SW Washington continues to be amazing salmon fishing heading into October with a large amount of Chinook still in the Columbia and the later run of coho just around the corner, tributaries saw a big pump of fresh fish with the rain in the previous week, though local lakes and ponds fishing has slowed to a stop.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
The river has had some difficulties lately with rain or work being done to the dam. I couldn’t find any information on it. The river is running at 1,300 cfs and with next to no rain in the weekly forecast it will probably stay at that until the 15th when the minimum flows go to 2,500 cfs. Reports show that some fresh fish moved into the system with the rain and the bump in flow last week and there were some good biters around. The early run Coho are still around though it’s well known they aren’t particularly good biters. No creel checks this week.
No report this week but the water looked good last week when I went up right after all the rainfall we got. No creel checks this week.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 4,459 coho adults, 3,252 coho jacks, 272 fall Chinook adults, 30 fall Chinook jacks, 80 summer-run steelhead adults, eight spring Chinook adults, two spring Chinook jacks, and 223 cutthroat trout over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 43 coho adults and 88 coho jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood and they released two spring Chinook adults, 199 coho adults, 450 coho jacks, and 5 cutthroat trout into the lake Scanewa at Copper Canyon. They also released six spring Chinook adults, 1,437 coho adults, 919 coho jacks, and 6 cutthroat trout into lake Scanewa at Scanewa Day Use Park.
Cowlitz River I-5 Br downstream – 64 bank rods kept six coho, four coho jacks and released one Chinook, one coho jack and one pink. 10 boats/22 rods kept five coho, two coho jacks and released four coho.
Cowlitz River Above the I-5 Br – 74 bank rods released nine Chinook, two Chinook jacks, three coho and four coho jacks. 3 boats/6 rods kept three coho, two steelhead and released one Chinook.
The flows bumped up a good amount this past week. I am not sure about the CFS as the counter on the river has never been accurate. With the rain we got the fishing has moved from just the lower river all the way up near the weir. Griffin Shoule reports the coho fishing has started to pick up in recent days and he loves using a nightmare twitching jig this time of year. Chinook fishing continues to hold steady, and fish are still moving into the system in good numbers which is mind blowing for October as usually the last of the Chinook are just trickling in around this time.
A good friend of mine lives near this river and has said the fishing has been good some days and completely dead-on others. He has said on the slower days adding Slam-Ola powder for the extra sodium sulfates on the bait has helped him when nothing else has worked. I have used it in the past and I have always been told that these upper river fish crave salt, and that little extra sodium can really put them on your bait.
I am crediting the general lack of reporting on the tributaries these last few weeks with the number of fish passing over Bonneville still and the amount of people still having success on the big river. Ian has done well near the mouth of the Lewis reporting keeping one Coho and one Chinook jack though losing a few fish Wednesday 10/4/23. Fishing near the mouth of the Sandy has been great still, Beckham Schill has been trolling there and has been killing the coho in the early mornings, but the bite has fallen off as it gets brighter in the day.
Creel Reports for the Columbia read as the following-
Sec 1 (Bonneville) – 33 bank anglers kept 12 Chinook, two Chinook jacks, four coho, two coho jacks and released two coho. 9 boats/19 rods kept eight Chinook, four coho and released one Chinook and two coho.
Sec 2 (Camas/Washougal) – 48 boats/105 rods kept 18 Chinook, three Chinook jacks, 13 coho and released four Chinook, one Chinook jack and six coho.
Sec 3 (I-5 area) – No report.
Sec 4 (Vancouver) – Two bank anglers had no catch. 33 boats/63 rods kept six Chinook, three Chinook jacks, six coho and released three Chinook jacks and one coho.
Sec 5 (Woodland) – Five bank anglers had no catch. 16 boats/33 rods kept two Chinook and four coho.
Sec 6 (Kalama) – 7 boats/13 rods kept two Chinook and one Chinook jack.
Sec 7 (Cowlitz) – 3 boats/6 rods kept one Chinook and one coho.
Sec 8 (Longview) – Three bank anglers had no catch. 4 boats/8 rods had no catch.
Sec 9 (Cathlamet) – Three bank anglers had no catch.
Drano is still kicking out a large number of fish partially due to this great year we have been having and partially due to certain water temps and weather in my opinion. It hasn’t been as lights out as it was just a few weeks ago but we are starting to wind down the season so that is to be expected.
Warm Water Lakes and Ponds
Not much to report on here, there are some lakes still fishing decent for catfish as they get ready to fatten up for the winter but as far as I have heard the local lakes are quiet.
Merwin has all but gone quiet as the Kokanee and trout have gone to their home creeks and rivers to spawn and the ones being caught still are all but inedible. Until early spring the lake will go quiet as there isn’t much to catch or fish for in the winter/fall months.
Ilwaco and Long Beach
No update this week for harvesting razor clams at MoCrocks WDFW has asked people to check their website before each trip to keep yourself updated on the toxicity levels and the open and closed beaches. As Ian said last week if you are making the trip don’t forget your rod as surf perch fishing can be great this time of year.
Read this week’s Oregon fishing report.