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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

February 23, 2011 at 7:48 PM

More large spring chinook up to 30 pounds caught in the Lower Columbia, but still on the slow side

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Just got an update on the Columbia River region fishing reports and here is the lowdown.

“A few more spring chinook guys out and there was 72 boats and over 200 bank anglers too,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Vancouver. “Most of the water is pretty dirty below the Cowlitz and Willamette (rivers), and there is ribbon of clear water between Woodland and Vancouver that is producing some good sized spring chinook (some close to 30 pounds) steelhead.”

Overall Hymer says it is still slow, and probably not worth the long drive down south just yet.

“There are more folks out prospecting,” Hymer said.

Salmon and Steelhead

Cowlitz River – No report on angling success.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 64 winter-run steelhead, one winter-run steelhead jack and one cutthroat trout during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 11 winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and they released seven winter-run steelhead and one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 8,750 cubic feet per second on Monday, February 22. Water visibility is two feet.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the I-5 Bridge downstream – The 3 bank anglers sampled in the Longview area had no catch. Some spring Chinook and large hatchery winter run steelhead were reportedly caught.

Effort is increasing with 72 salmon boats and over 210 bank anglers counted during the Saturday Feb. 19 flight. Over half the boats were counted from Woodland to Vancouver. Majority of the bank effort was on the Oregon side. Both the Willamette and mainstem Columbia below the Cowlitz were reported to be turbid.

Bonneville Pool – No salmon anglers were found in the sample.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged nearly 2 steelhead per rod when including wild fish released. Bank anglers were also catching some steelhead.

John Day Pool – Bank anglers are catching some steelhead. Light effort and catch for boat anglers.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – 6 bank anglers just below Bonneville had no catch as did the two bank anglers sampled in the Longview area. Effort was a little higher with 66 boats counted during last Saturday’s effort flight count. The largest concentration of boats was around the Vancouver area.

Bonneville Pool – Closed to sturgeon retention through the end of the year. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted.

The Dalles and John Day pools – Slow for legal size fish.

Walleye and Bass

Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day pools – Boat anglers are catching some walleye. Little or no effort for bass.


Klineline Pond – 29 bank anglers kept one 6.5 pound brood stock rainbow.

Carlisle Lake near Onalaska – Planted with 30 rainbows averaging 5 pounds each on Feb. 15. Open to fishing through the end of February.

Rowland Lake near Lyle – Planted with 330 rainbows averaging 1.6 pounds each Feb. 16. Open to fishing through the end of February.

(Photo taken by Mark Harrison, Seattle Times staff photographer)



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