SW Washington fishing report by Terry Otto

The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

Vancouver Metro Area

Sketchy weather continues to keep many anglers at home, and some local rivers look to be going into flood stage this weekend, the result of forecasted heavy rains. Trout fishing is good for anglers that can reach the water.

Although angling activity has been down recently due to winter weather, hatchery steelhead returns and catches in some streams have been good, feeding hopes for a better steelhead year overall.
Sturgeon retention started in the Gorge pools on Saturday, but anglers are reminded that the Dalles Pool is open only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, to prevent the quota being reached too soon. Winter weather has been an issue.

Not many anglers have dared the weather and roads to trout fish, but some die-hard anglers have made it out. Watch for fresh trout plantings, as well as big broodstock trout and steelhead plantings HERE

Be safe out there! The weather may make for dangerous conditions on local roads and rivers. Practice safe driving and boating if you get out this weekend!

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Steelheading continues to be fair to good on the Lewis River. Some anglers are finding the fish up near Merwin Dam, and also at the Meat Hole. There are steelhead throughout the river from Woodland up to the hatchery. Boat anglers are getting some fish by bobber-dogging with beads or small bits of salmon eggs. A few anglers are getting some fish by pulling plugs.

Bank anglers have been fishing beads or jigs below a bobber, or drift fishing, with the best action coming from the hatchery area. A few are finding takers by plunking in the lower river. The river has dropped some, and is in good condition, for now.

You can read Terry Otto’s recent article in The Columbian on fish passage issues on the Lewis River dams HERE.

The Washougal has continued to give up a few steelhead, according to John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000). He reports he continues to hear of some steelhead coming to hand in the lower river. The fishing has been fair, with winter steelhead falling for bobber presentations and drifted gear or bait.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—
The Cowlitz has been fishing very slow, according to Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), and very few anglers have tried the river during the recent winter weather. The river gets no early return, and the late run is not expected to show in any good numbers for a few weeks. This past week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 330 coho adults, 18 coho jacks, and just seven winter-run steelhead adults during four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

The lower river has been a bust as well, and once again, very few anglers are trying their luck down low. Few anglers, few steelhead, and poor weather have kept things quiet.

The Kalama had been fishing fair to good for steelhead, although fishing pressure has been a little light due to the winter weather. Anglers had been getting their fish through the entire river, with boat anglers getting their fish by bobber-dogging with beads or bait. Bank anglers have also been getting their fish on beads or bait fished below a bobber, although some fish are falling for drifted presentations and hardware. Plugs can also be effective.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Lake Sacajawea was stocked before Christmas with trout that averaged about a pound each. The fishing has been good for anglers fishing Powerbait on the bottom, but these fish will also fall for spinners. Mayfield Lake was rated as fair for trout, but will probably get dirty following this week’s rains. This may be the weekend to give that lake a pass. The South Lewis County Park Pond is fishing well for trout.

Columbia River Gorge

Sturgeon retention started in the Gorge pools last Saturday, but heavy snow has kept most anglers from sturgeon fishing this past week. The Dalles Pool is open only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, to prevent the quota being reached too soon. The quotas for the three pools that are open are as follows: Bonneville Pool-500, with only 8.2 % of quota caught. The Dalles Pool-190, with 8.9% of quota caught. John Day Pool-105, with 7.6 % caught.

Travel in the Gorge has been difficult, and both I-84 and SR 14 have been closed at times due to heavy snow and ice. The weather may clear by the weekend, but anglers should check on road and ramp conditions before trying to pull a boat up the Gorge and launch it.
 
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