LITTLE UPDATE ON THE RIVER
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.
Posted on Tue, August 4, 2015
by Dave Hamilton