Great news in SW Washington fishing this week as the Columbia salmon season has been extended until further notice, tributary salmon has slowed down a bit since the last rain, in other fisheries lakes and pond fishing has really felt the effect of this cooler weather and Kokanee is all but done until spring time.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
The river lowered down to 1300 cfs on 9/12/23 and has continued at this level and I don’t see this changing until a significant amount of rain as they lowered the level of Merwin to work on the dam and it will need to be refilled from rain to bring the flows up. There is a good amount of rain in the forecast and I will be fishing the river Sunday and Monday so I should be able to provide Ian with an up to date report next week. Fishing has been slower this week with not many limits being had but there is a steady amount of fish in the system. The holes near the golf course are by far my favorite this time of year as they don’t see nearly the amount of pressure other areas do but they are boat only spots.
There are more than a few fish around with great fishing found up and down the river. I was in the Angler West store in Woodland this week and there was a local angler who said he has been catching his limit nearly daily though he would not give a specific location. The water is low so clear water tactics should remain in effect.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,230 coho adults, 246 coho jacks, 78 fall Chinook adults, 15 fall Chinook jacks, 54 summer-run steelhead adults, 52 spring Chinook adults, ten spring Chinook jacks, five spring Chinook mini-jacks, and 71 cutthroat trout over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 43 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, 239 coho adults, and 43 coho jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.River flow below Mayfield Dam is 2,400 cubic feet per second on Monday, September 18, 2023.
The Washougal is hot right now with tons of fish in the lower river waiting for rain to move up the river. The river still looks like a creek up river so when the rain comes this week we should see a huge push of fish everywhere in the river. This river only has Tule Chinook so it’s more fun than it is for a place to put dinner on the table, especially if you are local and can make the stop after work. Coho have started to push in as well and you can see them from the top of the 4th street bridge pushing up through the rapids. There has been some serious delinquency near the mouth of the river with fights and other ugly shenanigans happening so be cautious if you go down near the 4th street bridge.
A friend of mine who lives near the Klickitat has said the water has some color to it due to warm weather lately and the bite has been stronger later in the morning from 9 am to 12 pm.
There was some great news this week with a meeting with WDFW and ODFW Wednesday 9/20/23 that extended the salmon fishing season until further notice, which comes to no surprise as we are nearly past our forecast for fall Chinook and Coho. The river has been fishing great this week though the water temps are still a little warm hovering near 69 degrees in Camas/Washougal. I fished out on the Columbia near the mouth of the Sandy on Sunday 9/17/23 and it was great fishing for most people out there. There were a few boats who I talked to who said they hadn’t had a take down but the vast majority had great luck. Ian is focusing more near warrior rock and has been killing the fish he fished Wednesday 9/20/23 landing two Chinook and releasing one Coho.
Creel Reports for the Columbia read as the following-
Sec 1 (Bonneville) – 74 bank anglers kept 11 Chinook, two Chinook jacks and released three Chinook. 11 boats/24 rods kept eight Chinook, one Chinook jack and released one Chinook.
Sec 2 (Camas/Washougal) – 123 boats/295 rods kept 129 Chinook, nine Chinook jacks, seven coho and released 11 Chinook, one Chinook jack and five coho.
Sec 3 (I-5 area) – 14 boats/31 rods kept nine Chinook, two Chinook jacks, three coho and released four Chinook and one coho.
Sec 4 (Vancouver) – 132 bank anglers kept 26 Chinook. 83 boats/182 rods kept 99 Chinook, six Chinook jacks, 10 coho and released seven Chinook and four coho.
Sec 5 (Woodland) – 1 boat/2 rods had no catch. (This doesn’t seem correct this week so take this information with a grain of salt)
Sec 6 (Kalama) – 77 bank anglers kept 16 Chinook, one coho and released two Chinook. 12 boats/31 rods kept five Chinook and released one coho.
Sec 7 (Cowlitz) – 9 boats/20 rods kept six Chinook and released one coho.
Sec 8 (Longview) – 14 bank anglers had no catch. 16 boats/37 rods kept seven Chinook and one coho.
Sec 9 (Cathlamet) – six bank anglers had no catch. 35 boats/72 rods kept seven Chinook, one Chinook jack, six coho and released three coho and one coho jack.
Drano lake is still red hot with tons of fish being caught especially outside on the Columbia. Trolling spinners with or without prawns, superbaits, and cut plugs has been great. Hovering eggs inside has seen a fall off in productivity but they are still getting fish. It’s just nowhere near the success it was two or three weeks ago.
Warm Water Lakes and Ponds
Bass fishing continues to slow as the water temps in the lakes have started to fall and pan fish are few and far between as most have gone lockjaw and are getting ready for winter. Won’t be much to report on for the next few months here as the trout don’t start biting until late winter early spring.
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.
Good news on some reports this week out of Westport with anglers finding Coho from 60 FOW to 200. One angler said that in the deeper water there were more fish to be found but they moved into shallower water for calmer seas and there were a lot of single marks on his fish finder in the shallower water but a good amount of bites to be had with an almost triple at one point. Bait used was whole herring, medium size chrome spoons and a hoochie. Caught on all, but the hoochie was least productive. All with flashers.
Read this week’s Oregon fishing report.