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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

September 5, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Columbia River regional fishing reports


Cowlitz River – Anglers are primarily catching fall Chinook near the mouth and at the barrier dam while steelhead are being caught near the mouth and at the trout hatchery.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 254 spring Chinook adults, 15 jacks, 131 fall Chinook adults, 15 jacks, 225 summer-run steelhead, ten sea-run cutthroat trout, one coho adult, one coho jack, and one sockeye salmon during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 97 spring Chinook adults and four jacks into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, 149 spring Chinook adults, eleven jacks, 29 fall Chinook adults, seven jacks, and one coho jack into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood and 13 spring Chinook mini-jacks into Riffe Lake at the Mossyrock Park boat launch.

A total of 102 fall Chinook adults, eight jacks, one coho adult, and five sea-run cutthroat trout were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton during the week.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,460 cubic feet per second on Monday, September 3. River flows may go lower on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Boaters and anglers should be aware and be careful of the low flows.

Kalama and Washougal rivers – Slow the one day of sampling on both rivers last week but fall Chinook are present.

North Fork Lewis River – No report on angling success. Wild Chinook may be retained beginning Sept. 15.

Ten adult and five jack coho had returned to Lewis River Salmon Hatchery as of August 29.

Wind River from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls to Moore Bridge (except closed 400 feet below to 100 feet above the coffer dam) – Under permanent rules, scheduled to open for catch-and-release for all game fish (including steelhead) beginning Sept. 16. Selective gear rules will be in effect.

Drano Lake – Boat anglers are catching fall Chinook and some steelhead. Effective September 15, anglers may fish with two poles with a two pole endorsement.

Klickitat River – Bank anglers below the Fisher Hill Bridge are catching fall Chinook.

Buoy 10 – Coho are catches are improving. Closed for fall Chinook retention until October 1.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line to Bonneville Dam – During the first 3 days of September we sampled 1,099 salmonid anglers (including 342 boats) with 279 adult and 24 jack fall Chinook, 12 steelhead, and 6 adult coho. 278 (99%) of the adult Chinook, 10 (83%) of the steelhead, and 2 (33%) of the adult coho were kept.

Salmonid boat effort really ramped up over the holiday weekend with over 1,800 boats counted during last Saturday’s effort flight count.

Through Sept. 9, the daily limit is six fish per day – including two adult salmon, two adult steelhead or one of each. Only one of the adult salmon may be a chinook. Anglers may keep any chinook, but must release any coho salmon or steelhead that is not marked with a clipped adipose fin.

Starting Sept. 10, rules for adult chinook retention in those waters will change in at least two ways.

Anglers can retain two adult chinook as part of their daily limit from a line from the Warrior Rock lighthouse through Red Buoy #4 to the orange marker atop the dolphin on the Washington shore at Bachelor Island upstream to Bonneville Dam.

Below this line, permanent rules require anglers to release chinook salmon through Sept. 30 – although there may be an exception to this rule. Fishery managers have agreed to allow a pilot mark-selective fishery for chinook Sept. 10-16 from Rocky Point/Tongue Point line to the Warrior Rock line – if all other sport fisheries can meet their management objectives. In any case, anglers will be allowed to retain two adult chinook in that area beginning Oct. 1.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Light effort during the current catch-and-release only fishery.

The Dalles Pool – Bank anglers are catching some legals.

Walleye and Bass

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Only 7 boats were observed during last Saturday’s effort flight count.

The Dalles Pool – Bank and boat anglers are catching some bass.



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