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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 26, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Walleye and bass are good fishing alternative on Columbia River, along with some steelhead

Here is a rundown on fishing activities in the Columbia River region as reported by state Fish and Wildlife:

In the Cowlitz River steelhead were mainly being caught around the trout hatchery while spring chinook were being caught in the lower river.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 913 winter-run steelhead, four summer-run steelhead, 17 adult spring chinook and five jack spring chinook during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 39 steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, 12 winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and seven winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 10,100 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 25. Water visibility is seven feet.

Anglers should note the south side of the river from Mill Creek to the Barrier Dam is closed to all fishing from May 1 through June 15 per permanent regulations.

In the Kalama River winter and summer run steelhead were being caught. Some spring chinook were caught in the lower river.

In Lewis River effort and catches are light, although a few spring chinook were reported caught. A half dozen spring chinook returned to the Merwin Dam fish trap last week.

In the Wind River, the few anglers sampled at the mouth had no catch. Eight boats observed here last Saturday morning.

The upper river from 100′ feet above Shipherd Falls upstream to 800 yards below Carson National Fish Hatchery (except closed 400′ below and 100′ above the Coffer Dam) opens to fishing for salmon and hatchery steelhead beginning May 1. Any chinook, adipose fin clipped or not, may be kept from this section of river. A night closure will be in effect in this section of river. In addition, the anti-snagging rule will be in effect from the Burlington-Northern Railroad Bridge upstream beginning May 1. When the anti-snagging rule is in effect, only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

In Drano Lake boat anglers were catching some spring chinook, and 28 boats were counted here last Saturday morning.

In the Klickitat River a few summer run steelhead are being caught but no spring chinook yet.

In Bonneville Pool bank anglers sampled just outside Drano had no catch.

In The Dalles Pool bank anglers were catching some spring chinook and steelhead. Through April 24, there have been an estimated 903 angler trips with 34 chinook kept and 27 released.

In the John Day Pool an estimated 14 adult hatchery spring chinook were harvested in the John Day Pool (Lake Umatilla) this past week by anglers. State Fish and Wildlife staff interviewed 56 anglers and sampled one hatchery spring chinook. No wild chinook or any other species were reported. Very few boat anglers are targeting on chinook, but several bank anglers are currently fishing the Oregon shore line below McNary.

In Bonneville Dam to the WA/OR border is open to fishing for hatchery chinook and hatchery steelhead through May 1.

In the Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam sturgeon fishing was slow. Effort increased slightly with just over 100 boats and just under 50 bank anglers counted during the Saturday April 23rd effort flight count.

Mainstem Columbia and its tributaries from Buoy 10 to the Wauna powerlines (including all adjacent Washington tributaries) is catch-and-release only May 1-13. From May 14-June 26 and July 1-4, the daily limit is one fish. Minimum size will be 41-inch fork length and maximum size 54-inch fork length. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted on non-retention days.

In Bonneville Dam downstream 9 miles to a line crossing the Columbia from Navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore through the upstream exposed end of Skamania Island, continuing in a straight line to a boundary marker on the Washington shore is closed to fishing for sturgeon May 1-Aug. 31 under permanent rules to protect spawning fish.

In The Dalles Pool bank anglers were catching some legal-sized sturgeon. Slow for legal size fish for boat anglers.

Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from John Day Dam downstream 5.4 miles to the west end of the grain silo at Rufus, Oregon May 1-July 31.

In the John Day Pool four boats with eight anglers released one sturgeon in the current catch-and-release only fishery.

Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from McNary Dam downstream 1.5 miles to Hwy. 82 (Hwy. 395) Bridge May 1-July 31.

In The Dalles Pool including walleye released, boat anglers averaged four walleye per rod. Bank and boat anglers are catching some bass.

In the John Day Pool seven boats with 12 anglers had eight walleye, and three boats with six anglers had five bass.

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