Washington Fly Fishing Forum banner

Columbia sockeye!

1030 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Troutrageous
Have you seen the sockeye counts over Bonneville the last couple of days? I gave up swinging for shad in the mid Columbia when the run fizzled, but with this many sockeye in the river, I'm wondering if it would be possible for me to swing for sockeye instead. It's a big river, but there's a lot of fish. I wonder if I can catch one at the same spots and same flies I was using for shad. What flies would you use? Also, I need to check the regs.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Oddly enough, I've hooked a lot more chinook than shad this year (1 shad, in hand, lost five chinook). Sockeye are notoriously lockjawed in the big C, and they are closed for retention right now. You can however keep marked chinook, and the high waters keeping them a lot closer to shore than normal.
I was thinking the sockeye might be migrating close to the bank like they do on the Kenai and other big rivers. Smallish bright flies, depending on water clarity, maybe 4 or 6, 2 if the river's muddy. I used to tie a Chartruse Boss for a friend who used them in AK with success.

I'll be fishing for shad this weekend below John Day. Run counts are still high over The Dalles, so they are still in the system. I've been reading reports of LOTS of incidental sockeye hookups...at least from the gear guys. I'm hoping for a lot of shad and hopefully a chinook. Where were you fishing for shad at Paul?

ETA: It's not open for sockeye, but I heard a rumor they MAY open a section by priest rapids, but who knows when or even if that's true.
Check the regs, but I'm pretty sure there is no Sockeye season on the C. If thats the case you are not allowed to target them.

Good to see the run doing well. My concern is that they will realize this and open up a season like Luke hinted at. Seems like every time there is a decent fish run down there they just ramp up harvest rates. With the first signs of a health Sockeye run in years, one would hope they might try to actually do whats best for the fish and let them spawn.

It will be very interesting seeing how many of these sockeye return back to the Cle Elum this year.
BDD, aside from maybe a few strays, I'm thinking none should return to Cle Elum. I dont know the timing, but I think the offspring of those transplanted last year should either be hanging out in gravel above the lake, or be frantically fleeing Lakers right about now. Probably another year before they even leave the lake (?)
Last summer, sections of the Columbia from Priest Rapids Dam to Bridgeport were opened to sockeye retention. Don't know what the counts over Priest Rapids need to be to trigger the opening. I understand it's mainly a dodger and bare hook fishery. 2009 - Upper Columbia Sockeye Open
DFW posted on the weekender report that they might open up sockeye based on the surprising return. They're supposedly meeting about it today.
Just read it opens Saturday from Bouy 10 up to at leasat Priest Rapids.

I'm gonna be down on the Klick this weekend anyway, and I'm thinking of trying for sockeye one day, anyone have suggestions on type of water to cover? I'm totally clueless on it, and understand that fly choice is nearly pointless since they are probably just getting lined, but that in itself doesn't help me figure out where/how to fish down there. I was hoping to go for shad anyway, but with the way their numbers are dropping it seems like focusing on sockeye if I can would be more useful.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.