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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 16, 2009 at 5:10 PM

The latest bite on the Columbia River and tributaries

Here are fishing results from this past week in the Columbia River and its tributaries:


Cowlitz River – Bank anglers near the barrier dam are catching some spring Chinook while boat anglers around Blue Creek are catching some summer run steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 109 spring Chinook adults, 60 jacks, and 73 summer-run steelhead during five days of adult fish collection efforts at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the week Tacoma Power employees released 38 spring Chinook adults and 46 into the upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge and two spring Chinook adults and one jack into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam.

Cowlitz River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 7,960 cubic feet per second on Monday, June 15. Water visibility is over seven feet.

Kalama River – No report on steelhead angling success. Through June 10, a total of 180 hatchery and 37 wild summer run steelhead had returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery.

Kalama spring Chinook adult returns continue to be below the hatchery escapement goal. Through June 10, just 60 of the 500 fish needed for brood stock had returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery.

Lewis River – No report on steelhead angling success. Through today, nearly 600 hatchery summer run steelhead had returned to the Merwin Dam trap. Eighteen adult spring Chinook were in the trap today resulting in just under 1,000 fish for the season. Up to 1,250 fish are needed to fulfill the program needs.

Washougal River – Anglers are reported to be doing well for steelhead, in particular for “recycled” fish. Through June 10, a total of 442 hatchery steelhead had been recycled downstream.

Wind River – Bank anglers in the gorge and upper river continue to catch some spring Chinook but effort has dropped to almost nothing. Through today (Monday June 15), a total of 1,699 adults had returned to Carson National Fish Hatchery. The goal of 1,200 fish has been met.

Drano Lake – Light effort and no catch observed.

Klickitat River – Bank anglers continue to catch a mix of spring Chinook and summer run steelhead. The river up to the salmon hatchery is now open for hatchery adult Chinook retention.

Mainstem Columbia – Pretty heavy effort over the weekend and catches were good on the opener but have since slowed. Overall, bank anglers from I-5 downstream averaged a salmonid kept/released per every 6.8 rods based on mainly incomplete trips. Slower for boat anglers. Most of the catch were summer run steelhead followed by adult and jack Chinook (adults had to be released) and sockeye.

Effective today (June 16), the mainstem Columbia from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco will be open to fishing for Chinook jacks (adipose fin clipped or not), hatchery steelhead, and sockeye. From June 22 through July 5, adult summer Chinook may be retained below Bonneville Dam and beginning July 1 from Bonneville Dam upstream.

During the Saturday June 13 flight, a total of 333 WA and 241 bank anglers were counted from the I-5 Bridge downstream.

Lower Columbia flows have dropped over the past week. Through Sunday (June14), the average flows at Bonneville Dam were 250,000 cfs. Less than a week ago, flows had been in the 350,000 cfs range. Flows are expected to remain lower for at least the next week and a half.


Lower Columbia from the mouth to the Wauna power lines – Boat anglers sampled at the Deep River ramp averaged a legal kept per about every 5 rods. Bank anglers were catching a few legals.

Data from the ports of Chinook and Ilwaco should be available by Wednesday.

Effort was high during the past weekend with almost 700 private boats and a couple dozen charters counted during the Saturday June 13 flight. It should be noted there was a sturgeon derby in Chinook that day.

Lower Columbia from the Wauna power lines to Marker 85 – Boat anglers in the Longview area are finding some keepers as are bank anglers in Woodland.


Tacoma Power continues to release catchable rainbow trout in the Cowlitz River area. Last week trout from the Nisqually Trout Farms were stocked into Skate Creek and into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, Washington.

Swofford Pond and Mayfield Lake – Bank anglers are catching some rainbows.

Riffe Lake – Bank anglers are catching landlocked coho and steelhead.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers in the Kalama and gorge areas averaged nearly 3 shad per rod. Bank anglers in the Camas/Washougal area averaged just over a fish per rod.

Through June 14, over a million shad had been counted at Bonneville Dam. In comparison, just over a third of a million fish had been tallied by this time last year.



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