The combination of massive amounts of rain and few early run Steelhead doesn’t bode well for this week’s report and SW Washington fishing. Apologies for the briefness this week, it’s just the reality of mid-January 2023 in SW Washington. If water levels drop by the weekend, the Lewis might be your best bet to intercept a steelhead. Merwin is the high point for this week’s report. With a decent weather forecast, Kokanee fishing at Merwin should be on your list for this weekend.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water.
The river continues to be experiencing high flows. The surging current as of Wednesday is level at 11,500cfs and doesn’t appear it will be letting up. Median flow for this time of year is 8,000cfs. The water clarity is a little off color. Angling close to shore would be the best approach at these levels. As you can see in the image above, the island is almost completely submerged.
This Wednesday I drove up to the golf course. I didn’t observe any trailers at the boat launch or anyone fishing. Overall fishing pressure remains light.
Nathan from Sportsman’s in Kelso reports that fishing for Steelhead is generally slow. He does hold out hope for a great February, as historically it is the best month for Winter Steelhead on the Kalama.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the flow rate is 12,100 cfs. It’s still a bit of a roller coaster but appears to be trending down. Real time water flow data can be found here at USGS-Cowlitz.
Tacoma Public Utilities releases have pretty much curtailed for now. They recovered 288 coho adults, two coho jacks, 23 winter-run steelhead adults, and one spring Chinook adult over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week, Tacoma Power employees also released 128 coho adults, three winter-run steelhead adults, and one spring Chinook adult into Lake Scanewa in Randle and they released 125 coho adults, two coho jacks, and two winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River near Morton.
No specific report, but Steelhead counts continue to slowly increase. The big tides this weekend may bring in some fish.
I’ve heard of some decent Walleye fishing in the Bonneville pool. February is traditionally a good month for targeting Walleye in the Columbia. I have yet to hear of the first Springer caught this year. As February approaches the first fish are on the horizon. So basically, the Columbia will be better in the coming weeks with not too much to report at this time.
Merwin – Overall the Kokanee fishing is excellent. It’s taking a few people a little more time, but most people I’ve heard from are getting limits.
With Merwin it’s always a good idea to have many different combos ready to go. The lake can sometimes be fickle and experimenting with different gear on multiple rods can change things for the better.
Riffe Lake The lake level has increased by only one foot and has a long way to go. Not sure what the scoop is as Tacoma Power has been tight lipped about the reason.
Lake levels and boat launches as of Jan. 18
Riffe Lake – 704.59 feet of elevation (maximum of approx. 749 ft)
Mossyrock Park boat launch is closed. The day-use area is open.
Taidnapam North boat launch is closed.
Kosmos boat launch and parking lot are closed.
Taidnapam Park boat launch is closed.
Battleground Lake –The best times have been first light and last light.
Icehouse Lake –On January 10th, WDFW stocked 2,000 stocker size Rainbow Trout. Icehouse Lake is a popular trout lake that is stocked with cutthroat and rainbow trout.
Kress Lake – Some reports I’ve heard indicate that ongoing trout fishing is decent from the previous stocking.
Horseshoe Lake –On January 11th, 2023, WDFW planted 21 recycled Steelhead from the Merwin hatchery. These fish can be caught with a bobber and jig.
Carlisle Lake –On the northern edge of our SW Washington area, this lake is located on the northwest edge of Onalaska. Carlisle also has a few largemouth bass. Public access is available, and small boats can be launched, but internal combustion engines are not allowed.
WDFW Communications for the week
COLUMBIA RIVER FISHERY NOTICE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
Please see the final version of the 2023 OR WA Sturgeon-Smelt Joint Staff Report. Also found here:
Razor Clams – No news as of Wednesday about any testing, let alone any new test results. Go here for updates
Surf Perch – No reports. With the large high tides and better weather coming up this weekend this might be worth the effort.
Looks like a break from the rain is coming by the weekend. Overall looks like a decent forecast for getting outdoors. The temperatures should be cooler with lows in the low 30’s and highs not making it to 50.
Read our weekly Oregon fishing report.