The popular Buoy 10 salmon fishery on the lower end of the Columbia opened Aug. 1, and according to WDFW biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver anglers have had a pretty good first week of fishing. Checks at Ilwaco on the second day of the season tallied 44 boats and 103 anglers with 33 chinook.
These are fall kings from a run forecast at about 650,000 fish, below the large runs of the past couple of years, but not far off the 10-year average. It should provide a “decent” season, Hymer said.
Fall chinook will weigh mostly in the teens, but with a scattering of really big stuff in the 30s or 40s. Best fishing now is above the Astoria bridge, on the Washington side, Hymer said. The actual Buoy 10 area off Ilwaco is better these days for coho, and it’s too early for that fishery, Hymer said. The coho run is predicted to be similar to last year, which was “an underachiever” in his words.
Best fishing time above the bridge is on the incoming tide, particularly in the early morning. Many anglers, however, launch at Ilwaco or Chinook and follow the tide upstream, planning to be above the bridge about halfway through the flood.
The standard setup is 14 to 16 ounces of lead, a flasher, and a herring, anchovy or spinner.