In SW Washington fishing this week, steelhead fishing has been slowing in the tributaries although still productive for some. Fall Chinook has had a slow week but a decent last couple of days on the Columbia. Merwin is still producing fish but catch rates have seemingly plummeted this week. Bass, sunfish, and catfish have still been lights out on the local lakes and ponds.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
The river has held steady at nearly 1,300 CFS since the first of the month, though without much rain in the forecast I’d say that number is going to drop even further towards 1,100 no clue when, it could be tomorrow, it could be two weeks from now. There are fish around but the amount of pressure on the river combined with hot sunny days has made for some difficult fishing. The creel reports showed a serious lack of fish this week-three bank rods had no catch. 6 boats/11 rods released one Chinook and one steelhead.
My father, Tim Kolshinski, stopped by the river on the way home Wednesday 8/23/23 to talk to anyone fishing but couldn’t find a soul around the lower river. He didn’t head up the river but he told me that the lower river is super low and slow, although not terribly clear. Creal reports this week showed only one bank angler with no catch.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 159 summer-run steelhead adults, 82 spring Chinook adults, 45 spring Chinook jacks, 151 spring Chinook mini-jacks, 19 fall Chinook adults, four fall Chinook jacks, and 14 cutthroat trout over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 20 spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into Lake Scanewa at the Copper Canyon Take-Out Site, and they released 56 spring Chinook adults, five spring Chinook jacks, and one spring Chinook mini-jack at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.
No firsthand reports again this week but was told the boats near Blue Creek did well not sure what the best bait/lure was though. Creel reports read; Cowlitz River I-5 Br downstream – 24 bank rods had no catch. 2 boats/2 rods kept one steelhead. Cowlitz River Above the I-5 Br – 11 bank rods kept one steelhead and released two steelhead. 10 boats/33 rods kept 29 steelhead.
The Washougal looks like a creek currently and every time I drive by it looks lower and lower, low clear water techniques have been needed. There are reports of Chinook entering the lower river in the hole the locals call Oaks Park just beneath the 6th Street bridge but it is still very early. Steelhead continues to be slow with the river so low but there are fish around you just need to find where they are holding.
Early season Chinook continues to be slow throughout the river from Buoy 10 all the way to Bonneville. Plunkers have found success plunking wobblers from the bank though it hasn’t been great by any means. Some success has been found trolling on the high slack tide but it has been just about the same success rate as anyone else. There was a large push of fish the past few days over Bonneville and as every day goes by it feels like we are getting closer and closer to the plentiful fall Chinook season.
Creel Reports for the Columbia read as the following-
(Bonneville) – 47 bank anglers kept one Chinook and released five steelhead. 4 boats/8 rods had
(Camas/Washougal) – 14 boats/27 rods kept one Chinook and released one Chinook.
(I-5 area) – Two bank anglers had no catch. 7 boats/16 rods had no catch.
(Vancouver) – 70 bank anglers kept four Chinook. 19 boats/38 rods kept one Chinook.
(Woodland) – 44 bank anglers had no catch. 43 boats/96 rods kept three Chinook, one jack and
released one steelhead.
(Kalama) – 285 bank anglers kept 24 Chinook, one jack and released one steelhead. 37 boats/79
rods kept seven Chinook.
(Cowlitz) – 70 boats/176 rods kept 19 Chinook, one jack and released one Chinook.
(Longview) – 56 bank anglers kept two Chinook, one jack and released two steelhead. 58
boats/116 rods kept one Chinook and released three steelhead.
(Cathlamet) – 14 bank anglers had no catch. 6 boats/12 rods had no catch.
Drano continues to heat up with reports coming in left and right this week. It hasn’t been people catching limits but about every boat landing and keeping one or two Chinook with the occasional steelhead thrown in there that you have to release. A lot of people have the misconception that Drano is only a place for spring Chinook; it is not when other parts of the river aren’t producing Drano can be. Creel reports this week were promising-– 20 bank rods kept two Chinook and released one Chinook and one steelhead. 93 boats/232 rods kept 51 Chinook, three jacks, one coho and released 13 Chinook, two jacks and 12 steelhead.
Warm Water Lakes and Ponds
Bass fishing has continued to be killer in most lakes with a great top water bite in the early morning. Nothing like watching a bass just kill a Whopper Plopper. Pan fish has still been great around docks and fallen trees. Catfish are still active but as the nights get colder and we start heading into fall weather it will start to seriously slow.
Merwin has still been producing fish but every report I got this week was that fishing died after 8 or 9 AM. The Kokanee are really starting to feel soft, and you can definitely notice color change happening as they are getting ready to spawn. The fish have moved very deep, around 55-60 feet down. Still haven’t got a muskie report this year. I was holding onto hope I would get sent a picture of one but I haven’t seen anything, and the season is coming to a close.
There were a few anglers last week requesting information on Westport fishing and I currently don’t have a source for it, I am trying hard to find reliable information for more coastal fisheries. I know Ian has some and is doing the report next week, by the first of the month and the next time I write I will do my absolute best to have information on that.
Read this week’s Oregon fishing report.