Update: 7/29/15, includes rule change effective 7/1/15

Water remains a perfect steelhead green.  The forecast suggests it’ll hold through tomorrow and maybe part of Friday.  Then I’m guessing it’ll begin coloring up as the forecasted heat takes it’s toll.

From what I hear the fishing has improved notably over the past 5 or so days.  Most fisherman are finding steelhead, even those throwing flies. Water temps in the lower river last evening and this morning, in moving water, were 64F and 56F respectively. Temps will be increasing tomorrow and over the weekend when air temps should exceed 100F.  It’s a good idea to stop fishing if the water exceeds about 68F.

There was a rule change effective July 1, 2015 that requires harvest of hatchery steelhead.  This means if you catch a hatchery steelhead you are required to kill and keep it and mark your catch record card.  The rule change also increased the hatchery steelhead limit from 2 to 3 fish per day.

Couple pics, first is steelhead green water and second is the hatch hen I plucked out with my wand.

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Update: 7/27/15

The river has come back to about perfect today.  I heard the water was muddy in the lower river this morning and therefore assume the haul road removal in-river work continues.  The work was supposed to be finished on 7/16 but I know they worked last week and it looks like they’ll be working this week too.

The weather forecast suggests we should expect some added color likely starting Thursday and getting worse through the weekend.  Triple digits forecast for Thurs & Friday then upper 90’s for the following week.  Hoping for a couple more days of good water because the next couple weeks don’t look good.

Update: 7/22/15

Conditions are improving.  Looks to me like a foot to 1.5′ vis at around 1pm today.  Took this pic at the town boat landing.  It’s fishable now but should continue to improve barring more heat into the mid 90’s.

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Update: 7/21/15

The water stayed in excellent shape over the weekend but went to mud brown today.  Not the typical color we see from glacial till.  The brown is dirt brown as if heavy rains fell or maybe a slide somewhere…or something like that?  Also possible the in-river haul road removal work has opened up a seam of dirt that the river is mobilizing.  It’s much cooler today so tomorrow could be better

Update: 7/16/15

Warm water, drought conditions and a little reflection about anadromous salmonids. Took this pic just before dark on my favorite piece of the Klickitat River.  water reflection 71615The pic is dark because it should be.  Something to reflect upon.

Fished the water to the left of this pic tonight.  Briefly hooked a bunch of smallish O. mykiss (assumed) and one that wasn’t so smallish but not a steelhead.  Water temp at about 8pm was 65.7F per my digital thermometer.  Used to think 70F was the cutoff for steelhead fishing but I’m rethinking it.  70F might be closer to the edge for resident rainbows or fry hanging out on the edges in a few inches of water (look around, you’ll see them and I’ve taken the water temps).  Got to thinking about up-river migrating salmonids and now wonder if it’s not so much the water temp, which it certainly is, but the dissolved O2 in the water.  Warmer water holds less dissolved O2 so the fish need the O2, water temps are the cause but not killer.  The killer is reduced dissolved O2   Steelhead don’t breath like we do, it takes much longer for them to absorb/assimilate the O2 going past their gills.

Though the Klicktitat hasn’t been effected by the very recent WDFW rule changes it’s fish will have to live with it. The slower the water moves the more it’ll warm and the less O2 it’ll absorb, as glaciers recede the less cooling influence they have.  Ice coverage or meltable mass is everything in glacial melt and river temps, hence O2 concentrations.  Sturgeon are dying in the Columbia likely because of low 02 concentrations.

Please look for temps below 65F prior to fishing for anadromous salmonids. Catch and release fishing doesn’t work very well when the water is approaching or over 65F.

Update: 7/14/2015

The Klickitat is now steelhead green.  Water looked excellent this evening.  There may remain some issues early mornings in the lower river because the “old haul road” removal project continues a few miles upstream of the Little Klickitat confluence.  I was informed the “in river” work was done but don’t know if that’s accurate.  Regardless, that work will halt Thursday AM (7/16/2015).

Here’s a look at the evening water.

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An assumption and a thank you!

Ten points for the YKFP guys running the Lyle Falls ladder/trap.  Just noticed (assumed), they hadn’t been handling all of them during the HOT spell we recently experienced.  Most steelhead were not ID’d, see the “adipose unknown” column.

Update: 7/12/15 late evening

No pics this time, been thinking about what’s happening and hearing the fishing has not been great, though there has been very little pressure over the last couple high temp weeks.  The Columbia is well over 70F and Bonneville passage seems to have either stalled due to water temps or we aren’t getting many steelhead returning this year.  I’m hoping it’s the water temps.

Anadromous salmonids always look for cool water when the water is warm.  I think the Klickitat is well below 70 at this time but it has been real close if not over 70F recently.  Steelhead passage via the Lyle falls ladder has increased recently but the fishing has not been good for the bait and heavy gear guys, fly guys have stayed home.. I’m guessing alot of the steelhead have moved “WAY” upriver to find cooler water.  Either that or they’re finding groundwater inputs in areas we’re not used to finding them.  Just personal thoughts due to the conditions and what I’m hearing.  The cooler temps could/should/hope they will, change the current paradigm a bit. The Klickitat is usually quite a bit cooler than the Columbia this time of year and it looks like it will remain so.

Update: 7/12/15

Conditions are still improving but not as fast I expected.  Took the following pic at 10:15 AM today at the town boat landing.  Looks like about a foot of vis, maybe a little better.

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Update: 7/11/2015

Loving the cooler weather.  Today we didn’t even hit 80F.  So, last two days were much cooler and nights were in the low 60’s or high 50’s.  I thought the river would come back into shape quicker.  Took the following pic around 8pm at the town boat landing.  Looks like it’s getting close to a foot vis and should be better tomorrow (Sunday).

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