Fishing decent for steelhead, spring chinook

Weekend reports have been mixed, with talk of really good fishing for steelhead and spring chinook on the Cowlitz to slow action for Puget Sound blackmouth. Anglers willing to make a trip could try a mix of eastside lakes and steelhead fishing on the upper Columbia River.


Columbia: The salmon fishing has been average in the past week, said a staffer at Bob’s Sporting Goods. The few fish in the river is typical of this time of year. The steelhead fishing using baited jigs continues to be good on Lake Pateros. The season in that area will close March 31.

Cowlitz: The fishing continues to improve, said Marshall Borsom of Fish Country. The number of fish being caught is growing steadily. Borsom said there have been several springers being taken at Barrier Dam with anglers using eggs. The steelhead fishing has really picked up also. Boat anglers at Blue Creek and below seem to be doing the best. They are pulling divers with red coon striped shrimp.

Kalama: The river visibility has improved in the past few days, but the color is a bit milky, said Wayne Orzel at Pritchard’s Western Angler. Keep heading upstream until you find clearer water. Orzel said he expects flows to be good by midweek. There should be some spring chinook entering the river with the recent high flows.

Olympic Coast: The fishing has been pretty good for steelhead, said Bob Gooding at Olympic Sporting Goods. There have been a few reports of a few spring chinook being caught. The Hoh, Sol Duc and Calawah are the best bets, while the Bogachiel has been a little slower.

Satsop: The steelhead fishing has been good in the past week. The reports have been similar from the Wynoochee. Side drifting yarn balls has been an effective method.

Skookumchuck: The steelhead action has been slow overall, although river conditions were slowly improving over the weekend.

Yakima: Warmer temperatures and a lower than normal snow pack have made for some great early season fly fishing, said Jim Gallagher at the Yakima River Fly Shop. The skwala stonefly hatch has been very good in the past week. Blue-winged olives, midges and winter stoneflies are also out in abundance. Gallagher said the dry fly fishing in the upper river has been some of the best he’s seen in a few years.


Alder: The fishing has been slow and there have been very few anglers checking in, said Len Throup at Eatonville Outdoor.

Chelan: The best action has been in the lower basin from Rocky Point down to Pat and Mike’s, said Anton Jones of Darrell and Dad’s Family Guide Service. The best of this bite has been from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Eastside: Fishing has been mixed at lakes like Lenore, but it has been fishing better than it has in recent years, said Darce Knobel at the Desert Fly Angler. Lenice is fishing well, and is drawing quite a crowd in part because Nunnally has been slow.

Riffe: The lake is still producing limits of silvers fairly easily, Borsom said. Fish near the dam on the U.S. 12 side. Cocktail shrimp and night crawlers fished about 5 feet under a bobber is working well.

Washington: The fishing for cutthroat trout seems to have picked up, according to reports. The fish seem to be holding in water 20 to 30 feet down.


Hood Canal: The Dabob Bay/Seabeck area seems to be the place to be, said Tom Nelson of He said anglers are landing blackmouth, some of which are weighing in the low teens. Most fish are being caught by trolling with an Irish cream Coho Killer behind a Pro Troll Flasher 10 to 20 feet of the bottom.

North Sound: The blackmouth fishing has improved in the last week. Trolling a plug, spoon or hoochie behind a flasher in water 90 to 130 feet deep has been effective, said Gary Krein at All-Star Fishing Charters. Try at the south end of Camano Island, off Hat Island and off Point No Point.

Tacoma: The action has been spotty, said Art Tachell at Point Defiance Boathouse Marina. Some of the few blackmouth being caught are weighing in the teens. The fish seems scattered around the area, so the key has been finding. Fish in water 120 to 150 deep with flashers and spoons. The mooching and jigging should pick up in the coming weeks.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640