Hanford Reach Fishing Guide
In mid-September, we are targeting fall-run Chinook just upriver from Tri-Cities, Washington on a section known as the Hanford Reach. This section of the Columbia River is a natural spawning area for these Salmon. This is considered a “free-flowing” section of the Columbia because it is the longest stretch between dams, therefore, making it flow like a normal river. The only difference is that the water can fluctuate 3 to 6 feet in a day, making fishing a challenge.
At the start of the season, we focus on covering water by fishing a method called “downhill or down river trolling,” meaning that we troll with the current. This allows us to fish more water in a faster time frame than other methods. This works well when fish are traveling. As the season progresses we switch it up to back trolling eggs and plugs, focusing on the spawning habitat where these fall Chinook are establishing dominance.
The Hanford Reach is home to the largest population of fall Chinook in the state of Washington and is a producer of large fish, often pushing or exceeding 50 pounds, with an average Chinook in the high teens to low 20s. This is often regarded as a very challenging fishery as water flows change daily and these fall Chinook can be very picky so book Reel Time Fishing as your Hanford Reach fishing guides to take the guesswork out of your fishing experience.