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South Central Washington Sponsored by
Date 02-Aug-18
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Conditions : South Central Washington: Walleye: Walleye fishing is going strong on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Some of the best catches have come from Lake Umatilla, the section of the Columbia River stretching 67 miles between John Day and McNary Dams. Angling upstream of McNary for the toothy warmwater fish has also been good.

Walleye are active during August on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia, as well as on the lower Snake River below Little Goose and Ice Harbor dams. Anglers are using “crawler harnesses” behind a bottom walker and blade baits to catch them, but jigs and deep diving plugs can be effective as well.

“Walleye really tie on the feedbag when the water heats up, so we can expect to see some great fishing in the weeks ahead,” said Paul Hoffarth, WDFW biologist.

Hoffarth reminds anglers that there is no minimum size and no limit on the number of walleye, bass or channel catfish they can keep while fishing in the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Salmon: On Aug. 1, salmon sport fisheries in the Columbia River begin the transition from summer to fall. The forecast for fall chinook to the Columbia River this year is 365,600 adults, which includes 200,100 upriver brights destined primarily for the Hanford Reach and Snake River. The downturn in the numbers of returning fall chinook has resulted in decreased daily harvest limits and shortened seasons in many areas of the Columbia River.

From the Highway 395 bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam the fall fishery for chinook and coho opens Aug. 16. The daily limit will be six salmon -- no more than two adults. Anglers will be able to harvest both hatchery and wild fall chinook and coho. Until Aug. 16, emergency regulations are in effect for summer chinook and sockeye in these areas.

Steelhead: The lower and mid-Columbia River upstream to Hwy. 395 and the Snake River is open to fishing for hatchery steelhead. The return is expected to be much better than last year. Steelhead fishing will likely be very slow until water temperatures begin to cool in late September. The lower area of the Hanford Reach (Hwy. 395 to the old Hanford townsite) will open Oct. 1.

High lakes trout fishing: The high lakes around White Pass, Chinook Pass and Snoqualmie Pass are now accessible to trout fishing. WDFW stocks many small, hike-in lakes with rainbow or cutthroat trout fry, and some also have naturally reproducing eastern brook trout populations.

Kokanee: Kokanee are plentiful at Kachess and Keechelus lakes off Hwy. 90, as well as Rimrock Reservoir near White Pass.

Warmwater opportunities: Marc Divens, WDFW fish biologist, says August is also a great time to pursue warmwater species like largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill and crappie in lowland lakes. Try topwater lures in early morning or evening until dark for some exciting bass fishing.

Stream trout fishing: With streams and rivers flowing more slowly in the upper Yakima basin at this time of year, it is a great time to try your hand at trout fly or spin fishing. Cutthroat, rainbow and eastern brook trout will be the predominant species depending on where you’re fishing in the river.

Cutthroat and brook trout tend to occupy higher elevation areas in the drainage. Anglers need to be aware of which stream or section of river they are fishing as there are trout catch and release sections, bait restrictions and selective gear rules in many areas.

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