In our SW Washington fishing report this week, tributary steelhead has been slowing. Columbia river fishermen have reported catching a few steelhead still. Early catches of Chinook and Coho have been near non-existent. Drano lake is slowly getting some Chinook. Merwin is still producing fish, though it has started to seriously slow. Sorry for the late report this week the Jenny Creek fire broke out near my house on Wednesday 8/16/23 and caused me to evacuate, no damage done to my property though and I am back home.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
Main Stem– I fished the main stem of the Lewis on Saturday 8/12/23 with no luck. We started at the forks and worked down to the mouth only catching a small trout. There was no lack of anglers at the mouth this week but there was a lack of catches. We saw one fish caught in several hours of fishing. With dam counts going up this should start getting better in the next coming weeks.
North Fork– Flows have remained steady since the last report at around 1,300 cfs this remains high enough for sleds to get around and I would imagine drift boats as well. Please exercise extreme caution if you decide to go out even if you think you know the river, it’s that time of year that the rock you forgot about will be poking out enough to hit.
East Fork– The rare East fork summer steelhead season is here, this used to be an epic fishery but WDFW stopped managing the river and planting fish, which has led to a huge decline of fish. There are still some fish around and the ones that are left are known to be quite large. There was a fire that started around 3:30 pm Wednesday near La Center. Watch the news and be careful.
Reports were slow this week. I drove to the river last weekend on the way home from Longview and didn’t see too many people on the river fishing. The water is very low and hasn’t been fishing very well. The river saw a decent return of 175 steelhead this week. Escapement this week reads 10 bank rods released one steelhead. 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 177 summer-run steelhead adults, 115 spring Chinook adults, 37 spring Chinook jacks, 163 spring Chinook mini-jacks, and 26 cutthroat trout over four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 107 spring Chinook adults, seven spring Chinook jacks, four spring Chinook mini-jacks, and 13 cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa at the Copper Canyon Take-Out Site and they released seven cutthroat trout and two fall Chinook adults into the Tilton River at Bremer Bridge.
The Washougal has slowed way down from recent weeks with no reports of a caught steelhead from anyone I know. There are fish around but between the swimmers and low clear water the steelhead are extremely skittish and not wanting to bite. Once the first rain of fall comes in, I would expect a big push of steelhead coming in as well as the first of the salmon run.
Columbia river fishery has been very slow this week with a very lucky few getting a Chinook or Coho, Ian Carter fished on anchor using wobblers this weekend on the outgoing tide near lower river road going almost 4 hours without a bite. He trolled all the way back down to the Lewis through white caps and wind without so much as a bite to show for it. Tides do look better this coming weekend with a high slack in the early morning which is a favorite time for trolling. Dam counts continue to rise as well so I am hopeful for a better fishing weekend. Smallmouth bass continue to do well but are being found near deeper structures as the water is getting very warm and they move deeper to find cooler water.
Drano is showing signs of Chinook pushing in with a few being caught here and there, another two weeks and this should start becoming a great fishery. Steelhead are being caught left and right in the lake right now unfortunately it’s a catch and release fishery currently.
Warm Water Lakes and Ponds
As we start to approach the last month of summer the sunfish are prevalent near fallen trees, under docks, and in heavy weeds. Top water bites have been great in the early morning for bass as well as fishing weedless soft plastics any time of day. Be mindful of swimming In some lakes and I wouldn’t harvest any fish in most local lakes currently here as there has been a presence of blue green algae in more than a few which can be toxic and cause some health issues if ingested.
Merwin and Yale Report Reports have stated some really good fishing in the morning hours still but the bite has dropped off around 9 or 10 AM. Kokanee are getting ready for prespawn so they are starting to show some color and the meat is becoming soft.
Read this week’s Oregon fishing report.