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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

February 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Spring chinook starting to show in Lower Columbia River catches


Deep River from the mouth to town bridge – From March 1 through June 15, the daily limit for salmon may not include more than one hatchery adult chinook during those days when the adjacent waters of the mainstem Columbia River are open to retention of spring Chinook.

Cowlitz River – Not a whole lot of effort with the Cowlitz hovering around 11,000 cfs. 2 boats/6 anglers retained 3 late winter run steelhead near Blue Cr. 4 banks anglers had no fish.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 78 winter-run steelhead and three cutthroat trout during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 26 winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and released 13 steelhead and three cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 11,500 cubic feet per second on Monday, February 27. Water visibility is two feet.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the I-5 Bridge downstream – Boat anglers handled the 5 spring Chinook sampled of which 60% were released. Most of the fish were caught off Vancouver. Fishing from the bank is slow.

Mainstem Columbia from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam – Effective March 1 through April 6 (except closed March 20, March 27, and April 3), open to fishing for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead. Bank fishing only from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam. The adult salmonid limit will be 2 fish of which no more than one may be a hatchery Chinook.

No adult Chinook have been observed at Bonneville Dam since January 25 when one fish was counted.

River flows this winter/spring have been about average to date. Visibility at Bonneville Dam is normal but remains reduced in the lower river due to tributary influences. River temperatures in January were also normal but the February average is tracking at 38.7 F, compared to the 10-year average of 40.0 F.

The Dalles and John Day pools – Some steelhead are being caught.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Some legals were caught in the Camas/Washougal, Vancouver, and Kalama areas.

Bonneville Pool – Closed for sturgeon retention until further notice. Through Feb.17, an estimated 940 (47%) of the 2,000 fish guideline had been taken. It’s expected the remaining guideline will be taken later this summer.

The Dalles Pool – Slow for legal size fish.

John Day Pool – Bank and boat anglers are catching some legals.

Walleye and Bass

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers are catching some walleye. No effort observed for bass.

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


Kress Lake near Kalama – Planted with 5 hatchery steelhead Tuesday Feb. 21. No report on angling success.

Klineline Pond – 63 bank anglers kept 102 rainbows and released 3.

Shad – Effective March 1 through May 15, 2012, the mainstem Columbia River will be open for retention of shad ONLY during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook.



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