By Ian Carter
The expected heavy rains for the weekend put us on a wait and see approach for most river levels and fishability for the foreseeable future. The Kalama is looking better, while the Lewis is loaded with reluctant Coho and the Cowlitz is looking good.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water
BEST BET – Cowlitz in this area, Peninsular rivers if you can travel.
There was no angler activity up at the Cedar Creek launch on Tuesday. The river is, however, full of Coho. It’s incredible how many Coho have returned so far and aren’t slowing up.
Flows on the Lewis are all over the place. It’s on a major climb right now after a sudden drop. I’m confident the drop is for Tuesday carcass sampling, in which case it will be a weekly occurrence for the foreseeable future. I personally didn’t fish the Lewis this week, but will be heading out this weekend. If the river gets too blown out, I’ll focus around the mouth and Columbia trolling for Coho.
I just returned from a scouting trip (Wednesday). The river is in excellent condition and there is some angler activity. I counted four drift boats and spoke with a half dozen or so bank fisherman. No one had any luck, but there are fish around.
Sol Duc Report
Although not in our immediate SW Washington vicinity, I wanted to share a report from Dave Mallahan with Dave’s Guide Service. He’s been fishing this river since it opened a few days ago. The Sol Duc is a difficult river and if you have never drifted it, I personally suggest a guide for the first time. Dave has some openings in mid-November. Please consult the WDFW app for limits and specific restrictions of this waterway. As of 10/31/22 portions of the river are open for retention of Coho, but only one single point barbless hook is permitted. There is a limit of three per day of which there may be no more than one which is wild.
Sol Duc opportunities are great with fishing described as nothing short of a blood bath. On Tuesday Dave took a later trip, hitting the water at 8:45am. Within an 90 minutes they had hooked 15 and bonked five. Rainfall looks to change things up a little, at least for a few days. Dave is optimistic and has clients booked through the rest of this week and next. They are a very nice grade of Coho and chrome bright.
Reports indicate an uptick of angler activity with success coming up by the hatchery. With no escapement report this week I don’t have any numbers to update the table. The hydrograph shows the river level is on the drop as of Wednesday, which would indicate it might be time to check it out. There were no WDFW angler check reported.
Fishing is still going strong with the Coho counts maintaining. The river returned to permanent rules earlier in October along with other rivers in the Willapa Bay watershed. Korey at Bob’s Outdoor informs me that his customers have been doing well. The Coho counts are still going strong with no returns of Chum just yet.
Carl from Klickitat Canyon Market has been running shuttle trips daily, with fishing described as, “not hot and heavy”. He says there are a few guides around for another week or two. He’s got his eye on the rain forecast for the area coming up this weekend. Snow levels need to be at least 5,000ft to keep the river from really blowing out. After the rain he hopes for cooler temperatures to hold. With a quick warmup the melting snow would be adverse. River data for the Klickitat can be found here.
Merwin reports are few and far between. The bite is slow with fish being on the smaller side (10” average). The word is out about Swift and many people are opting out on Merwin.
Riffe and Mayfield Lakes –Riffe is still too low to launch a boat. Trout fishing on Mayfield is hit and miss.