Merwin remains the single most reported bright spot in SW Washington fishing. WDFW angler checks this week didn’t convey any effort or success for our tributaries except for the Cowlitz. Most area rivers should be approaching the new normal for peak winter Steelhead this month. I’m most looking forward to the Cowlitz run size coming in strong, let’s hope it materializes.
Check out this article from Northwest Sportsman Magazine regarding two new appointments by Governor Jay Inslee to the WDFW commission.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
As of Wednesday, the Lewis flow rate is 3,600, reflecting a 1,000 cfs drop since last Thursday. The river is a great color and should be fishing well by the weekend. I’m not giving up and plan on fishing from the golf course and up this Sunday. I’ll provide a report in the subscriber section next week.
The smelt seem to have cleared out, although the sea lions were thick at the mouth on Sunday morning. I stopped in Angler West looking for a report on Wednesday and they were closed.
Wednesday, I took a drive up to the Kalama and it was busy for boat traffic. I observed 7 drift boats working from Prichard down to Modrow bridge. I spoke with several bank anglers all of which had no catch.
The Steelhead recycle counts continue to climb in lock step with escapement totals. Almost 25% of the winter run for the season to date appeared in the past seven days. Fishing activity overall is generally turning more positive.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 92 winter-run steelhead adults, three spring Chinook adults, and one coho adult over four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
It’s getting to be go time for the Cowlitz and interest is ramping up. Please pack some patience, especially for the busy boat launches and limited number of premiere plunking spots.
Dave Mallahan with Daves Guide Service has been taking clients out regularly. He indicates that things are picking up although it’s not red hot.
My associate Seth fished the Washougal this past weekend. He mentioned in his report that it’s very slow. His friends who plunk the river religiously indicated they caught a wild one on Saturday, but that’s the only fish they’ve touched in the past week or two.
I heard a rumor of a successful trip with no confirmation or actual details. There were some Steelhead that made it to the hatchery this week.
Bonneville experienced a nice uptick in Steelhead counts and if it continues, might provide slightly improving lower river Steelhead plunking in the near future. I find myself wondering how many there could be if the hatchery steelhead runs like in the past, were timed not to coincide with the smelt/sea lion run.
I visited both Austin Point and Martin Bar in Woodland on Sunday and Wednesday. There were two rods working Martin bar on Sunday. I did not stick around and try my luck due to the sea lion races for as far as you could see.
Merwin – Fishing at Merwin is still producing many limits, with a good number of boats enjoying much success. There have been many brave souls braving the snow and making the most of it. Great fishing has a way of helping take one’s mind off the weather.
The Kokanee are averaging respectable sizes with very few dinks in the mix. Most fish are being taken 150ft back on the surface.
Riffe Lake is currently 687.1 feet of which is down an additional four feet and still not launchable.
Kress Lake – This past week the lake received eight Steelhead transplants from the Kalama Falls hatchery.
Battle Ground Lake – Received 2,000 Rainbow on February 21st. This in addition to the 1,500 Cutthroat a week or so earlier.
Klineline – It’s been a little busier on the few nice days and folks are getting some stocker trout.
Horseshoe Lake – My son fished it during his lunch break on Tuesday with no success.
Silver Lake – Silver Cove Resort allows folks to fish on their property, but they charge $25 a vehicle. Things won’t really take off for Crappie and Bass until late April and May.
Puget Sound –March brings some decent chances of catch and release Sea Run Cutthroat fishing. This is the time of year when the chum fry begin heading out and are a prime source of food for ravenous Cutthroat.
Jetty Fishing –When the season soon opens Westport jetty is pretty good for Ling Cod in addition to rockfish. Don’t be surprised to also catch some delicious sanddabs.
Ocean and Surf Perch – No reports on surf perch this week. WDFW announced the 2023 Halibut seasons and the regulations vary greatly depending on which marine area you are fishing. Please check the new regulations for bottom fish as they change considerably from May through June. Updates for bottom fish and halibut can be found here.
Clamming – Reports from the past dig are extremely positive. This is good news especially with the scheduled digs coming up:
- March 3, Friday, 4:31 p.m.; 0.6 feet; Mocrocks
- March 4, Saturday, 5:09 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Copalis
- March 5, Sunday, 5:42 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Mocrocks
- March 6, Monday, 6:13 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Copalis
- March 7, Tuesday, 6:41 p.m.; 0.3 feet; Mocrocks
- March 8, Wednesday, 7:09 p.m.; 0.5 feet; Copalis
As of today, Wednesday, the Long Beach online test results haven’t been updated since 2/15/23. Find the most recent news here. It would be some kind of wonderful if Long Beach clamming will open in time for the Long Beach Clam Festival in early April.
It’s March and there is no safe prediction for the weekend weather window at this point. Things are generally warming up with lows not really anticipated much below 30 degrees for the foreseeable future.
Read our Oregon fishing report.