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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Plenty fishing fun happening in Columbia River region for steelhead, sturgeon and spring chinook


Cowlitz River – Spring Chinook are primarily being caught between the hatcheries but can be also found in the lower river.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 236 winter-run steelhead, 229 spring Chinook adults, 13 jacks and 56 summer-run steelhead during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 104 spring Chinook adults, ten jacks, and 9 winter-run steelhead at the Day Use Park in Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, five spring Chinook adults and three winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and 19 spring Chinook adults and two winter-run steelhead into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 9,440 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 14. Water visibility is 11 feet.

Kalama River – Some spring Chinook and steelhead are being caught.

Lewis River – Effort and catches are light. Flows below Merwin Dam are currently 5,510 cfs., about half of what they were a week ago.

Washougal River – Producing some summer run steelhead though a lot of fish are reported being lost.

Wind River – Effort and catches have been heavy. Including fish released, boat anglers at the mouth averaged better than an adult per every 3 rods. Some fish are also being caught in the gorge. Peak boat count for the week was 138.

Through May 6 there were an estimated 2,919 boat anglers trips with 256 Chinook kept and 6 released. With the increased fishing area at the mouth and the need to monitor any increase of catch of non-Carson fish, the weekly creel sampling and in-season effort/catch estimates are being provided by using the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement Fees.

As of this morning, no fish had reached Carson National Fish Hatchery.

Drano Lake – Boat anglers averaged an adult Chinook kept/released per every 4 rods while bank anglers averaged one per every 3 rods.

As of this morning, a total of 6 adults and 23 jacks had returned to Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery.

Klickitat River – Effort and catches are increasing. Bank anglers from Fish Hill Bridge (River Mile 2) downstream averaged an adult Chinook per every 3 rods when including fish released.

Flows at Pitt are currently 3,440 cfs., which is higher than the long term mean for this date (2,510 cfs).

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the I-5 Bridge – Will open as scheduled beginning May 16 for hatchery steelhead, hatchery Chinook jacks, and sockeye.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Sturgeon effort is increasing on the mainstem Columbia with 119 boats and 56 bank anglers counted during last Saturday’s (May 12) effort flight count. Included in the count were a couple dozen private boats and 3 charters on the retention opener below the Wauna powerlines. No report on how the boats did in the estuary; not much to report for catch for above Wauna.

The Dalles Pool – Bank anglers are catching some legals. Through April, an estimated 62 (20.7%) of the 300 fish guideline had been taken.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals. Sturgeon may be retained through May 20.

Walleye and Bass

The Dalles Pool – Boat and bank anglers are catching some walleye and bass.

John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat and bank anglers averaged nearly 10 and 8 bass kept/released per rod, respectively. Boat anglers were also catching some walleye.


Mayfield Lake – 65,000 catchable size rainbows are scheduled to be planted from May through August.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Will open as scheduled beginning May 16. However, with only a half dozen fish counted at Bonneville Dam and fairly high water, expect fishing to be slow on the opener.



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