Outdoors

Columbia chinook catch on record pace; trout opener today

Although fish biologists say it's too soon to reach any conclusions on the actual size of the Columbia River chinook run, the sports fishery has already seen some big numbers.

The number of chinook counted at Bonneville Dam through Monday was 47,721 adults. This is the highest cumulative count to date since 2003 and the eighth-highest count to date from 1977 to present.

Angler effort in 2010 has been the highest since 2002. The number of kept chinook in 2010 is a record, with 29,150 kept, compared with the previous high of 25,700 in 2001.

For freshwater anglers, today is a big day – the opener of the lowland lakes trout fishing season. A number of resorts are holding opening day derbies, including at Mineral Lake.

Lakes

Alder: Fishing for kokanee has improved in the last week, said Len Throop at Eatonville Outdoor. Most anglers are trolling.

American: One angler online reported catching a good number kokanee at the south end of the lake. He said he was catching fish with a worm 5 to 10 feet from the bottom. Anglers also are catching some trout and perch.

Kapowsin: The largemouth bass are getting active and giving chase to white spinnerbaits and Senko worms, said local angler Kevin Bye in an e-mail report. He said trout anglers have done very well with the worm/bobber, and perch fishing has been solid using the same technique.

Munn and Susan: Rules taking effect May 1 will make these lakes catch and release, with selective gear rules. All fish must be released. The state has issued a temporary rule change for today through Friday to make those changes effective now that the lakes are open.

Offut: Anglers have been catching limits of trout on spinners, Power Bait and worms, said Becky Pogue at Offut Lake Resort. The water temperature is in the mid-50s. The resort has an opening weekend derby running through Sunday.

Spanaway: Troll the south end of the lake with Wedding Ring and worm or a Dick Nite spoon, said Bud Herlitzka at Spanaway Park Boathouse. The dock and bank fishing has been slow.

Spencer: This lake, as well as Mason, has been stocked with some large rainbows and has been fishing well, said Ron Adams at Verle’s Sports Center.

Tapps: The smallmouth bass fishing has been hit and miss, while the tiger muskie action has been fair.

Rivers

Cowlitz: Anglers are catching spring chinook and winter-run steelhead, mainly from the trout hatchery to the barrier dam, said a state report. While the number of steelhead will likely fall in coming weeks, the chinook run will continue to build. Chinook are hitting plugs wrapped with herring or sardine, while eggs and shrimp seem to be best for steelhead.

Kalama: There have been few reports of fishing success.

Lewis: There was little effort at the mouth, according to a state report.

Olympic Coast: More springers are showing up in the Sol Duc, mixed in with a few summer-run steelhead. River levels have dropped to normal levels.

Yakima: The river should be back in shape after rain brought flows up in mid-week. Look for the salmon fly hatch.

Salt water

Fly-fishing: The sea-run cutthroat trout fishing is starting to pick up. Try the Tacoma Narrows and Purdy, said Anil Srivastava at Puget Sound Fly Co. Try using miniceivers in black and white. The action in the Olympia area has been picking up slowly, said B.J. Orn at The Fly Fisher.

South Sound: Boats have been heading out, but anglers are only bringing in a few fish. Try fishing deep off Devil’s Head and Johnson Point, trolling with flashers and a hoochie.

Tacoma: Blackmouth fishing has been fair and showing signs of improvement.

The fish being brought in have weighed 5 to 10 pounds, said Art Tachell at Point Defiance Boathouse Marina.

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