Here is the Columbia River regional fishing report by Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Vancouver:
Notice of Columbia River Compact/Joint State Hearing: ODFW & WDFW have scheduled a hearing for Wednesday January 30, 2013 at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel (8235 Northeast Airport Way Portland, Oregon) to discuss commercial and recreational seasons for spring Chinook and sturgeon.
Under permanent rules, Dec. 31 is the last day to fish for steelhead in Mill Creek (Cowlitz River tributary) and salmon in the Elochoman, Grays (including West Fork), Tilton, Washougal rivers, the mainstem Columbia from the I-5 Bridge upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco, and Drano and Mayfield lakes.
Effective Jan. 1, any Chinook kept must be adipose fin clipped on Deep, Lewis (including North Fork) rivers and the mainstem Columbia from the I-5 Bridge downstream. In addition, only 2 adult hatchery salmon may be retained daily on the lower Cowlitz and the adult daily limit is only 1 hatchery Chinook on the Kalama and Lewis rivers. Also, anglers are limited to one pole in Camas Slough and Drano Lake.
Cowlitz River – Anglers are catching steelhead, mainly around the trout hatchery but also in the lower river.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 112 coho adults, 13 jacks, 191 winter-run steelhead and two summer-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
A total of 16 coho adults, five jacks and 12 winter-run steelhead were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, 22 coho adults, 7 jacks and three winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam at the Day Use Site, and 14 coho adults and one jack into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 10,200 cubic feet per second on Monday, December 24. Water visibility is seven feet.
Kalama River – Anglers are catching some steelhead.
Lewis River – Some fall Chinook are still being caught though most were released. Improving for steelhead around the salmon hatchery on the North Fork. Flows below Merwin Dam have been between 5,500 and 6,000 cfs the past several days.
Washougal River – Anglers are catching some steelhead though quite a few were wild fish that have to be released. Flows at Hathaway Park are currently around 2,000 cfs.
Mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 (including the North Jetty) upstream to the Washington/Oregon border 17 miles above McNary Dam – Effective January 1, 2013 until further notice, barbless hooks will be required to fish for salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout.
Annual limit – Until further notice, the annual limit in Washington remains 5 fish.
Lower Columbia from the mouth upstream to the Wauna powerlines including adjoining tributaries – Effective Jan. 1 until further notice, white sturgeon may be retained 7 days per week. Daily limit will be 1 fish, min. size 38″ fork length and max. 54″ fork length.
From a line between the upstream end of Sand Island (near Rooster Rock) on the Columbia River to a marker on the Oregon shore, downstream to a line between the lower end of Sand Island and a marker on the Oregon shore – Effective Jan. 1 through April 30, 2013, closed to all angling.
Lower Columbia from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam including adjoining tributaries – Effective Jan. 1 until further notice, open for retention on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only. Daily limit will be 1 white sturgeon, min. size 38″ fork length and max. 54″ fork length. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted on non-retention days.
Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam including adjoining tributaries -Effective Jan. 1, sturgeon may be retained 7 days per week. The daily limit will be 1 fish, min. size 38″ fork length and max. 54″ fork length.
In order to achieve split winter and summer seasons, the winter season will be managed for a harvest of approximately 1,150 fish or a Feb. 10 end date, whichever comes first.
The Dalles Dam to McNary Dam including adjoining tributaries- Effective Jan. 1, the daily limit will be 1 fish, min. size 43″ fork length and max. 54″ fork length.
Carlisle Lake near Onalaska – Planted with 30 five pound rainbows and 70 ten pounds Dec. 18. No report on angling success.
Silver Lake near Castle Rock – Planted with 4,000 catchable size rainbows Dec. 19. No report on angling success.
Lake Sacajawea in Longview – Planted with 3,007 catchable size rainbows Dec. 17. No report on angling success.
Klineline Pond – Planted with 2,000 half pound rainbows Dec. 17. No report on angling success.