Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Washington Outdoor Report June 11

Salmon, salmon and shad



The Wenatchee River from the US Highway 2 bridge to the mouth of the Icicle River is now open for Chinook salmon fishing, thanks to a healthy run of springers heading back to the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. The limit is three hatchery Chinook per day through June 30. Bait is allowed but you have to use barbless hooks. No motorized watercraft are allowed in this section of the Wenatchee River.


Fishing for summer Chinook, sockeye salmon and steelhead opens up on the Columbia River on June 16 and stays open until July 31. The open area is from the mouth at Astoria to the Hwy. 395 bridge at Pasco. The Columbia from Richland to Priest Rapids Dam will also be open during this time. The forecast for Upper Columbia River summer Chinook this year is 85,400 fish, which is about 6,000 more than last year.


The Pateros Booster Club will be sponsoring a salmon bake on Saturday, June 24 starting at noon in the park. The cost is $15 a plate which includes not only salmon but also salad, water and rolls from the Sweetwater Bakery. In addition to a good meal there will also be seminars and demonstrations from the Colville Tribe about salmon conservation, the local salmon hatchery, Native American beadwork and basket weaving.


The Peter Flohr Memorial Salmon Derby takes place July 14-15 between Rock Island Dam and Wells Dam on the Columbia River. There will be $7500 worth of cash and prizes given away at the event for the heaviest boat limit of fish and for the heaviest fish caught by a single angler. Last year that latter winner was Greg Kite who caught a 20.41-pound Chinook salmon. Derby tickets cost $75 and can be purchased at Proceeds from the event will go to the Coastal Conservation Association.


The annual run of American shad up the Columbia River is building steam. Over a 100,000 shad a day are being counted at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder. Marc Bush, owner of Twisted Waters Guide Service, recently took two clients shad fishing near Beacon Rock State Park and the two, Drew Monsey and his father Martin, caught 104 shad in short order, with Drew out fishing his dad by 11 fish. If you would like to book a trip with Bush you can go to his Facebook page or his website at

You don’t need to have a guide to have success catching shad. Two great places to fish for them from shore are just below Bonneville Dam and also below the John Day Dam. Simply cast a 1/16-ounce jig or shad dart and use anywhere from ¼ to ½ ounce of lead above it, depending on the current. Then, let it swing downstream with the current and wait for a bite before reeling in the jig and casting again.

Shad typically run between one and three pounds but they are scrappy fighters and fun to catch. Kids in particular enjoy the non-stop action when the shad run is going strong. The state record for shad is a 3.85-pound specimen caught by Tom Magnuson out of the Columbia River in 2005.

Some anglers will keep the shad to eat but others, myself included, cut these fish in half and use them for crab bait. They are a very oily fish and work very well when it comes to attracting crabs. Shad also work well as bait for sturgeon fishing and for catfish too.

John Kruse – and


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