A fish originating out of the Upper Columbia River Basin, Columbia River Summer Chinook Salmon, or June Hogs as they are called, were known for their immense size. Salmon over 100 pounds were caught from this run, but eventually the construction of Grand Coulee Dam put the dampers on this legendary fish.
An effort was made in the mid- 90’s to begin to try to recover these fish and it’s amazing what a little focus towards recovery can do for a fishery. Today Summer Chinook fishing on the Columbia River is a very viable and enjoyed run by people of the region and the story appears to be getting better. Current returns seem to hover between 60 and 100,000 which provides fishermen on the Columbia River with great opportunities for the prized fish. After many years of trying, the tribes in the upper river have been allowed to super charge this run with new fish production that will benefit us all.
The Colville Tribes are now taking Summer Chinook returns to the next level with the construction of the Chief Joseph Hatchery. This is a state of the art hatchery designed to use native brood to create a very robust run of hatchery responsible Summer Chinook. The end result is more fish for everyone and I’m very excited about the future of this fishery.
Below is a little montage of a few fish we caught one day on the Columbia River fishing for Summer Salmon, Sockeye, and Steelhead. I do a lot of videoing and photography on my trips and was fortunate enough on this occasion to have Rachel Jones along for the trip and behind the camera.
I do most of my Summer Chinook Salmon fishing between the mouth of the Cowlitz River and the town of Astoria at the mouth. This is a beautiful section of river and because these fish return in June and July, fishing temperatures tend to be much more appealing to most of my clients. Temperatures in the 70’s make for a perfect day on the water and watching a rod bury with the strike of a #25 plus pound Chinook makes the day all the better. There is a very narrow window of time usually between the middle of June and the first week of July to retain these fish, usually only about two weeks, so getting on the schedule early is important. As a bonus, we will regularly catch steelhead and even Sockeye salmon on these trips making or a nice box of fish at the end of the day.
Both an Oregon and Washington fishing license works when fishing the Columbia River. You’re welcome to contact me with questions or to simply book a trip.