This week in SW Washington we have high dirty water conditions in most tributaries but with a good weather system moving in they should start dropping quickly. A few local lakes have received trout plants this week and have fished well for the anglers braving the weather. Merwin remains slow this week with most anglers pulling up to the dock with an empty cooler. WDFW approves a weeklong clam dig and surf perch fishing has been great!
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
After coming down from 21,000 cfs the river has leveled off at 18,000 cfs a still nearly unfishable level, there are few and far between fishing opportunities currently. At this level there is to my knowledge no bank access and I would absolutely not recommend anyone go out on the river in a boat right now, there is all sorts of debris storming down the river.
East Fork- Currently the river is running high and dirty and is nearly in the parking lot of La Centers Lewis River Beach Side parking lot. It is usually quick to recover and could be in a really fishy condition as early as Sunday 2/4/24.
No report this week as the river is running high and muddy with nearly no bank access currently as far up the river as the red barn launch. The Kalama isn’t the quickest to recover and even without much snow on the surrounding hills I wouldn’t expect real fishable levels for most parts of the river until Sunday 2/4/24 at the earliest.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 67 winter-run steelhead adults over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released eight winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa at the Scanewa Day Use Park and they released 10 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River near Morton.
The river flow below Mayfield Dam is 7,790 cubic feet per second on Monday, January 29, 2024. The water visibility is 5 feet and water temperature is 44.2 F.
The Washougal fished well until the water started to rise rapidly Monday 1/29/24 and most locals that report have stayed off the river, the few dedicated have found it to be extremely challenging with no reward. Griffin Soule went out to plunk Tuesday 1/30/24 while the river was at 3,000 cfs and found that even the largest weight in his bag, a 12 oz pyramid weight, would not stick.
No report this week, like most other natural flowing rivers in SW Washington the river is running high and muddy but should be the very first to recover if it isn’t already on the mend. We are approaching the end of the earlier run of steelhead but there are still more than a few to be caught here and the higher water should have pushed a few in.
Ian stopped by Martins Bar Tuesday 1/30/24 and talked with one angler who had a bell ringer early in the outgoing tide, but it did not stick. There were three or so anglers along the bank.
Scott Nichols with Nichols Guide Service sent the photo below of his friend fishing near the mouth of the Lewis with an absolute monster. He was plunking but that was all the information shared.
Warm Water Lakes and Ponds
Battleground Lake and Klinline had 2,500 trout planted each on 1/22/24 anglers have done well with presentations floated 6-10 inches off the bottom. The water has started to warm up with the warmer air temperatures and these fish are becoming less and less lethargic and keener on searching for food.
Merwin has slowed heavily, I went out Sunday 1/28/24 and every single boat we talked to hadn’t even had a bite. One boat I talked with at the end of the day had trolled from daylight to around 2pm without so much as a bite. We got one which felt lucky for the day and got two or three bites along the way. The water was a very cold 42 degrees and very murky. Finding water that was even slightly clear was a difficult task.
Ilwaco and Long Beach
The following digs during afternoon and evening low tides will proceed as scheduled, after marine toxin results from the Washington State Department of Health showed razor clams are safe to eat:
Feb. 6, Tuesday, 3:52 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Mocrocks
Feb. 7, Wednesday, 4:41 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 8, Thursday, 5:26 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 9, Friday, 6:09 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Feb. 10, Saturday, 6:49 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Feb. 11, Sunday, 7:29 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 12, Monday, 8:08 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Copalis
There is A LOT more for SW Washington Members here including Ian’s monthly report for a different style and knowledge of certain SW Washington areas. And SW Washington members can find our complete Columbia River reports here.
Read this week’s Oregon fishing report.