In SW Washington fishing, the Cowlitz is experiencing a pilot run of smelt with a convoy of sea lions in tow. Soon hopefully, we get the go ahead for at least a half day sports dip. Lowering river levels and clear water are providing more challenges to an already bleak SW Washington winter Steelhead fishery. Merwin continues to be the place if you want to get some fresh scales on your boat.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
Incredibly sad news of a La Center fisherman drowning on the North Fork of the Lewis River last Sunday afternoon. Based on information in the report I viewed, the boat may have hit the submerged well pipe left from the massive erosion from the great flood of 1996. It’s located upstream from the big bend above the golf course.
Flows are continuing to drop with a cfs of 3,600 reported on Wednesday afternoon. Water clarity is getting closer to gin clear than winter green. There were some sea lions around the airport earlier today. They could be following up a pilot run of smelt, although there were no sea gulls around. If the smelt enter the system, we can put Steelhead fishing on hold for a while. I’ll update more next week.
Subscriber Nick wanted to share with us a publicly accessible hobo that some fine individuals set up and figured we might benefit from for the Kalama water conditions. I’m not sure who owns it, but here is the link. The only report I have for the Kalama is from Korey at Bob’s. He spoke to one customer who caught one Steelhead.
Smelt are beginning to enter the system along with an armada of seals and sea lions. Plunkers are accidentally snagging smelt with their gear, making for a frustrating situation. This is probably only a pilot run with the bigger push coming in the next couple of weeks or so. Sportsman’s in Kelso has smelt nets on order which should be here before any announcement of a possible opener.
Korey at Bob’s Outdoor has heard of an intercepted Springer up at the hatchery. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 200 coho adults and 53 winter-run steelhead adults over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees also released 73 coho adults and three winter-run steelhead adults into Lake Scanewa in Randle and they released 66 coho adults and five winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River near Morton.
My reliable source Seth fished the Washougal this last week and they lost one fish. The one other boat that they encountered had a fish, but things have really slowed down from the last rain.
No specific report for the river but some Naselle Steelhead are being transplanted to area lakes:
The Columbia is becoming a bigger focus for those who like to plunk. Reports from Korey at Bob’s indicate that fishing pressure is increasing at Willow Grove, with a few Steelhead around.
Plunking in Kalama might also be an option as the Kalama River is sure to get more Steelhead and possibly in early Springer.
This week I personally checked Martin’s Bar in addition to Austin Point in Woodland a couple of times. On both occasions at both locations there was no one fishing.
Merwin – While most anglers are still getting limits, the action has slowed for some. The fishing could still be described as very good.
Mayfield Lake – Some reports of decent trout fishing.
Riffe Lake – The lake level has decreased another three feet since last week. I understand that the lake is launchable at 715ft and 725ft is ideal for boats with trailers.
Kress Lake –received only 8 additional Kalama River recycled Steelhead this week. Korey at Bob’s Outdoor went fishing here for trout the other day. Trout fishing wasn’t good.
Battle Ground Lake – WDFW planted 2,000 stocker Rainbow Trout on January 24th.
Silver Lake – Nathan at Sportsman’s has heard of ice forming on the main lake. This is forcing everyone to the canals. Crappie fishing in the canals is starting to pick up.
Puget Sound –I’ve heard some good reports of flounder fishing in the sound. Around Point Defiance in the Narrows down to Steilacoom is great fishing for them.
Sound Salmon Fishing – The winter Chinook fishery opens Feb. 1 in central Puget Sound (Marine Area 10) and southern Puget Sound (Marine Area 13) is open year-round. Fishing for resident coho typically picks up in southern Puget Sound, and these fish are excellent sport for fly fishing or light spinning rods. Sekiu/Pillar Point (Marine Area 5) in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca opens March 1 for winter Chinook.
Crabbing –All of Puget Sound is closed until summer, but you can still catch crab along the coast. At Ilwaco and Westport/Grays Harbor crab pots are allowed through Sept. 15, and all other crab gear is open year-round. The Columbia River area is open year-round for all gear.
Clamming – The following are the only digs during evening (p.m.) low tides will proceed as scheduled:
• Feb. 3, Friday, 5:37 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Copalis only
• Feb. 5, Sunday, 6:43 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Copalis only
• Feb. 7, Tuesday, 7:42 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Copalis only.
Other areas are still testing too high, note the table below for Long Beach. Please check here for a current update.
Surf Perch – No specific reports this week.
Our forecast shows a nice warm up beginning Wednesday afternoon. As rain showers begin Friday, overnight lows will hold well above 32 into the next week. Sunday continues to look like the wettest day overall, but with a good wind forecast for Merwin.
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