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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 21, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Shad catches picking up in Lower Columbia, and many other fish biting elsewhere

Here is the latest fishing report from state Fish and Wildlife on the Columbia River region:

Salmon/Steelhead

Elochoman River from mouth to West Fork and Grays River from mouth to South Fork and West Fork from mouth to hatchery intake/footbridge – Under permanent rules, open to fishing for hatchery chinook and hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June (June 2nd this year).

Cowlitz River – Between the hatcheries remains best for spring chinook through fish are being caught throughout the river.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 71 winter-run steelhead, two jacks, 407 spring Chinook adults, 49, 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 98 spring Chinook adults, 16 jacks, and three winter-run steelhead at the Day Use Park in Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, 76 spring Chinook adults and nine jacks into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and 88 spring Chinook adults and 17 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 9,880 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 21. Water visibility is 11 feet.

Lake Scanewa (Cowlitz Falls Reservoir) – Beginning June 1, open to fishing for hatchery spring Chinook and hatchery rainbows.

Kalama River – Some spring chinook and steelhead are being caught. Through May 18, just 16 adult spring chinook, including 10 unmarked fish, had returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery. Through the same time last year, just 11 fish had returned. The hatchery escapement goal is 390 adults.

Lewis River – Effort and catches still remain light. Flows below Merwin Dam have nearly doubled today from about 3,000 cfs. to 5,500 cfs.

Through May 18, just 141 adults, including 4 unmarked fish, had returned to the traps. An estimated 200-500 fish are reported in the trap today. The hatchery escapement goal is 1,277 adults.

East Fork Lewis River from the mouth to 400 feet below Horseshoe Falls (except closures around various falls) and the Washougal River from the mouth to Salmon Falls Bridge – Under permanent rules these areas will be open to fishing with bait for hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June (June 2nd this year).

Washougal River – Bank anglers are catching some steelhead. Until today, low flows were making it difficult to drift by boat.

Wind River – Boat anglers were doing about the same as the previous week, a little better than a fish per every 3 rods. Very windy at times last week and the peak count only reached 80 boats. Anglers in the gorge are also catching some fish.

Through May 13 there have been an estimated 5,286 boat angler trips at the mouth of the Wind with 1,296 adult chinook kept and 53 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.

Through today (May 21), a total of 80 spring chinook had returned to Carson National Fish Hatchery. The hatchery escapement goal is 1,500 fish.

Drano Lake – Boat anglers averaged almost a fish per every 3 rods while bank anglers averaged one per every 6 rods.

The hatchery escapement goal of 1,000 fish has been met with 2,171 adults back to Little White Salmon Fish Hatchery through this morning.

Klickitat River – Including fish released, bank anglers from the Fisher Hill Bridge downstream averaged a fish per every other rod. Still some bright chinook being caught.

Flows at Pitt are currently 3,400 cfs. and expected to rise to 4,000 cfs. by tomorrow evening. Long term mean for the date is 2,500 cfs. Flows are expected to reach 4,600 cfs. by the end of the month.

Under permanent rules, the Klickitat River from the Fisher Hill Bridge downstream will open 7 days per week beginning June 1. The salmon daily limit will be 6 fish of which no more than 2 may be adults. Two hatchery steelhead may also be retained. Release wild chinook.

The section from 400 feet upstream from # 5 fishway upstream to boundary markers below the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery will open to fishing for hatchery chinook jacks and hatchery steelhead beginning June 1 under permanent rules. Again, release wild chinook.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Rocky Point /Tongue Point upstream to the I-5 Bridge – Last week we sampled 269 salmonid anglers (including 20 boats) with 1 jack spring Chinook and 9 steelhead kept and 8 adult spring Chinook released. Of the adult Chinook released, 7 were hatchery and 1 was wild.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia from the Marker 82 line downstream – We sampled 79 sturgeon anglers (including 23 boats) with 6 legals kept. Five of the legals were sampled in the estuary; the other in the Camas/Washougal area.

The Dalles Pool – Based on incomplete information, slow for legal size fish.

Walleye and Bass

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers are catching some walleye in the Camas/Washougal area.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers caught some walleye based on incomplete information.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers averaged a walleye and over 5 bass kept/released per rod. Bank anglers were catching some bass.

Shad

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers in the Kalama area averaged nearly a dozen shad per rod. Bank anglers in the Camas/Washougal area were also catching some shad. Bonneville Dam daily counts are now >1,000 fish per day.

Trout

Kress Lake near Kalama – 20 surplus hatchery adult winter steelhead were planted in the lake last Friday May 18.

Kidney Lake near North Bonneville – Planted with 1,536 catchable size rainbows May 14.

Spearfish Lake near Dallesport – Planted with 2,010 catchable size and 10 ten pound rainbows May 14.

Plants of catchable size rainbows scheduled for SW WA streams that open June 2:

Skate Creek – 18,750 (June-Aug.)

Tilton River – 18,750 (June-Aug.)

Canyon Creek (Clark Co.) – 5,000 (June)

Bird Creek (Klickitat Co.) -1,500 (May)

Bowman Creek (Klickitat Co.) – 1,000 (May)

Outlet Creek (Klickitat Co.) – 1,000 (May)

Spring Creek (Klickitat Co.) – 3,000 (May)

Little White Salmon River (Skamania Co.) – 3,000 (May)

Plants of catchable size rainbows and other trout scheduled for SW WA lakes:

Scanewa (Cowlitz Falls Reservoir) – 20,000 (June-Aug.)

Mayfield – 65,000 (May-Aug.)

Council – 4,000 (Summer)

Goose – 1,000 browns and 6,000 cutthroats (Summer)

Takhlakh – 4,000 (Summer)

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