Rainier — Guide Jon Ball has a sense of relief about this year’s URB run on the Columbia.
“There was kind of a slow start to them,” says the headman of Gimme A Go Fishing Adventures (503-539-1576). “But now we’re seeing more every day. I’m thinking it will hold up all of September, and into October, as long as they leave the season open.
”The best places to get these fish in early September will be around the mouths of the Cowlitz and Sandy. As season progresses, look for better fishing up higher, just below Bonneville. These salmon have a real propensity for deep water, from 35 to 60 feet, but also try migratory travel “slots” in the river, up near Bonneville, which are 16 to 18 feet deep.
As with all things on the lower Columbia, this fishery revolves around the tides. Troll at high tide and low slack. Anchor up on incoming and outgoing. Wobblers are the most popular lure, with the Brad’s Wobbler and Alvins top choices. Productive colors this year have varied, but blue’s been good.
There are also a lot of steelhead in the river. The limit on URBs is one fish, but you can retain two marked steelhead, provided that you catch those first. “Once you’ve got your one Chinook,” Ball says, “you’re done for the day.”
— Dusty Routh