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Summer Chinook and Sockeye

Come Late June, July and early August we can be found fishing the Upper Columbia between Tri-Cities, Washington and the town of Brewster, Washington. Summer Chinook are commonly called June hogs and are known for their size and incredible strength. During this time of year we often have great numbers of Sockeye available. What these fish lack in size they more than make up for as table fare. We often catch both Chinook and Sockeye on the same trip. This is a fantastic fishery and we can’t think of a better way to spend a summer day than fishing the Columbia River for Summer Chinook and Sockeye Salmon.

Hanford Reach
We target the Hanford Reach fishing out of Vernita Bridge and Ringold for summer Chinook and Sockeye starting the end of June. We also offer catch and keep sturgeon fishing at this time and often do combination trips. This is mostly an anchor fishery as we like to sit on travel lanes and wait for the waves of migrating Chinook and Sockeye to meet our gear. The flows of the Columbia River at this time are often very high due to the early summer run off, it is this high water that makes these fish available and aggressive. When fishing here we are looking for points and bars, or any structure that disrupts the flow of the water and creates an easier place for the fish to migrate. These fish are constantly moving and are looking for the slower inside bends to help them conserve energy for their long migration. It is at these congestion points that we often anchor up and deploy our gear. This style of fishing is both very relaxing and exciting. The Hanford Reach is a huge place and we often have large areas of river almost all to our self’s.

Wanapum Dam
Starting July 1st the Columbia River above Priest Rapids Dam opens. Our first stop for these fish is the tail race of Wanapum Dam, it’s here that the heavy currents caused by the Dam congregates migrating Summer Chinook and Sockeye Salmon. This is a very popular troll fishery. When targeting Chinook we like to troll flashers and Brad’s Super Baits, Flashers and herring, and spinners. When targeting Sockeye we fish 8 inch chrome dodgers followed by a small hoochie squid tipped with a coon shrimp. This can be a very busy fishery, but the fishing here can be absolutely fantastic! We typically will fish Wanapum through the 10th or so of July before moving up river. The Sockeye and Chinook caught here during early July are some of the best table fare around!

Brewster/Wells Dam
We start fishing in the Brewster, Washington area about the 10th of July. When fishing here we target both the Brewster Pool and the area just below Wells Dam. We will put you on the best location to get you on a bunch of Chinook or Sockeye. Both locations are primarily troll fisheries. For Sockeye we like to troll 8 inch dodgers followed by a small coon shrimp, and when targeting Chinook we like to fish Super Bait’s, Herring, spinners, or plugs. Wells Dam is much like the fishery we see at Wanapum Dam. Lots of current and fish stacked up trying to get through the fish ladders. One difference here is that unlike Wanapum there is a Chinook Hatchery at Wells Dam and for many fish this is the end of the line. This means there are always fish holding here waiting to head up into the hatchery.

The Brewster Pool is very different from both Wells and Wanapum and resembles a big reservoir. Here the current is slowed and the fishing is a little more laid back. This is a holding area created by the warm water temperatures of the Okanogan River. Most of the Upper Columbia River Sockeye and lots of Summer Chinook are headed up the Okanogan River to Spawning grounds in Canada and the Okanagan River Valley. Once the water temperature hits the 70 degree mark its creates a temperature barrier for migrating Salmon. It is once this barrier is set that the Brewster Pool becomes a salmon fishing paradise. Tens of thousands of Chinook and Sockeye hold here waiting for the temperature in the Okanagan River to cool enough to allow safe passage. Quick limits of Sockeye and multiple hookups on great fighting Summer Chinook are the norm. We offer both full and half day trips in this area and often run a full day followed by a half day afternoon trip.

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