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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM

State Fish and Wildlife Columbia River regional fishing reports

Salmon/Steelhead

Anglers should be aware March 15 is the last day to fish for steelhead on Abernathy, Cedar (Clark Co.), Germany, Mill (Cowlitz Co.), Rock (Skamania Co.), Salmon (Clark Co.) creeks and on the Coweeman, Elochoman, Grays, East Fork Lewis, and South Fork Toutle rivers.

Cowlitz River – 35 boat anglers with 1 adult spring Chinook and 12 steelhead kept and 1 steelhead released.  20 bank anglers kept 1 hatchery steelhead.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 119 winter-run steelhead and one cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 44 steelhead and one cutthroat into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 12,200 cubic feet per second on Monday, March 10. Water visibility is five feet.

Washougal River – 7 boat anglers with 1 hatchery steelhead kept and 1 wild fish released.  9 bank anglers with 2 wild steelhead released.

Saturday March 15 is the last day to fish for winter steelhead.  Mt. Norway Bridge downstream re-opens April 16 under selective gear rules (no bait).

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – SLOW!  Despite sampling 100 boats and just over 100 bank anglers we only checked 1 steelhead last week.  In fact, we still haven’t sampled our first spring Chinook of the season.

Effort is increasing with just over 100 boats and nearly 200 bank anglers found during last Saturday’s effort flight count.

Bonneville and John Day pools – No salmonid effort was observed.

The Dalles Pool – Boats are catching some steelhead though overall effort is light.

Bonneville Dam to Washington/Oregon Border – Effective March 16 through May 9, open to fishing for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead.  Bank fishing only from Bonneville Dam to Tower Island power lines located about 6 miles below The Dalles Dam. The adult salmonid limit will be 2 fish of which no more than one may be a hatchery Chinook.

Hanford Reach – Fishing has finally improved in the Ringold area steelhead sport fishery.  This past week WDFW staff interviewed 26 anglers (14 bank, 12 boat) with 18 steelhead (all hatchery).  Bank anglers averaged 16 hours per fish and bank anglers did much better at <6 hours per fish.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Only a couple sturgeon boats observed last Saturday but anglers are catching and releasing some legals in the Woodland area.

Bonneville Pool – Now closed for retention.  Catch-and-release fishing is permitted on non-retention days.  A summer retention period is planned for some time in June.

The Dalles and John Day pools – Bank and boat anglers are catching some legals.  Through Feb., an estimated 12 (4%) of The Dalles and 24 (4.8%) of the John Day pool guidelines had been taken.

Walleye and Bass

Bonneville Pool – No effort for either specie.

The Dalles and John Day pools – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged nearly 2 and 1 walleye per rod, respectively.  No bass were caught.

Trout

Recent plants of rainbows up to almost ½ pound each (no report on angling success):

Lake Sacajawea in Longview – 3,583 fish March 4;

Battle Ground lake – 1,500 fish March 5;

Lacamas Lake in Camas – 4,000 fish March 4

Smelt

Cowlitz River – Dipping was excellent last Saturday with most ten pound limits in a few dips or less.  Fish were reported upstream to Blue Creek.  Fish are also reported in the North Fork Lewis River and upstream to Vancouver in the mainstem Columbia.

No more recreational fisheries are currently scheduled.

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