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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

November 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Winter steelhead making their annual appearance in rivers and streams

Winterfish

The first signs of winter steelhead are showing up in Western Washington rivers, and should improve as more fish begin to arrive.

“We’re still seeing some winter steelhead on a few rivers like the Washougal, Kalama and Cowlitz,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “They are on time and we’ll see how the seson shakes out.”

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 19 winter-run steelhead at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. As of Nov.  19 the first hatchery winter-run steelhead of the season had arrived at the Lewis River Salmon Hatchery. Seven hatchery winter-run steelhead had returned to the Skamania Hatchery through Nov. 16.

In Southwest Washington, the Grays River mainstem from the Highway 4 Bridge to South Fork and West Fork Grays River from mouth to 300 yards below hatchery road bridge opens Sunday, Dec. 1 to fishing for hatchery steelhead, hatchery coho, and adipose and/or ventral fin clipped Chinook. The Grays mainstem below the Highway 4 Bridge and West Fork from 300 yards below the salmon hatchery road bridge upstream to the hatchery intake/footbridge are already open.

Hump33

The Green River, North Fork Toutle River, and mainstem Toutle River from mouth to forks is the last day to fish for hatchery steelhead and hatchery salmon is Saturday, Nov. 30.

In the South Fork Toutle River from 4100 Bridge upstream the last day to fish for hatchery steelhead is Saturday, Nov. 30. The section from the 4700 Bridge to the 4100 Bridge remains open but selective gear rules will be in effect beginning Sunday, Dec. 1.

Beginning Sunday, Dec. 1, Mill Creek a tributary to the Cowlitz River, opens to fishing for hatchery steelhead from the mouth to the salmon hatchery road crossing culvert. Night closures and anti-snagging rules will be in effect for the one month fishery.

In Western Washington more winter steelhead are beginning to show up as well.

“It is finally starting to happen for winter steelhead, and they’re showing up in catches on the Lower Skykomish and up at Reiter Ponds,” said Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood.

Traditionally, the Thanksgiving period is when anglers begin trekking to the banks of the Skykomish, Snohomish and Skagit. Some rivers won’t open until Dec. 1, so anglers should check the regulation pamphlets for specifics.

Places that usually signal the start are the beaches off the west side of Whidbey Island at Bush and Lagoon points, but the fish have been a no show of late.

The northern Olympic Peninsula coastal streams have started to see a few winter-run fish on the Lower Calawah, Bogachiel, Quinault, Quillayute, Salmon and Queets. In the Southwest Washington coastal streams a few winter steelhead along with some late coho showed up in the Chehalis, Satsop and Wynoochee.

 

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