A sockeye return of more than 250,000 through Monday has allowed state Fish and Wildlife to open a section of the Columbia River in the Hanford Reach area.
Anglers will be able to keep sockeye from now through Aug. 15 from the blue bridge to the Interstate 182 bridge near Columbia Point.
The daily limit in this section will be three salmon, and no more than one can be a adult hatchery chinook and two sockeye. All wild adult chinook must be released.
From the Interstate 182 bridge to Priest Rapids Dam, the daily limit is six salmon, and two can be an adult hatchery chinook and three sockeye. Wild adult chinook must be released.
Barbless hooks are required when fishing for salmon, and you must have a current fishing license with the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement. Anglers with the “Two-Pole Endorsement” may fish with two poles, except for sturgeon.
Through Monday, 255,498 sockeye had been counted at Bonneville and is expected to reach 400,000. The preseason forecast was 101,600.
The highest count during the same time frame was 289,500 in 2012, and 267,200 last year.
Last year’s total return of 512,500 sockeye was the third largest run since at least 1938 — the record was 648,361 sockeye in 2014.
“We may have peaked, but it is still a darn good run,” said Joe Hymer, a Washington Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780; email@example.com