SW Washington by Seth Kolshinski
With local rivers in SW Washington on the mend anglers have turned to their favorite high water fishing locations while others have focused on the amazing kokanee fishing as of late, in this report we will be talking about high water fishing tactics specific to your local tributaries, winter kokanee tactics, the 2024 spring chinook forecasts, and much more.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
With the water at 15,000 cfs there is not much bank access or boatable water. I fished with my father at the hatchery Saturday 12/9/23, we showed up a little late and when we got there, there were around 6 people plunking the little beach that is right under the hatchery and several people bobber fishing. We walked down and talked with most of them before wading down a little ways, nobody had seen a fish all morning. We fished under the hatchery for around four hours without seeing a bell go off or a bobber go down.
The east fork is just barely recovering with very very high water currently though color is looking much better than last weekend. I didn’t go up the river from La Center but I couldn’t imagine any bank access.
There is no water data for the Kalama but alike the east fork the river is just barely recovering with a dark steelhead green color finally returning. My coworker wanted to stop by and fish after work so he drove up Kalama River Road 12/12/23 only to be met with an unfishable river as he could not find a hole worth throwing a lure into, so he threw in the towel.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,288 coho adults, 251 coho jacks, 89 cutthroat trout, one fall Chinook adult, four winter-run steelhead adults, and thirty summer-run steelhead adults over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 305 coho adults, 47 coho jacks, and one winter-run steelhead at Franklin Bridge in Packwood and they released 233 coho adults and 39 coho jacks into Lake Scanewa at Scanewa Day Use Park. They also released 349 coho adults, 99 coho jacks, and two cutthroat trout into the Cispus River near Yellowjacket Creek.
River flow below Mayfield Dam is 8,560 cubic feet per second on Monday, December 11, 2023. Water visibility is 2 feet and water temperature is 47.1 F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.
Shawn Chase fished the Washougal Wednesday 12/13/23, he said he started at the cop shop hole, and it was way too high to fish he ended up heading to the sandy swimming hole and fished the softer edges for around 30 minutes. He also stated that the water clarity was nice but the cfs was too high to find any holding water.
No first hand report this week but I will be headed up there this weekend so look for a report next week! This is one of the best fishing rivers around Christmas time so lookout for heavy pressure.
As we roll in late December, we should start seeing people plunking steelhead along the banks, I will check in with local spots starting this weekend to see if anyone has started plunking the big river.
No creel reports for this week. Creel reports will return in spring 2024.
Warm Water Lakes and Ponds
No new stocks this week but local lakes have been fishing well for trout since Thanksgiving weekend, but it has slowed with all this rain. Powerbait seems to be a favorite as of right now. There was a group of people fishing at horseshoe lake as I drove by Sunday 12/10/23 so I decided to go talk with them, they proclaimed the only thing they were catching was a cold.
Kokanee has been on fire lately; I have seen photos of people coming in with kokanee by the cooler full. Anything and everything is working so if you are one of the few that go out and brave the cold early morning weather this week you should find success.
Ilwaco and Long Beach
As I am writing this there is a dig actively going on and I won’t hear about any success stories until tomorrow. The next few days provide a great evening tide especially for an after work dig on Friday just remember to be there early, at least an hour before low tide if not an hour and a half.
Dec. 13, Wednesday, 6:55 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Dec. 14, Thursday, 7:39 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Dec. 15, Friday, 8:25 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Dec. 16, Saturday, 9:12 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Dec. 17, Sunday, 10:01 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
You can find more detailed reports on the SW Washington fishing report and forecast page. Ian still posts there once a month as well for a different style and different knowledge of certain areas in SW Washington.
Read this week’s Oregon fishing report.