Each week we round-up the top fishing news from the Northwest and beyond. Do you have a news tip? E-mail us at news /at/ salmonuniversity.com.
Steelhead, Trout Fishing Opens on Upper Columbia River
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced the opening of fishing for hatchery steelhead and rainbow trout with a clipped adipose fin on the Columbia River below Wells Dam through to Chief Joseph Dam beginning on October 15, 2015. Hatchery steelhead and rainbow trout fishing will also be permitted on the Methow and Okanogan rivers beginning the same date, and on the Similkameen River on November 1.
According to the WDFW, the reason for the rule change was due to an excess of hatchery-origin steelhead and the fishery is supposed to reduce the number of hatchery-origin steelhead, helping increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on spawning grounds. A daily limit of two hatchery steelhead (20-inch minimum size) and five hatchery rainbow trout (less than 20-inches) applies and anglers must stop fishing when a daily limit of two hatchery steelhead are obtained, regardless of the number of trout caught.
Mystery Warm Water Mass Behind Exotic Species in Alaska
An unusual mass of warm water may be the reason for the appearance of exotic fish species in Alaska, scientists say. Anchorage’s KTUU-TV reports anglers in southern Alaska have been catching species ranging from sunfish to thresher sharks since the summer.
The warm-water mass nicknamed The Blob has been swirling around the Pacific Ocean for the past couple of years and moving north toward Alaska. At the same time, El Nino is in full force this year, a weather pattern characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures. As a result, ocean conditions including temperatures and food sources for fish are changing and species not normally found in state waters are showing up.
The strange ocean temperature conditions may also be the cause for a 58-percent drop in the 2015 Pink harvest, the report notes.
Idaho Chinook Runs Booming
Chinook runs are booming in Idaho, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG). More than 53,000 fall chinook have already crossed Lower Granite Dam and entered Idaho. That marks the third-largest run on record since counting at the dam started in 1975 and is about 4,000 fish shy of the second-best run in 2013, according to IDFG.
Idaho resumed fall chinook fishing in 2008 after it had been closed for decades, and runs have sky rocketed since then. The last three years have produced the largest fall chinook runs since 1975, which is the year Lower Granite Dam was completed. During the last five years, the fall runs averaged 45,800 fish, which is 2 ½ times more than the previous five-year average.