Fishing improving on Cowlitz, but mostly slow elsewhere


This week hasn't been the greatest for fishing.

The Cowlitz River has been producing some winter steelhead and a few spring chinook. In the Lewis, the chinook run is just starting and a few have been caught, but overall fishing has been slow.

Anglers fishing the Kalama have been catching some wild steelhead, which must be released. Spring chinook also are starting to move into the river.

Rains this week have blown out all the rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.

Chinook catches have not been great in the Columbia, and neither has sturgeon fishing.

Walleye fishing has been good in Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day pools. Bass fishing has been slow.

There has been no sign of smelt in the Columbia or the Cowlitz.

Saltwater fishing in Tacoma waters has been fair. Lingcod fishing also was fair at Westport last weekend, but sea bass catches were not good.

Some blackmouth are being caught throughout Hood Canal and in South Sound.

In Marine Areas 1 (llwaco), 2 (Westport-Ocean Shores) and 3 (La Push) the minimum size limit for lingcod has been reduced from 24 inches to 22 inches.

Sport fishing for halibut will open April 9 in most areas of Puget Sound, followed by an additional opening in May on the coast and the western Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Hood Canal will be closed to halibut fishing due to low

dissolved-oxygen conditions.

Lowland lake fishing has been good considering conditions.

The 2007 Southwest Washington trout plants can be found on the Department of Fish and Wildlife's web site

Long Lake Park waters will open April 21 for a one-day youth fishing event. Only pre-registered youths may fish.

To pre-register, call Lacey Parks and Recreation at 360-491-0857. For more information, contact Terry Rudnick, youth sportfishing coordinator at 360-902-2500.

The lake does not open to the general public until April 28.


COWLITZ: Late winter steelhead are starting to show in good numbers and fishing has been improving at Blue Creek and Olequa.

Fishing has been good for bank anglers near the new outflow below the boat ramp at the Blue Creek Hatchery.

Bobbers and jigs seemed to be working best. Boat anglers also caught a few steelhead in the same area using bobbers/jigs, divers/ bait and pulling plugs.

A few springers have been caught from the mouth of the Toutle to the mouth of the Cowlitz.

Anglers at barrier dam are fishing mostly during late afternoon and evening.

Last week, 180 winter steelhead, one cutthroat and four spring chinook returned to the Cowliz salmon hatchery.

Flow Wednesday was 9,850 cubic feet per second with a visibility of about 2 feet.

LEWIS: The spring chinook run is just starting and some are being caught, but fishing has been very slow, said Elaine Byrnes of Anglers Workshop. The first spring chinook of the season (an unmarked fish) returned to the Merwin Dam trap last week.

COLUMBIA: Last weekend nearly 1,000 salmon anglers were sampled with 34 chinook and eight steelhead. The catch was spread throughout the river with best catches had in the Cathlamet area.

Overall, boat anglers averaged a chinook kept/released per every 24 rods. Only one chinook was kept for nearly 200 bank anglers, said Joe Hymer of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Vancouver office.

Based on visual stock identification, 18 (62.2 percent) of the fish kept were lower river stock. During the same period in 2006, almost identical numbers of anglers were sampled.

Bank and boat anglers averaged a chinook kept/released per every 30 rods. In 2004 and 2005, boat catch from the Interstate-5 bridge downstream was a chinook per every 16 rods.

In John Day Pool, bank anglers have been catching some steelhead. There has been little to no salmon effort and no catch observed in Bonneville or the Dalles pools.

TOUTLE: High and muddy.

OLYMPIC PENINSULA: There are fish around, but there is lots of water in the rivers. Not many anglers, said Bob Gooding of Olympic Sport Goods in Forks. The Hoh is running at about 6,000 cubic feet per second and the other rivers are running just about as high.

"Maybe by the weekend fishing will get better if it doesn't rain." Gooding said.

SKOOKUMCHUCK: Some steelhead are being caught in the upper river. The river is a little high, but consistently fishable.

SATSOP: Lots of natives are being caught throughout the river, said Walt Harvey of Verles Sports in Shelton. Eggs have been the bait of choice. Boat traffic has been heavy.

WYNOOCHEE: The river is up, and no fish are being caught.

KALAMA: Spring chinook are starting to move into the river, but they are not biting well, said Wayne Orzel of Mahaffey's Outfitting Store. Some wild steelhead are being caught and released.

Seals are reported to be near the mouth of the river and up to the Mudrow Bridge. The river is high, with visibility of about 3 feet.


Last weekend, some legal fish were caught by boat anglers in the Kalama to Longview area.

Sampling checks below Bonneville Dam showed 17 bank anglers kept one legal and released 19 sublegals.

Four boat anglers released two sublegals.

Boat anglers are catching some legals in John Day Pool, but it has been slow in Bonneville and The Dalles pools.

Walleye and bass

Last weekend boat anglers averaged more than .5 walleye kept/released per rod in Bonneville and The Dalles pools.

No effort has been observed for bass. In John Day Pool, including fish released, boat anglers averaged a bass and walleye per every 4.5 rods.


Fishing has been fair in Tacoma waters the past few days, said Art Tachell of Point Defiance Boathouse and Marina.

Blackmouth averaging 5 pounds are being caught in the clay banks area during tide changes.

Standard gear, hardware and baits are being used.

Blackmouth also are being caught throughout Hood Canal and South Sound near Hartstene Island and Johnson Point.

Anglers are using Flashers/Hoochees and Coyote Spoons.

Westport lingcod fishing was fair last weekend. The fish averaged 8-to-12 pounds with a few in the low 20s.

Sea bass catches were down.

"We expect the lingcod fishery to be better this year than last year," said Dennis Moss of Anglers Charters.


Fishing has been good in MAYFIELD LAKE at the trout hatchery.

The Tilton Arm is starting to clear after the last storm and fishing has improved in the area.

Last week, 30 winter steelhead and one cutthroat were released into the lake at Ike Kinswa State Park boat launch.

In SWOFFORD POND , trout are being caught in the spillway into Riffe.

Silvers have been very active around the Mossyrock Dam, said Frank Abbruzzese of Fish Country. The dam side has been doing better than the Highway 12 side, but fishing has been good in both locations. The fish are near the surface.

Most anglers are fishing baits 4-to-6 feet under a bobber. Now is also a good time for hardware, spinners and spoons.

The east end of the lake has been slow because of low/muddy water levels.

KLINELINE POND bank anglers averaged 3.2 trout per rod when including fish released last weekend. The pond was planted with 2,800 brown trout averaging just over 0.5 pounds each on March 12.

LAKE SACAJAWEA in Longview was planted with 4,308 catchable size rainbows on March 13.

Angler pressure has been light at SPANAWAY LAKE , but fishing was good last weekend, said Bud Herlitzka of Spanaway Boathouse.

The fish (averaging 6 to 14 inches) are holding near the surface and hitting Wedding Ring/worm combinations and orange PowerBait.

MASON COUNTY year-round lakes are producing some decent catches of trout. PowerBait/ worm combinations fished near the bottom have been producing good results.

Book signing

On Saturday, author Steve Raymond will be at Fishy Business for a book signing.

Some of Raymond's books include "Year of the Angler" and "Year of the Trout."

For the angler interested in sea-run cutthroat, his book "Estuary Fly Fisher" is a must to have in your collection.

Books will be available for purchase, but you may bring your own.

Raymond will sign from 1:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. At 5 p.m., Raymond's friend Bill Jollymore will put on a presentation about fly fishing in Nova Scotia for Atlantic salmon.

For more information, call Fishy Business at 360-353-0383.