Here is a rundown on the fishing scene in the Columbia River system and its tributaries from Joe Hymer, a biologist with the state Fish and Wildlife office in Vancouver.
Grays River – No report on angling success for hatchery steelhead below the Hwy. 4 Bridge. From the Hwy. 4 Bridge upstream to the South Fork and the West Fork from the mouth upstream to the hatchery intake/footbridge opens to fishing for hatchery steelhead Dec. 1, two weeks earlier than in recent years.
Cowlitz River – Effort and catches are light from Massey Bar downstream.
Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 3,135 coho adults, 118 jacks, 332 sea-run cutthroat trout, 77 winter-run steelhead, 60 summer-run steelhead, 14 fall Chinook adults and one chum salmon during seven days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the week Tacoma Power employees released 337 coho adults, five jacks, three fall Chinook adults and five cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, 864 coho adults and 52 jacks into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, 654 coho adults and 23 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood, and 533 coho adults and 18 jacks into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellowjacket Creek. A total of 408 hatchery-origin sea-run cutthroat trout and one unmarked summer-run steelhead adult were recycled downstream to the Barrier Dam boat launch.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 8,030 cubic feet per second on Monday, November 23. Water visibility is eight feet.
Blue and Mill creeks (tributaries to the Cowlitz) – Lower sections of these streams open to fishing for hatchery steelhead beginning December 1. In addition, hatchery sea run cutthroats may be kept on Blue Creek. See the 2009-2010 Fishing in Washington pamphlet for details.
Toutle River including North Fork and Green – November 30 is the last day to fish for salmon.
Kalama River – No report on angling success. Through November 18, four hatchery winter run steelhead had returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery. This compares to nearly 500 fish that had returned by this time last year.
Lewis River – Anglers continue to catch coho though the majority are dark fish which were released. The first 15 hatchery winter run steelhead of the season had returned to Lewis River traps as of November 18. In comparison, 52 fish had returned by this time last year.
Flows at Merwin Dam were 8,000 cfs this morning, down from last week’s high of nearly 12,000 cfs.
Washougal River – No reports on angling success. As of November 18, twenty-one hatchery winter run steelhead had returned to Skamania Hatchery. In comparison, twice as many fish had returned by a week earlier last year.
Klickitat River – Bank anglers on the lower river continue to catch coho though about half the fish were released. November 30 is the last day to fish for trout including hatchery steelhead on the Klickitat. However, salmon fishing remains open below the Fisher Hill Bridge while fishing for whitefish from fishway #5 upstream opens December 1. Special gear rules will be in effect for whitefish.
Lower Columbia mainstem from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam – Sturgeon catches have slowed in the gorge.
Swift Reservoir – November 30 is the last day to fish for trout and salmon.