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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

February 3, 2015 at 8:08 AM

State Fish and Wildlife Columbia River regional fishing reports


Cowlitz River – 3 boat anglers kept 6 steelhead.  26 bank anglers kept 2 steelhead and released 1.

During five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator, last week Tacoma Power recovered:

107 coho adults and 2 jacks

49 winter-run steelhead

one spring Chinook

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released:

14 coho adults, two jacks and eight winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton

One spring Chinook and four winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 9,960 cubic feet per second on Monday, February 2.

Bonneville Pool – No effort was observed for salmonids.

The Dalles and John Day pools – Anglers are catching some steelhead though all of the fish sampled were wild and had to be released.

Hanford Reach – From Paul A. Hoffarth, District 4 Fish Biologist, WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife in Pasco:

During the month of January anglers landed 286 steelhead and harvested 186 hatchery steelhead in the Hanford Reach sport fishery.  WDFW estimates 923 anglers fished in January and 4,267 anglers since the fishery opened on October 1.  Anglers are averaging a steelhead for every 13 hours of fishing, with boat anglers averaging 9.5 hours/fish compared to bank anglers at 28 hours/fish.

Fishing was just a little slower than in December.  Winter fishing has been very spotty, good one day, slow the next but good overall compared to prior years.  Harvest in January was the best in the past five years.  This season 84% of the fish caught during the fishery have been hatchery origin adipose clipped fish; only 68% of the fish caught in January were adipose clipped.  The majority of the fish harvested during this year’s fishery have been released from Ringold Springs Hatchery (adipose + right ventral fin clipped).

An estimated 1,149 hatchery steelhead have been harvested since the fishery opened on October 1.  Total catch including fish released is 1,511 steelhead.  Ringold Springs Hatchery staff collected and transported all the hatchery steelhead captured at the trap this fall and released them back into the river in the Tri-cities to give anglers another opportunity to catch these returning adults.  These “recycled” fish are marked (caudal clipped) prior to release.  Of the 1,149 fish harvested since October 1, 209 (18%) were previously captured at the trap and released.

Late winter run hatchery steelhead returns to Washington Lower Columbia tributaries:

Though early, late winter run steelhead hatchery returns are currently tracking ahead of the same time last year.

River                      2015                       2014

Cowlitz                 55                           9

Kalama                 189                         42

Lewis                     20                           18


Bonneville Pool – Bank and boat anglers are catching a few legals.  Through Jan. 25, an estimated 101 (9.2%) of the 1,100 fish guideline had been taken.

The Dalles Pool – Slow for legal size fish.

John Day Pool – Bank and boat anglers are catching a few legals.


Bonneville Pool – No effort was observed for either specie.

The Dalles and John Day pools – Boat anglers are catching walleye in both pools.  No effort was observed for bass.


Kress Lake near Kalama – Last week 21 adult steelhead from Kalama Falls Hatchery  were planted in Kress Lake. Sixteen were Early Winter Stock.

Five were Kalama Integrated Stock.  No report on angling success.





Fish per



Jan 28, 2015






Jan 27, 2015







Jan 23, 2015






Jan 22, 2015






Smelt are reported in the Cowlitz River. 

On the Cowlitz River, smelt fishing with dip nets will be allowed along the riverbank from 6 a.m. until noon Saturday, Feb. 7, and during the same hours Saturday, Feb. 14. Each dip-netter may retain 10 pounds of smelt (about ¼ of a five-gallon bucket) per day, with no more than one day’s limit in possession.

No license is required.  However, it is unlawful to harvest of another person’s daily limit except for those persons who possess a state issued Designated Harvester Companion Card.

Cowlitz River flows at Castle Rock are currently 12,800 cfs, slightly higher than the long-term mean of 10,800 cfs for Feb. 2nd .

All other waters in Washington remain closed to fishing for Eulachon, also commonly known as Columbia River smelt.



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