Often referred to as “The Reach,” this area of the Columbia River is the last “Free Flowing” section of the Columbia River and is home to some of the absolute best spawning habitat left in the main stem Columbia River. This is where many of the fish we were targeting at Astoria are heading. The Hanford Reach is where these fish will finally stop moving and hold up before they start to spawn. We target “The Reach” starting the second week of September and fish here through the second week of October. We often catch some of our biggest fish of the year here as the big males start to get aggressive in anticipation of spawning. This is an action packed fishery targeting big Chinook in the desert of Eastern Washington.
We fish a number of different ways and have found that being diverse in our strategies has helped us to continually put good numbers of Fall Chinook in the boat for our customers. We could be downstream trolling Super Baits in the morning and back trolling plugs and eggs in the afternoon. The biggest key to success here is knowing where to fish depending on the flow coming out of Priest Rapids Dam. This is also the most difficult thing about this fishery. Where and how we fish can vary greatly depending on what flows are coming out of the Dam. Our two favorite techniques here are trolling flashers and Super Baits, and back trolling bait wrapped plugs and eggs. “The Reach” fishes like a real river with dynamic changes in holes and flows and anglers have to be willing to adapt to be successful.
We start most of our trips out of Vernita bridge, but if the fishing dictates we will drop down and fish out of Ringold. We like the Vernita area as we feel it gives us the best access to a wide variety of water to consistently put our customers on fish. We truly enjoy this fishery and we are excited to be able to share it with you.
Fishing the Hanford Reach is truly an amazing experience. It is very normal for us to see lots of Mule Deer, including some really nice bucks, coyotes, waterfowl, and on occasion some of the Elk from the large herds that cross the nuclear site.
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