This is the weekend to introduce a family member or friend to fishing. The forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s. Most importantly, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold its annual free fishing weekend Saturday and Sunday.
No license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing. Anglers also will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish with two poles on thousands of lakes statewide, nor will they need a Columbia River salmon and steelhead endorsement, otherwise required to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries, said a department news release.
Other rules, such as size limits, bag limits and closures, will still be in effect. Anglers will also be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead or sturgeon they catch.
Columbia: From the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the Interstate 5 bridge, the steelhead catch has improved the past couple of days. At Chinook and Ilwaco, charter boat anglers averaged a legal sturgeon kept for every 5.1 rods while private boat anglers averaged one for every 7.4 rods. The few shad anglers aboard boats sampled in the Camas/Washougal area kept about a fish per rod. Daily counts topped 70,000 fish at Bonneville Dam Monday.
Cowlitz: The fishing is slow these days. People fishing near the barrier dam are catching a few spring chinook (some are dark), but they are having to put in lots of time, said Marshall Borsom at Fish Country. Free-drifting eggs, sometimes with sand shrimp, seems to be working the best. Summer-run steelhead are being caught near the dam, mostly on sand shrimp or corky and yarn.
Klickitat: When the lower river was in shape, the action was good for bright spring chinook and steelhead. Flows are projected to be above the long-term mean the next several days, according to a state report.
Lewis: Effort and catch continues to be light, though steelhead are being caught by bank anglers at the salmon hatchery, said a state report.
Yakima: Bouncing water flows might have put off the fish. The staff at Red’s Fly Shop said the bite doesn’t begin until late afternoon and they have been hooking fish around 12 inches long.
Chelan: Trolling the Bar with Flatfish in either luminous chartreuse or purple glow in the T-4 size is effective for big lake trout early in the morning, and between the Bar and Rocky Point is productive later in the morning, said Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad’s Family Guide Service. Anglers are catching some kokanee in Mill Bay.
Mayfield: The lake is producing good numbers of trout limits, mostly by boat anglers pulling pop gear with Wedding Rings.
Omak: Anglers are finding Lahontan cutthroat are just coming off the spawn, Jones said. He recommends fishing the shallow end of the bays at either end of the lake.
Riffe: The fishing for landlocked coho is still very good, with limits being caught quickly near the dam on both sides. If worms and cocktail shrimp aren’t working, try throwing lures such as Kastmasters or Super Dupers, Borsom said. A state report said bank anglers averaged 1.5 coho per rod.
Fly fishing: The beach fishing has been fair to good when the weather has been stable, said Blake Merwin at Gig Harbor Fly Shop. He said there are plenty of small searun cutthroat trout, with some larger fish if you get away from the creek mouths. There also are some resident coho showing up.
Tacoma: The fishing has been fair the last few days. A 21-pounder was brought in Monday, said Ian Stewart at Point Defiance Boathouse Marina. A state report showed 211 anglers were checked Saturday at Point Defiance, and they had 30 chinook, 11 ling cod and two cabezon. Try mooching and jigging early in the day in water 120 feet deep, then moving to 140 to 180 feet deep later in the day.
Ilwaco and Westport: Salmon fishing opens Saturday. Throughout June, fishing will be seven days per week with a two-fish bag for Chinook only.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure