The Super Bowl of Salmon fishing is unquestionably the Buoy 10 salmon season.

The fall season opened on August 1st and already Yakima area anglers have descended on the epic fishery.

Don't worry though, I checked the numbers and the chinook aren't here yet.

That doesn't mean the crowds won't be there anyway as all avid salmon anglers will be focused on the popular Buoy 10 fishery near the mouth of the Columbia River from now until September. According to Washington Department Of Fish and Wildlife fishery biologists, we should expect a few head scratching days as the projected return of 582,600 fall chinook represents a significant decline from recent years.

WDFW does remain optimistic as they point to the tule component of that run is expected to remain steady this year.

“There’s good reason to believe that the fall chinook season will get off to a good start this year,” said Joe Hymer, a WDFW fish biologist. “We all enjoyed those runs of a million fish or more in recent years, but this year’s forecast is fairly close to the ten-year average.”

While the opener for fall chinook extends upriver to the Tri-Cities at the Highway 395, or Blue Bridge boundary, the Buoy 10 fishery in the lower 16 miles of the river will see most of the early action, Hymer said.

State fishery managers estimate that anglers will catch nearly 22,000 chinook salmon in that area by Labor Day (Sept. 4), when chinook retention closes for the rest of the month.

Salmon fishing tips: Anglers planning to fish during this year’s fall chinook season might want to consider the following advice offered by Joe Hymer, a WDFW fishery biologist and avid Columbia River fisherman.

Go deep for chinook: Fish from 40 to 60 feet down in the mainstem Columbia River, using wobblers anchored with a heavy weight. “You can’t keep steelhead in August anyway, so you might as well go deep for chinook,” Hymer said.

Don't worry if you don't have a boat.

You can try braving the crowds at the North Jetty, but remember your Vehicle Access Pass that comes with your fishing license doesn't work for parking there. You'll have to purchase a Discover Pass to park on State Parks property near the North Jetty in addition to a saltwater or combination license, which is required to fish off the jetty. The normal Columbia salmon/steelhead tag doesn't exclude you from the saltwater requirement.


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