sockeye Salmon on the east side of the cascades to the most amazing Buoy 10 Salmon season we've ever seen.

Sockeye Salmon July 2014 Near Wanapum Dam

We don't always fish for Sockeye Salmon but when they won't get off our line while we're fishing for upriver Spring Chinook. . you take what you can get I guess.  For those who were brave enough to drive alternate routes around the Pateros wildfires found easy 6 fish limits of bright Columbia River Sockeye.  As Eastern Washington is a popular vacation area for many of us Coastal Inhabitants - the opportunity to add a half day salmon fishing trip to your daily list of activities made for a lot of happy campers.

There was a lot of hype for both the Spring and Summer/Fall Run of Chinook for the Columbia River in 2014.  Most of the numbers for fish reaching barriers are in - check out the Columbia River Fish Counts for yourself.  Wow - 1.15 Million Chinook over Bonneville Dam with hundred of Chinook still crossing daily at the end of October and thousands of Coho crossing.  We helped clients catch a fair number of Spring Chinook on the Columbia near Portland in late March and early April.

Spring Chinook near Portland March 2014
"Springer Fever" is what fisherman get late winter in lieu of Cabin Fever.  We start ordering fishing leaders, flashers and herring in anticipation of the first King Salmon of the year.  They start trickling into the Columbia River in February when the first catch reports start spreading.  Then by the end of March there are significant numbers available to catch from about Tongue Point upriver to around Camas.  The Spring Chinook fishery is enjoyable as there is good action and most of the fishing is done while trolling.  You also get the added bonus of Mount Hood being the backdrop for your trip.  

Be sure to subscribe to our blog to get pre-season updates for the Portland/Vancouver Spring Chinook Fishery.  You can book a full boat for Spring Chinook now and buy the boat for only $999 which pencils out to only $166.50/person.  You can book a Spring Chinook Charter Online Here.

The 2014 Buoy 10 Season was also amazing.  The forecast was for 1.6 million Chinook and 980,000 Coho.  It looks like the Chinook forecast will run a little short as we are still just shy of 1 million Chinook including jacks for 2014 so far.  The Coho totals may also appear to be coming in significantly lower than the 980,000 predicted.  We did not feel any significant shortages during the August/September Buoy 10 Season.  We crushed the Kings in August and the fishing for Coho in September was really the best we've ever seen.  If only this season lasted year round the world would be a better place.  At least our world would be.  The catch reports from fish and wildlife below are much lower than what we were seeing:

Aug. 1: 43 boats with 107 anglers caught 13 chinook and 15 hatchery coho.Aug. 2: 46 boats with 118 anglers caught 31 chinook and 25 hatchery coho. Aerial flight survey showed 225 boats on the water at Buoy-10.

Aug. 3: 46 boats with 126 anglers caught 33 chinook and eight hatchery coho.

Aug. 4: 53 boats with 138 anglers caught 31 chinook and five hatchery coho
; one charter boat with five anglers caught no fish.

Aug. 5: No sampling conducted.

Aug. 6: 30 boats with 75 anglers caught 22 chinook.

Aug. 7: 48 boats with 119 anglers caught 20 chinook and 16 hatchery coho.

Aug. 8: Five boats with 11 anglers caught two chinook and eight hatchery coho.

Aug, 9: 90 boats with 254 anglers caught 33 chinook and 90 hatchery coho.

Aug. 10: 97 boats with 283 anglers caught 26 chinook and 173 hatchery coho.

Aug. 11: 87 boats with 216 anglers caught 34 chinook and 115 hatchery coho.

Aug. 12: 45 boats with 112 anglers caught 10 chinook and 19 hatchery coho.

Aug. 13: No sampling conducted.

Aug. 14: 98 boats with 259 anglers caught 52 chinook and nine hatchery coho.

Aug. 15: 85 boats with 252 anglers caught 79 chinook and 30 hatchery coho.

Aug. 16: 120 boats with 370 anglers caught 139 chinook and 59 hatchery coho.

Aug. 17: 136 boats with 371 anglers caught 99 chinook and 62 hatchery coho; 
two charter boats with 22 anglers caught no fish.

Aug. 18: No sampling conducted.

Aug. 19: 112 boats with 355 anglers caught 122 chinook and 68 hatchery coho.

Aug. 20: 59 boats with 156 anglers caught 45 chinook and 35 hatchery coho.

Aug. 21: 43 boats with 111 anglers caught 16 chinook and 16 hatchery coho.

Aug. 22: 44 boats with 131 anglers caught 41 chinook and 53 hatchery coho.

Aug. 23: 134 boats with 361 anglers caught 85 chinook and 120 hatchery coho.

Aug. 24: 87 boats with 235 anglers caught 71 chinook and 105 hatchery coho.

Aug. 25: 43 boats with 126 anglers caught nine chinook and 52 hatchery coho.

I am not sure what was happening on those charter boats that showed up to the dock with no fish but we were close to or at limits every day from August 2nd through mid-September when we had to go home to the Grays Harbor Area Rivers.

Coho Limits in September
If you're looking for a small group charter for August or September 2015 we promise you'll have a great time and will catch as many or more fish than most other boats.  You can book an August 2014 Buoy 10 Fishing Charter Here.  We will be moored at the West Mooring Basin in Astoria and will fish between the Astoria Megler Bridge and Buoy 10 - all within the Columbia River Estuary.  

Lots of Big Kings Caught in August 2014 at Buoy 10