LITTLE UPDATE ON THE RIVER

LITTLE UPDATE ON THE RIVER

Morning all,

I have been asked by some folks what is going on with fishing in the river with the lack of rain and low flows. Well not much but that is what one would expect. This does not mean that bad things are not happening but rather wrong place. The low flows will have a effect on survival of the juvenile Coho & Steelhead in creeks and ponds and only time will tell to what degree.  So in the next couple of years we will find out good / bad / or you choose.

SPRINGERS: As to adults returning it has been a little strange since July.  In the latter weeks of July a substantial number of salmon were moving up but then slowed way down. The question was are the Springers late or Summer Chinook early? Best guess I think is the back end of the Springer run was larger than normal ( not to be confused with a larger than expected run ) and late.

SUMMER CHINOOK: The Summer Chinook are around but not in any numbers that would lead one to believe they are coming in early. Last year is a example of how difficult this is to judge. The QIN or WDF&W blew it on escapement but could not have known. The fish came in normal then just were not there. The run was early and tailed out sharply so by the time they caught it was too late to do much. So we wait to see what shows and when.

COHO: Coho showed in July as always. Never many as always but folks have been catching one here and there. So far normal timing and numbers, maybe?

SUMMERRUN STEELHEAD: Early season for Summerrun  Steelies was miserable, just very few fish.  It stayed that way for a few weeks then they showed in good numbers. This is a easy one. They were late but run looks OK.

So what's next? No idea but the August temperature forecast is above normal, not so good. September on the other hand has a long range forecast of below average temperatures. This is about the best news we could have in particular for the bay fishery. The thing is the river conditions we have now are normal for a dry year. Yup things warmed up early but we just got to August in July! Bad for juvenile rearing not much effect on adults. So in the Chehalis it is poke around time & waiting for things to light up.

Just to confuse things a bit things are a little different in the Willapa. Word came back from a local resident that  Chinook made the Nemah the earliest in the last 35 to 40 years. Additionally they showed in the Naselle. So they are early but numbers, no idea.  2T fishing has been good so far also.

So there we are, a mixed bag at this time but it will sort itself out for sure. If the weather performs as the long range forecast projects then things should be OK. In the end it will be the when it rains thing and how much. We hit mid October without rain then that is not unusual. ( a quarter of a inch of rain is a shower not rain ) If we get into November without rainfall then fishing should be fine as the fish will stage up low in the streams.  When working with the hatchery return of Coho it is always a guessing game. Always Coho slowly work their way up but many just plain park and wait, particularly wild Coho. Our guide was the beaver ponds & brackish water. When we get enough rain that the beaver ponds & swampy areas dump and that dark brackish water comes Coho will head home like they have a rocket attached to them.    

So we wait and watch. The Chehalis & Willapa Estuaries are rain driven and in most years this puts the screws to us with blow outs. This year with the lack of snow pack many streams are suffering but our streams do not depend on snow and no rain is & low flows are normal. Our salmonids stage and move differently. Time will tell if this saves our bacon this time around.

Dave

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