First spring chinook show in Columbia; several rivers to close

Fishing: If it's trout you want, try Spanaway, Silver (Cowlitz County) or several other lakes

January 29, 2011 

There is encouraging news from the Columbia River: the first spring chinook are showing up. So far, at least four fish have been caught during a commercial white sturgeon fishery, said Joe Hymer, a state fish biologist.

Regulations allow adipose-fin-clipped salmon caught during the sturgeon fishery to be sold, Hymer said.

In addition, a chinook was counted at Bonneville Dam Wednesday. Hymer said they are reviewing video to determine if it was a winter or spring chinook.


Chelan: The lake trout action has been best above the Chelan Yacht Club using Silver Horde’s Kingfisher Lite spoons in chartreuse splatterback glow, said Anton Jones of Darrell and Dad’s Family Guide Service.

Mayfield: Trout fishing has been fair near the hatchery.

Pass: Anglers are catching some good brown and rainbow trout, just not in large numbers.

Rufus Woods: As the surface water temperature falls below 40 degrees, fish deep with Pautzke’s Firebait near the pens for best success, Jones said. If you are going to try casting or trolling, go slow.

Silver (Cowlitz County): If you’re headed south any time soon, consider a stop at this lake near Castle Rock. It was planted with 3,001 catchable-size rainbows last week.

Spanaway: The dock anglers are having success with worms, more so than PowerBait. Trolling deep with a worm in the mid-afternoon also has been effective, said Bud Herlitzka at Spanaway Lake Boathouse. One brown trout caught this week weighed 4 pounds.


Cowlitz: The river is running very high and is muddy.

Skookumchuck: The river is in decent shape and is producing some steelhead. Most people are using eggs or shrimp, as well as jigs, said a staffer at Auburn Sports and Marine.

North Sound: Remember that fishing for steelhead and other game fish in the Nooksack, Snohomish, Stillaguamish and Skagit river systems, as well as several streams along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, will close Tuesday. Some waters near state fish hatcheries will remain open through Feb. 15. For the full list of closures, go to

Olympic Coast: The rivers are in good shape, despite rain on Friday, said Bob Gooding at Olympic Sporting Goods. The Sol Duc has been attracting most of the attention with a good mix of hatchery and native fish. The Calawah has been fishing well, while the Bogachiel has been fair.

Satsop: The action has been slow.

Wynoochee: The action has been off and on, but that hasn’t stopped the crowds from coming, said Walt Harvey at Verle’s Sports Center. It seems as if the fish are heading right up the river, so try hitting the upper stretches.

Yakima: The river is running really high, the effects of an early spring runoff, said a staffer at Red’s Fly Shop. There is about 21/2 feet of visibility and the water is off-color, far from normal January conditions.


Tacoma: Salmon fishing reopens in Marine Area 11 (Tacoma) and 12 (Hood Canal). The season in both areas will run from next week through April 30. Chinook must be 22 inches long minimum before they can be kept and all wild chinook must be released. There is no minimum size for other salmon species. The daily limit is two fish.

South Sound: The pressure has been light to non-existent. Fishing in Marine Area 13, south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, remains open until April 30. The daily limit is one fish .

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640

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