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  #41  
Old 21st October 2017
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The 2017 Columbia River salmon run is a wrap!

It was a small run. Ocean conditions were not good. We got approximately one-third as many fish come up the river as we had in 2016. The daily limit was dropped to 2 fish (from 3 in prior years) and the season was closed a week earlier than usual.

But Team HAMMER managed to put 50+ fish in the boat. No huge lunkers this year, the biggest was a tick over 29lbs and we only got three that were 25+. Here's one of them, being held by yours truly:



This guy was 27.3lbs. Fantastic take-down, he absolutely slammed the rod down. The rod was pinned down and the reel was screaming bloody murder as he peeled out line. I LOVE those kinds of take-downs, it gets your heart going. He gave me a couple of good runs. But he burned himself out doing it, and we got the net under him.

I'll leave you with a sunrise shot from our last morning on the river ...



This was Thursday morning. HAMMER Dan was in the boat with me and we had just arrived and put our lines out and looked up to see this incredible sunrise over the Hanford Reach National Monument. It was peaceful and beautiful and the fish were biting. Can't beat it.

The Reach is a special place. It's the only free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River in the US, i.e. it's not dam backwater or affected by tides. There are no houses or other developments (except a few nuclear reactors on the forbidden side of the river) and few roads, it's mostly only accessible by boat.

Over by that wooden powerline tower on the right side of the picture, there's an abandoned town. Or rather, evacuated town. The Hanford nuclear reservation was built in the forties as part of the Manhattan Project, and two towns were completely evacuated. Everyone was told to pack up and leave. We use the town's old abandoned ferry landing on the opposite side of the river for a boat launch.

As HAMMER Dan and I were working this area, we kept seeing a pair of bald eagles. They'd fly around, occasionally come down to the water to find small fish, and they'd sit on that tower and watch us. In a tree over by the old township, they have a huge nest.
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  #42  
Old 21st October 2017
Turbo Sporty 48 Turbo Sporty 48 is offline
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Default Looking Happy!!!

And you still managed to answer my questions while fishing. Thanks.
Good to hear you had a great time.
Work hard, play hard, you guys are living the dream.
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  #43  
Old 21st October 2017
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Am I correct in thinking catch and release is pointless because they are going to die anyways?
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  #44  
Old 21st October 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WI_duker View Post
Am I correct in thinking catch and release is pointless because they are going to die anyways?
Yes they're going to die. But every one we kill before it spawns is that many fewer smolts to migrate to the ocean.

However, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is all over it. They set season dates and limits based on run size predictions, then they monitor dam counts to see how many fish are actually returning, and do creel surveys to see how many are being caught, and they don't hesitate to change the rules depending on what they see. But overall, this is a really healthy fishery, and sport fisherman are not a threat to it.

Here's their report from October 1, for example. Interesting tidbit from that report, as of October 1st, there was an average of 1.2 fish per boat and 14.5 angler hours per fish. We do considerably better than those numbers . But it wasn't always that way. Took us a few years to learn it.
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  #45  
Old 25th October 2017
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Quote:
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Am I correct in thinking catch and release is pointless because they are going to die anyways?
Everything has a season and dies.
.
For thousands of years, likely much more, native Americans and others have migrated to the rivers to harvest the natural bounty, smoke, otherwise preserve and stock up for the long winter. It was a family, tribal event, survival depended upon it. While some romanticize the process, it is hard work, the risk of drowning is real and the expense is huge. It would be much cheaper to go buy a antibiotic cage raised salmon than buy a boat, gather the gear, acquire the skill and allocate the time, never mind cleaning, preparing and safely storing extremely quality food. Did you see the look on that kids face? They are working on training the next gen fisher, a rare event nowadays. Wow!
.
Or, as Terrible Ted Nuge says, " You got to kill it before you can grill it."
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Old 26th October 2017
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Glad to see you guys get outta the shop for some quality R&R


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  #47  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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It's September! You know what that means!



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  #48  
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Nice looking steaks and fillets you have there, envious. Would liked to have stopped and said Hi on our recent C.O.B.B. Run, ran out of time trying to do took much.
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  #49  
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Nice Tuna's ya got there !
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  #50  
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You guys deserve lots of days on the river.
A very productive year. And you all have helped me a lot too.
Fish and cut bait.
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