As some waters close, Cowlitz gets hotter and busier

Closures are starting to take effect, so anglers are having to start changing waters. Hot spots such as the lower Columbia River and the Hoh River have shut down in the past week, so you can expect to see more people on the Cowlitz River, which continues to fish well. Helping spread the pressure will be Saturday's opening of the lowland lake trout season.


Columbia: Fishing for spring chinook and steelhead is closed in the lower river from the Buoy 10 line upstream to Bonneville Dam. Spring chinook are beginning to move upstream and should be available in the Bonneville Dam area and in The Dalles and John Day pools, according to a state report. A few legal-size sturgeon are being caught by boat and bank anglers in the gorge as well as in the Portland-to-Longview area. Walleye angling is good in The Dalles Pool.

Cowlitz: The fishing continues to get better. The steelhead fishing near Blue Creek and below has been very good to excellent. Bank and boat anglers are picking up their limits in no time, said Marshall Borsom of Fish Country. A bobber and jig, a corky and yarn, divers with bait and sand shrimp are all working well. The spring chinook fishing near Barrier Dam also is picking up. A gob of eggs under a bobber was working well last weekend.

Olympic Coast: The Soleduc and Quillayute are up and are still fishing well, said Dave Steinbaugh of Waters West. Anglers are catching some bright spring chinook and steelhead. The Hoh closed Thursday. The Bogachiel would be the best bet for steelhead, Steinbaugh said.

Yakima: Runoff from the Teanaway River has discolored the river below the confluence, making the upper river a busy place, said Jim Gallagher of Yakima River Fly Shop. March brown duns continue to hatch early in the afternoon, and there also have been some golden stonefly adults and salmon fly nymphs migrating toward shore.


Chelan: The most effective method has been trolling for lake trout during mid-morning hours through the “potholes” in the area downlake of The Bar. A U20 luminous chartreuse Flatfish fished on a downrigger continues to be productive, said Anton Jones of Darrell and Dad’s Family Guide Service. Kokanee fishing should improve now that water temperatures have reached 50 degrees.

Kapowsin: The fishing for holdover rainbow trout has been good, with some fish weighing 2 pounds. Try using Power Bait and worms or trolling a small spoon tipped with a worm, said Harry Erickson of Erickson boat rentals. Bass fishing has been a bit slow, although a 5-pounder was caught within the past few days. Panfishing for crappie has been better than the action for bluegill.

Mayfield: There are good reports of nice-size trout being caught. Marshmallows and nightcrawlers were working well for the bank anglers, and Wedding Rings tipped with cocktail shrimp have been successful for the trollers.

Offut: The fishing for largemouth bass has been pretty good. One angler reported on that he caught two fish that weighed 41/2 pounds. Offut Lake Resort is holding its opening weekend derby Friday through Sunday. The derby is open to resort campers and day-pass anglers. Tickets are $1.

Riffe: The lake level is starting to rise, and the bite has been good near the dam. There are reports that limits of silvers were caught last weekend. Try using a nightcrawler and/or cocktail shrimp 5 to 15 feet under a bobber.

Rufus Woods: Anglers are having a lot of success fishing for triploid rainbows with a jig and float. Jones said to locate the fish by trolling flies, then work the schools with a sized-down jig-and-bobber presentation.


South Sound: The fishing is slowly starting to pick up, but it remains spotty at best, said a staffer at Narrows Marina Bait & Tackle.

Tacoma: There have been some signs of improvement, but fishing remains slow overall. Try off Point Dalco and Quartermaster Harbor on incoming tides and off the clay banks and “the shelf” on outgoing tides, said Art Tachell of Point Defiance Boathouse Marina. A state creel report Saturday counted 33 anglers with 10 chinook.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640