Overall, steelhead returns are mixed in Southwest Washington, according to a state report. In general, hatchery returns are higher than last year from the Cowlitz downstream but lower from the Kalama to the Washougal.
The Cowlitz has seen a return of 2,189 steelhead, compared with 1,630 last year. The Lewis return of 1,724 fish is down from 2,673 last year.
This year’s steelhead count at Bonneville Dam through Friday is 329 – less than half the recent 10-year average of 694 fish.
Columbia: There have been few reports of any spring chinook being caught, although one Oregon recreational angler landed three in two days earlier in the week. The Bonneville Pool has been the best spot to catch steelhead and white sturgeon.
Cowlitz: Fishing has been good one day, bad the next, said Karen Glaser at Barrier Dam Campground. Some “B” run steelhead are being caught, mostly in the Blue Creek area. People are pulling plugs or using divers and baits, while bank anglers are using bobbers and jigs or bait.
Humptulips: This river and the Wynoochee are producing some good catches of hatchery steelhead, as well as some early-arriving wild fish, said Andy Shanks of Island Guide Services. He said they have been side-drifting eggs, pulling plugs and using pink worms.
Olympic Coast: Fishing has been pretty good, with some steelhead reaching the teens in weight. Side-drifting has been working well, but pulling plugs or fishing jigs under a float will work well if river levels drop.
Skookumchuck: The action has been hit-and-miss, but some people are catching steelhead. Fishing a red or pink jig under a bobber has been effective.
Yakima: Trout fishing has been fair to good. Skwala nymphs and streamers have been the most productive, said a staffer at Red’s Fly Shop.
Fly-fishing: Action for resident coho has been slow, while the action for sea-run cutthroat trout has been fair as some post-spawn fish are coming out of the creek, said a staffer at Gig Harbor Fly Shop. Remember that sea-runs are to be released when caught.
Tacoma: Fishing has been fair. People are having success when fishing the tide changes and bouncing downrigger balls on the bottom, said Tom Pollack at Sportco. He recommends using small lures like a Coho Killer in cookies and cream or Irish cream and adding small hoochies to the end.
Offut: Trout fishing should be pretty good. The lake was stocked this week with 1,000 11/2-pound rainbows, said Becky Pogue at Offut Lake Resort. Most anglers are using worms with a marshmallow or dough bait.
Spencer: This would be a good lake to try for trout. Try slowly trolling a Wedding Ring tipped with a worm or fish dough baits off the bottom.
Sammamish: Cutthroat trout action remains good to very good, and people are catching a number of kokanee as well. Try trolling a Flatfish behind a flasher, but keep it fairly shallow. The fish are holding in the top 15 feet of water.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640