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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

February 7, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Columbia River region fishing reports show steelhead in Cowlitz, and first spring chinook landed in Lower Columbia


Cowlitz River – 13 bank anglers kept 3 steelhead and released 2. Best success seems to be the ADA anglers near Blue Creek boat ramp. No boat anglers were interviewed.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 121 winter-run steelhead, three coho adults, and one cutthroat during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released one coho adult and 10 winter-run steelhead at the Lake Scanewa Day Use Site above Cowlitz Falls Dam and five winter-run steelhead and one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 9,020 cubic feet per second on Monday, February 6.

Washougal River – 53 bank anglers kept 3 steelhead and released 1 hatchery and 2 wild fish. 10 boat anglers kept 2 steelhead and released 5 wild fish.

Lower Columbia mainstem from Buoy 10 to the I-5 Bridge – We didn’t sample any fish but staff did observe a springer caught off Caterpillar yesterday. Upriver four-year-old based on Visual Stock Identification.

Quite a few anglers were out prospecting last Saturday. 34 boats and 58 bank anglers were counted during the effort flight count on Feb. 4.

Bonneville Pool – No effort.

The Dalles Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged nearly 2 steelhead per rod while bank anglers averaged one per every 4 rods. About half the fish were kept.

John Day Pool – No catch from the half dozen bank anglers sampled.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – No legals were checked last week.

Some anglers were out sturgeon fishing last Saturday too. 27 boats and 22 bank anglers were counted during the effort flight count.

Bonneville Pool – Fishing was slower last week with boat anglers averaging a legal kept per every 14 rods. Fishing from the bank was even slower.

Through February 5, an estimated 831 legals had been kept. The 2011 guideline was 2,000 fish. The guidelines for 2012 have not been finalized yet.

The Dalles Pool – No legals were sampled last week.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals; fishing was slow from the bank.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon are scheduled to assess sturgeon seasons in all three pools Feb. 7.

Walleye and Bass

Bonneville Pool – The couple boat anglers sampled did well for walleye. No effort was observed for bass.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged a walleye per every 3 rods when including fish released. No effort was observed for bass.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers averaged about ½ walleye kept per rod. No effort was observed for bass.


Kress Lake near Kalama – 41 surplus adult hatchery winter steelhead were released there last week. No report on angling success.


Lots of birds and seals observed around Cottonwood Island and Kalama on Saturday.

Fishing for Columbia River smelt will remain closed in both fresh and saltwater statewide. In 2010, the federal government declared eulachon a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act.



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