SW Washington fishing this week has been on fire with fall salmon being caught in the tributaries and Columbia on a consistent basis. Limits everywhere seem to be the average report lately with great fishing from the Klickitat to the coast. Merwin is still producing Kokanee but they are headed for their spawning rivers with most getting very soft and showing good amounts of color.
REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water. AND wear a life jacket.
The mouth is still kicking out fish in good numbers but there are a large portion of people that have moved to near the train tracks or the forks. Trolling 360s with either a 3.5 spinner or a blue fox spinner has been great at the forks, people are also trolling plugs with success.
I was wrong about the drop two weeks ago as the Merwin dam has scheduled maintenance that requires dumping of the lake down to a set level. The river is flowing at 5,000 cfs and it will stay that way till mid way through this month. “Beginning Tuesday, September 5, 2023, PacifiCorp will be drawing down the Swift Reservoir for dam safety work that begins after Labor Day weekend. To reach the needed reservoir elevation for the work, water needs to pass downstream, resulting in increased flows out of the Merwin Project. Flows will go from 1,200 Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS) to approximately 5,000 CFS. The higher flow is expected to last until mid-September. -PacifCorp”. I went to Cedar Creek water access Tuesday 9/5/23 to see the water. I talked to an angler who said there were just a few fish rolling this last weekend and now there are fishing rolling left and right, he came out after work in his little john boat getting his limit in only an hour or two though I didn’t see the fish. I watched several others in the meat hole hook fish and I was there only around an hour. I’m hoping to run the river after work tomorrow but I am steering clear from Cedar Creek as the amount of people fishing just a weighted treble is very aggravating as well as unruly behavior, if you do launch or fish from Cedar Creek stow your valuables and put a lock on your trailer as trailer theft and break ins have been an issue in past years.
There are Coho and Chinook around all though the fishing hasn’t been great, the rain we had really helped the color giving it a darker look and bringing the water level up for a few days although I’m sure it won’t last long with no rain in the forecast. Once again a big jump in chinook this week though reports have shown a serious lack of fish. Creel reports state the same-Four bank rods had no catch.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 38 summer-run steelhead adults, 61 spring Chinook adults, 27 spring Chinook jacks, 47 spring Chinook mini-jacks, 23 fall Chinook adults, three fall Chinook jacks, 17 coho adults, one coho jack, and 11 cutthroat trout over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 53 spring Chinook adults, seven spring Chinook jacks, and one cutthroat trout at Franklin Bridge in Packwood and they released 19 fall Chinook adults, three fall Chinook jacks, 16 coho adults, one coho jacks, and three cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Bremer Bridge
Another week of no first hand reports most of the anglers I know don’t fish this river much for fall fish.
Cowlitz River I-5 Br downstream – 34 bank rods kept one steelhead. 2 boats/6 rods released 10 Chinook.
Cowlitz River Above the I-5 Br – 13 bank rods kept two steelhead. 2 boats/8 rods had no catch.
The Washougal continues to fish great with tons of Chinook in the river though 99.9% are tule strain they are still fun to catch. Coho should start showing soon though a good friend Griffin Soule has yet to see one caught.
Below warrior rock has closed until the end of the month but above warrior rock trollers have found success on the incoming tides on superbaits and spinners fished as close to the bottom as possible. It has seemingly slowed in recent days but it’s far from over. There was a record number of fish over the dam 9/1/23 with over 41,000 chinook in one day but numbers have fallen since then to nearly 8,000 Tuesday 9/5/23.
There is a teleconference Thursday 9/7/23 to talk about the things listed below. It isn’t on the agenda but there could be talks of an extension on the season below warrior rock or a closure above it will be interesting to listen in.
Drano was on FIRE this weekend with boats coming back in with their limits before the sun was ever fully up. I fished Saturday and Sunday here, limiting the boat both days before 11 with tons of Tules caught in between the keepers. I hover fished eggs and sand shrimp, if you have never done this here it’s such an amazing way to fish without the stress of maneuvering between boats and worrying about your trolling gear getting caught in other boats as it can be bumper boats at times.
Warm Water Lakes and Ponds
Things are slowing with very few lakes having trout around and biting. Bass has held steady but as the water cools down so will the bite. Pan fish have continued to slow with the water starting to cool but they are still around and biting a bobber with a small piece of earthworm is best for this time of year.
The very few anglers who are targeting kokanee still are finding darker fish getting ready to spawn in the local tributaries. Most fish are being found around 60 feet down still but in the early mornings they can be found near 40-50 feet.
Still haven’t found a reliable reporter here so no report this week. I will once again grind to try and find something for next week’s report.
Read this week’s Oregon fishing report.