By Ian Carter
Again, there were no WDFW creel checks this week. The Cowlitz looks like as good an option as any for bright winter Steelhead and super late Coho in our SW Washington fishing summary this week. The Kalama catch rates are improving. Sturgeon fishing has been epic and our local trout ponds got a boost.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water
River levels continue to be on the high side with the flow as of Wednesday at 11,700 and climbing. The color and clarity of water on the other hand is excellent.
On Tuesday I took a drive down dike road and observed four different groups of fisherman between the RR bridge and the forks. One group had one take down, the others had no luck. While at the hatchery I observed one boat with three anglers hook and lose a Steelhead.
Nathan from Sportsman’s in Kelso tells me a few of his customers have been catching some Steelhead. It was better before the recent high-water event. Before the high water it was a mix of late summer and early winter run fish.
Dave Mallahan with Daves Guide Service says the Cowlitz is hit and miss. There really isn’t any consistency and it will be a while before fishing is hot.
The river flow rate is back down to 11,500 cfs and in line with the median. All areas of the Cowlitz should fish well for whatever steelhead are arriving. Real time water flow data can be found here USGS-Cowlitz.
Good quantities of Coho are still being processed by Tacoma Power employees.
Nathan from Sportsman’s in Kelso says the Coho that are still arriving are zooming up to the hatchery and turning color very quickly.
Fishing pressure is light and no real indications that it will improve soon.
The sturgeon opener was epic for those that participated. Most people I spoke with were able to get their keepers. I didn’t hear about too many over size, but the ones within the slot were healthy fat fish.
The quota sure indicates heavy fishing pressure.
Steelhead have been intercepted by a few folks plunking on the beaches at County Line Park. There have been a few caught at Willow Grove.
Merwin – Some folks are killing it and others are struggling. Wind may be factor in the coming weather window, starting today, Wednesday through the weekend. Keep an eye on it if you are planning a Merwin trip. Fishing is still best in the Speelyai area.
Other Reservoirs – Mayfield Lake is fishing well.
Riffe is still unable to launch. According to Nathan at Sportsman’s it probably won’t open until at least March. That is barring a massive rain and snowmelt, which we really don’t want. Currently the launch is 40ft away from the water’s edge.
Battleground Lake –received some nice Rainbow and Cutthroat on December 28th.
Klineline –received similar Rainbow numbers as Battleground but no Cutthroat.
Kress Lake –received 12 additional recycled Steelhead on December 27th.
Horseshoe Lake – A couple anglers had some success bass fishing the southernmost side of the lake.
WDFW Communications for the week
WDFW’s year-end photo contest is about to open!
Show us how you connect with nature
Share your best moments from the past year in our 2022 Outdoor Experiences photo contest. From birding to volunteering to at home insect explorations, we’d love to see how you and your family engage with nature in your community.
To be part of our 2022 Outdoor Experiences year-end wrap-up, send us outdoor moments of yourself or others, or your epic outdoor selfie! To be considered, images must include people. There will be $25 Cabela’s gift card prizes for three winners. Submit images between Dec. 30-Jan. 15 at https://wdfw.wa.gov/share and select the “2022 Outdoor Experiences” category from the drop-down menu to enter! Winning images will be announced in late January!
Razor Clams – There should be another toxin test any day now. Stay tuned. Go here for updates
Lots of rain at times is in the forecast into the weekend and next week. Winds will calm Friday but pick back up Saturday. The gorge forecast can be found here if a Sturgeon trip is viable. Both high and low temperatures won’t make it out of the 40’s either way.
There is A LOT more for SW Washington Members here.
See our Oregon fishing report for the week.