Fishing

Fishing good but not great in Tacoma-area waters

OVERVIEW

Salmon fishing has not been jumping-hot in waters around Tacoma, but it is good.

Art Tachell of Point Defiance Boathouse and Marina said boat anglers trolling flashers, spoons, and flashers and squid near the clay banks and in front of the boathouse have been catching chinook in the 14- to 18-pound range. Last weekend, Bill Hickey of Tacoma caught a 26-pound chinook.

There are still a lot of wild fish being hooked, but that has depended largely on the school of fish anglers are targeting. The best bite has been early in the morning.

Steve Thiesfeld, Puget Sound Recreational Salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recently said, when releasing salmon, anglers should make every effort to keep the fish in the water, but, if a net is needed, use a rubber, soft-cotton, knotless-nylon or cotton net.

Fishing has been slow in Hood Canal, but some small chinook are being caught in the Ayock and lliwaup areas by anglers using Coyote spoons and Big Al's Fish Flashers. Pinks in the Hoodsport Hatchery area have been few and far between, said Walt Harvey of Verles Sports in Shelton.

Some chinook are being caught in Vaughan Bay, located on the east side of Hartstene Island, and near Johnson Point by anglers using the same lures used in Hood Canal.

Salmon fishing was slow last weekend at Westport, but Dennis Moss of Anglers Charters said that changed Tuesday. Most charters returned early with limits of chinook and silvers.

The catch was about 25 percent kings and 74 percent silvers. Kings are running in the 20- to 35-pound range and silvers 8 to 10 pounds. Overall, the catch has been better so far this year than last year.

Salmon fishing also has been good at Ilwaco. Boats have been returning before noon with limits of kings weighing up to 30 pounds and silvers in the low teens. Bottom fishing also has been very good.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued corrections and updates to the 2007-08 Fishing In Washington Sports Fishing Rules pamphlet.

Corrections and updates are posted on the department's Website at http://wdfw.wa.gov. Anglers are advised to update their copies of the pamphlet, which became effective May 1. Questions regarding the changes should be addressed to Fish Program Customer Service desk at 360-902-2700.

Steelhead fishing has been far from good in southwest Washington rivers. Major systems are low and clear, and, except for the Columbia, returning summer steelhead runs are less than one-third of last year.

The Cowlitz returns are about minus 60 percent. The Kalama minus 81 percent and the Lewis minus 71 percent.

However, through Sunday, almost 315,000 steelhead had been counted on the Columbia at Bonneville Dam which is almost identical to this time last year.

Monday, nearly 1,200 steelhead were counted at Bonneville Dam. It's the highest daily count so far this year. Last year, the actual return was nearly 330,000 fish.

Steelhead fishing has been fair for boat and bank anglers below Bonneville Dam. Anglers have been using spinners and spin-n-glos.

Effective July 6 through October 15, anglers must release all externally tagged salmon on the Columbia, from Priest Rapids Dam upriver to Chief Joseph Dam, and the Okanogan River, from the mouth upstream to the first Highway 97 Bridge.

In the lower Columbia, boat and bank anglers fishing for sturgeon from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Marker 84 have been catching some legals in the Longview area. Boat anglers have also been catching some legals in Bonneville Pool.

Walleye and bass fishing has been slow. Pikeminnow fishing has been good. Trout fishing has been good in some local lakes and surrounding counties. Warm-water fish species have been biting well.

Rivers

COWLITZ: The number of steelhead caught this past week has not been up to par with catches had at this time in previous years. Overall, fishing has been fair at best.

Bank anglers at the Blue Creek hatchery are having some success below the new outflow near the boat launch. Boat anglers have been taking a few fish with plugs, divers and baits, with most of the fish being caught off the boat launch to the top of the chute above the turn at the mouth of Blue Creek.

Bank fishing at Barrier Dam for steelhead has been fair at times with the occasional chinook being taken from the upper pool at the 100-foot marker, Karen Glazer of Barrier Dam Campground said. A few mini-jacks also are being caught.

Steelhead are being caught, mostly at first light or late in the day when the sun is off the water. The lower river is very muddy. On Saturday, Tacoma Power opened a new fishing site for wheelchair-bound anglers, within the

100-foot boundary of the new outflow at the trout hatchery.

Last week, 151 spring chinook adults, 50 jacks, 66 mini-jacks and 71 summer run steelhead had returned to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. Also, four radio-tagged adult spring chinook were released into the Cispus River and four radio-tagged spring chinook were released into the upper Cowlitz at the Skate Creek site in Packwood.

LEWIS: Fishing has improved slightly, Elaine Byrnes of Anglers Workshop said. A few steelhead are being caught at the lower end of the river, but catching has not been what it should be for this time of the year.

Most of the steelhead caught have been two-salts - fish that spend two years in the ocean.

CHEHALIS: Some chinook are being caught, but the river is low. And because of warm water, the fish have not been biting well.

KALAMA: A few steelhead have been caught in the canyon. Eggs have been the bait of choice. The river is low and clear.

COLUMBIA: The Technical Advisory Committee met July 5 to update the adult summer chinook and sockeye runs.

The Committee concluded the sockeye run was on track to meet the preseason forecast of 27,300 fish, but the summer chinook run would not reach the preseason forecast of 45,600 and estimated a river mouth run size of 40,000 fish.

At Bonneville Dam, the count from June 16 through July 4 was 20,667 adult chinook. Passage is typically 50 percent completed around July 1.

Including fish released, boat anglers below Bonneville Dam averaged a steelhead every 6 rods while bank anglers averaged one every 12.6 rods. Nearly two-thirds of the steelhead caught were kept. Some summer run chinook jacks were also caught.

NISQUALLY: A few legal size fish have been caught just below Alder Dam by fly fishers. Angler activity has been light at the lower end of the river.

WYNOOCHEE: Fishing has been slow.

OLYMPIC PENINSULA: Fishing has been pretty sad. The rivers are low and clear except the Hoh which muddy, Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods in Forks said. Angler activity has been very light

SHAD

Effort and catches have been light although boat anglers in the Columbia River Gorge have been catching some fish. Daily counts at Bonneville Dam have been 10,000 fish the past few days.

PIKEMINNOWS

Last week, 1,386 anglers caught 9,949 pikeminnow. There was one tagged pikeminnow for every 1,105 pikeminnows caught. The total catch of pikeminnows to date is 95,971 fish.

At Cathlamet, 97 anglers caught 704 pikeminnows. While at Kalama, 90 anglers caught 276 pikes. At The Dalles, 223 anglers caught 2,232 fish Three hundred and forty- one pikes were caught at Washougal by 112 anglers.

LAKES

RIFFE: Fishing has been disappointing this past week, Frank Abbruzzes of Fish County said. Some fish are being caught from the shore at the west end on either side of Mossyrock Dam and boat anglers have been having some success trolling.

But anglers have not been seeing as many 14- to 20-inch fish as they did last year. Most fish caught have been in the 10- to 12-inch size. Anglers at the east end of the lake have been catching some fish, but the lake is 20-feet low and fishgin has been hit and miss.

MAYFIELD LAKE has been producing good fishing for shore and boat anglers. Anglers fishing at the trout hatchery have been steadily catching trout and boat anglers have been catching limits.

Fishing for Tiger Muskies has increased, but not many are being caught. The lake was planted with nearly 2,000 catchable size rainbows July 3.

SWOFFORD POND trout are active with most being caught by boat anglers trolling the middle of the pond. Bank anglers are catching a few trout, but mostly bluegills and bass are being caught. Bullheads are biting late in the afternoon.

MINERAL: Fishing continues to be good, Linda Gordon of Mineral Lake Resort said. Quite a few limits and lots of browns are being caught by boat anglers.

Still-fishing with short leaders seems to be the best method. Worms have been a must and lemon-lime Power Eggs, yellow Power Eggs and garlic marshmallows have also been good baits.

Some of the browns being caught have been in the two-pound range. Last week, the Mossyrock Hatchery released 2,500 rainbows into the lake.

ALDER LAKE is low, but anglers are catching bass, perch, crappie and some pan-size kokanee from the boat launch to the dam. This is the area the fish have been schooling. Anglers are using mostly worms and maggots

SPANAWAY has been producing limits of trout from 10 inches to two pounds for boat anglers still-fishing early in the morning. Orange and chartreuse Power Bait, marshmallows and garlic scented worms have been the baits of choice.

Bank angling has been spotty, but some limits have been taken by anglers fishing off the dock. Early morning hours have been the best bite period.

AMERICAN: Trout fishing has been very slow, but perch are biting well everywhere in the lake. Perch catches have been ranging from very small to one pound. Worms on the bottom have been the best bait.

Fishing has been spotty at OFFUT LAKE. Some trout are being caught, but the bite has been on and off.

Warm water species have been biting well, Becky Pogue of Offut Lake Resort said. Garlic scented worms seem to be working best with best bite during morning hours and late in the evening.

HARTS LAKE: Perch and crappie have been very active. Trout fishing has been slow and bass fair. Worms appear to be working best.

SPENCER: Anglers have been catching a few trout weighing in the mid-teens. Rainbow Power Bait on the bottom with a slip sinker has been the best method.

FLY FISHING

Trout fishing some of the smaller Capitol Forest streams has proven to be productive for a few adventurous anglers, Tom Bolender of Fishy Business said.

The canopy over the small streams helps keep the water cool enough for the fish to still be active. Although you are not likely to catch a trophy fish to remember for a lifetime, with a lightweight fly rod or ultralight spinning outfit even a small trout can be great time.

A Godard caddis, parachute Adams or small muddler minnow are all great pattern choices.

The Deschutes, Nisqually and Skookumchuck are low, but fish still have to eat. With the warm weather early in the summer a grass hopper pattern is sure to catch a few nice fish.

Steelhead reports from two anglers came in over the past week. One was fishing the Cowlitz and was able to catch two fish over the course of three visits. He was swinging a stonefly pattern.

The other angler was fishing the Wynoochee with a corkie and shrimp tail and picked up at least one fish in each of his four visits.

Offut Lake has been a little more productive than many lakes over the past week. One angler reported catching a 22-inch rainbow than ran him into his backing. A bead-head mini-leech was the fly, and trolling was the technique.

Ward Lake has been producing well especially close to the boat launch. A simple hare's ear is the fly to use.

Some nice sea-run cutthroat have been caught recently using Zonkers and Clousers. The fish seem to be spread out so drifting shore lines has been the best way to catch good numbers of fish.

Pink salmon have shown up at the Hoodsport hatchery. The numbers are small right now, but over the next weeks there sure to be lots of fish. Any small pink fly will generally work.

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