It's not ice fishing - just a Puget Sound equivalent

Fishing: Coastal rivers and Cowlitz producing, but warming will help

February 26, 2011 

The return of warmer weather, although it's supposed to be accompanied by rain, should get more folks on the water. Winds this week made the South Sound pretty unfishable. Steelhead anglers should consider the Olympic Peninsula rivers or the improving Cowlitz River.

RIVERS

Columbia: Some spring chinook and large hatchery winter-run steelhead were caught, according to a state report. In the Dalles Pool, boat anglers averaged nearly two steelhead per rod when including wild fish released. The sturgeon fishing has been slow.

Cowlitz: The first hatchery adult spring chinook returned to Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery earlier this week. The steelhead fishing has been slowly improving, but is still not red-hot.

Olympic Coast: The most consistent steelhead action seems to be in the Forks area. The rivers are in good shape, said Jim Kerr of Rain Coast Guides. With the water low and clear, use smaller gear because the fish will be wary.

Satsop: The river is low and clear, but there are some fish to be caught. Try jigs and bobbers in the clear water, said Phil Stephens of Mystical Legends Guide Service.

Wynoochee: There are still some hatchery steelhead in the river. Stephens recommends fishing the pocket water with small offerings.

Yakima: Trout fishing has been good, when the weather cooperates. While nymphing with stoneflies is the most productive, it’s possible to catch a few on dry-fly skwala patterns, said a report from The Evening Hatch.

LAKES

American: Look for trout holding in the shallower, warmer water. One angler on Washingtonlakes.com reported catching two trout, weighing 41/2 and 51/2 pounds, using PowerBait fished from shore.

Eastside: Dozens of lakes will open Tuesday to trout fishing. People planning to make the trip might want to call ahead to see if lakes are ice free. Earlier this week, only two lakes in Grant County – Martha and Upper Caliche – were at least half-open from ice, said Chad Jackson, district fishing biologist. Quincy and Burke lakes were mostly iced over and unfishable at last check.

Potholes: Ice is blocking access to the sand dunes, but it should clear with some more sun, said Mike Meseberg of MarDon Resort. He said boat anglers are catching walleye using blade baits on the humps just off the face of the sand dunes in 15 to 45 feet of water. The Goose Island area has been producing good walleye and smallmouth bass with blade baits and drop-shoting techniques. Lind Coulee arm is still iced over.

Sammamish: The lake continues to produce 14- to 18-inch cutthroat trout with the occasional fish over 20 inches.

Spanaway: A few anglers have been heading out, catching some trout during the afternoon, said Bud Herlitzka at Spanaway Park Boathouse. Trolling a Wedding Ring tipped with a worm is catching fish on warmer days.

Spencer: This Mason County lake is a good winter option. Use worms or PowerBait, fished off the bottom, for trout.

SALT WATER

North Sound: There are some nice-size blackmouth being caught along the Camano Island shore line from Onamac to Rocky Point, according to online reports. That is where Curt Schaffer caught a 20.03-pound fish to win the $2,100 first prize in last weekend’s Hot Plug Derby. Point No Point and Double Bluff also have been productive spots.

Penrose Point: The sport clam and oyster seasons at the state park will open Tuesday.

South Sound: Few people have been willing to brave the weather, according to Tom Pollack at Sportco. Salmon anglers fishing south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge are having some success hooking resident coho, said Larry Phillips, regional fish biologist. Best bets include the Tacoma Narrows, the Squaxin Island area and in Eld Inlet off Evergreen Beach.

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