SW Washington Fishing Report

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The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

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Oregon
Vancouver Metro Area

A few late coho are scattered through the tributaries, but the fishing is quickly dropping off and the run is almost over. It was the best fall fishing in years in both the Columbia and the tribs. Prospects for a strong winter steelhead run are poor, and there are few options for early run steelhead in southwest Washington.

Black Friday trout fishing was very good in all locations, and those fisheries are still doing very well. Trout stockings in local lakes will be pretty regular this winter.

Watch for fresh trout plantings HERE

Most warm water fisheries are over for the year.

Lewis and Washougal Fishing Report—The Lewis River has recovered from the high flows that resulted from the “atmospheric river”, and the flooding it caused, but anglers are not finding many coho left in the river. Most of the available fish have most likely pulled into the hatchery trap, leaving little to fish for in the river. That’s the word from John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000).

So far there have been no reports of winter steelhead being landed in the river. The Lewis does get one of the few early winter steelhead runs left in southwest Washington, with the fishery usually producing decent catches by now. Few anglers or biologists expect a very good winter steelhead return this year, but there should be a few steelhead around by now.

The Washougal River late coho run is mostly over. There may be a few stragglers around in the lower river, but the reports indicate that what coho are left are up in the upper sections, where there is little to no pubic access. Fishing was very good prior to the high water.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—The kokanee in both lakes have been active lately, even though the lakes are still a little dirty from the recent high water. However, Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), who usually fishes the Cowlitz, took clients out on Merwin recently, and they did very well. Mallahan said they hooked about 100 kokes, and landed about half of them. The fish were taking scented corn fished with a small spinner, and the fish were reportedly up high in the water column. He was running his baits a good distance back from the boat, and flat-lining most of the rods.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Both Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake fished very well on Black Friday, and have stayed good since. The fish at Klineline are moving around quite a bit, according to Stacie Kelsey of the WDFW Inland Fishes Program, so she advises anglers move if they aren’t getting bit. Boat anglers did the best at Battle Ground, but bank anglers did well, too. Lacamas Lake was stocked with over 6,000 catchable rainbows recently.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report
—The Cowlitz River is in bad shape right now, with a mudslide in the upper system fouling the water from Mayfield Lake on downstream, according to guide Dave Mallahan. Also, the numbers of late coho in the river have fallen off after weeks of strong numbers. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,654 coho adults, 208 coho jacks, eight cutthroat trout, seven fall Chinook adults, and one summer-run steelhead adult during six days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. The hatchery trap saw returns of over 6,000 coho a week until recently. Mallahan figures that if the river conditions were decent, there are still a few fresh coho to be caught, but there are few to no anglers fishing the river right now. He reports that angling effort at the Barrier Dam has dropped off to almost nothing, too.

There are still some coho available in the Kalama River, but like the Cowlitz, this system’s run of late coho are finishing up. However, Thompson has heard reports of a couple winter steelhead turning up already, and a few late coho, so the fishery is still providing some action. The coho were spread through the entire river just a week or so ago, so anglers may still get some to bite. They will take everything from spinners to plugs, salmon eggs, and jigs.

Check out Terry’s detailed report (he crushes it every week!) and forecast in this week’s SW Washington Member’s version!

Receive our weekly fishing updates in your email on Thursday nights by signing up here.
 
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The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

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Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
237
Location
Oregon
Tributary fishing is dropping off sharply. The late run of coho is finishing up, and there are few options for early steelhead in southwest Washington. Trout angling is excellent in local waters.

Vancouver Metro Area


The tributaries are pretty much done for late coho. The lone exception is the Klickitat River, which is still giving up some fresh fish. A few steelhead may be trickling into a few rivers, but most streams won’t get good for steelhead until next year.

Black Friday trout fishing was very good in all locations, and most of those fisheries have received additional stockings. Trout stockings in local lakes will be pretty regular this winter, and the state is getting ready to plant out trophy-sized rainbow brood trout soon. Watch for fresh trout plantings, as well as big broodstock trout plantings HERE

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Fishing has slowed in the Lewis, with the coho run over, and the first winter steelhead slow to show. The most recent creel survey from the river had four bank anglers with no catch. Last year’s steelhead run was poor, and this year is beginning to look like a repeat. The river is high, but in good condition, running at around the 12.5-foot stage.

Fishing pressure has slowed from the crowded coho season, with a few anglers targeting the hatchery. With the water running high the steelhead are moving through the river fairly quickly and pulling into the area around the hatchery. Still, there are only a few fish to be found.

Likewise, the Washougal River is in the same condition, with the late run coho having finished up, and few winter steelhead pulling in yet. The river is in good shape, and running at about the 6.9-foot stage. There may be a few steelhead around, but there have been no reports of any steelhead being caught as of yet.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Not much change here, with both lakes fishing fair to good. The lakes are still a little dirty from the recent high water. However, Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), reports that fishing has been very good for him. The fish are near the surface, so flat-line trolling or fishing with just a little lead has been effective. The fish are taking scented corn fished with a wedding ring, spinner, or hootchie behind a kokanee dodger. The fishing pressure is fairly strong on the nicer days, with Yale being a little less crowded then Merwin.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Both Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake fished very well this week, and have had recent stockings. Lacamas Lake was stocked and is fishing well near the boat ramp and around Round Lake.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—
The Cowlitz is fishing poorly right now, and there are few anglers hitting this river. The coho run is mostly over, even though a few late-comers are still hanging around, but the fishing, and pressure, have dropped off a lot. The steelhead run is a late run, and except for a few strays, there are too few to target right now. The river is also still in poor condition, with dirtier than usual color. The upper river did not generate any action this week. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,204 coho adults, 186 coho jacks, 16 cutthroat trout, one fall Chinook adult, and one winter-run steelhead adult during six days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

The Kalama River has slowed up for coho, but there are a few fish still around. This river does get a modest early run of hatchery steelhead, and a few have been caught in recent weeks. However, anglers are having to work hard to find a fish or two. Anglers targeting coho are using a wide variety of offerings, including spinners, bobber and bait, and jigs. Plugs have also been effective. Most boat anglers are working the middle sections, between the Red Barn and the Modrow Bridge, and bank anglers are fishing the canyon. The steelhead have been taken on bobber presentations. Bait, beads, and jigs are all good choices. The river fishes well for anglers pulling plugs, too.

Columbia River Gorge

Local Lakes Fishing Report—
Rowland Lake has been very good for trout since it was stocked, and is still fishing excellent.

Check out Terry's detailed report (he crushes it every week!) and forecast in this week's SW Washington Member's version!

Receive our weekly fishing updates in your email on Thursday nights by signing up here.
 
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The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
237
Location
Oregon
SW Washington Fishing Report by Terry Otto

Vancouver Metro Area

For those souls brave enough to weather the recent storms, steelhead fishing is improving in most local tributaries. Trout fishing is picking up in lowland lakes, and Gorge sturgeon retention begins Saturday.


Hatchery steelhead returns to some streams have been almost triple what they were last year at this time feeding hopes for a better steelhead year.
Sturgeon retention starts in the Gorge pools on Saturday, but The Dalles Pool is open only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, to prevent the quota being reached too soon.

There were fresh stockings in most local lakes prior to Christmas, and some lakes, such as Ice House Lake in the Gorge, were planted for the first time.

Watch for fresh trout plantings, as well as big broodstock trout and steelhead plantings HERE

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Steelheading has been fair to good on the Lewis River in recent weeks, with anglers finding the fish up near Merwin Dam, and at the Meat Hole. There are steelhead scattered spread through the river from Woodland up to the hatchery, too. 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, too.

Bank anglers have been doing okay, mostly by fishing beads or jigs below a bobber, or by drift fishing. A few are finding takers by plunking in the lower river. The river did drop from the 14.5-foot stage down to about 13 feet over the last week.

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

The Washougal has been on a steady drop this week, and some anglers have braved the conditions to give it a try. The fishing has been fair, with winter steelhead falling for bobber presentations and drifted gear or bait. Most of the fish have been taken in the lower three river miles.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report Both lakes are fishing fair to good, for those anglers that have been able to get to the lake. the fish have been near the surface, so flat-line trolling or fishing with just a little lead has been the most effective. The fish are taking scented natural-colored corn fished with a wedding ring, spinner, or hootchie behind a kokanee dodger. With the recent bad weather, the fishing pressure has been lower than usual. Yale has been a little less crowded than Merwin.

Local Lakes Fishing Report - Trout fishing at Klineline Pond was fair to good this week, while Battle Ground Lake is rated as excellent for trout. The hot bait at Klineline recently has been the Powerbait Mouse Tails. The fish are still moving around quite a bit, so anglers should move if they aren’t getting bit. Boat anglers did the best at Battle Ground again, but bank anglers are also getting a few. In both lakes the bite has been best on bait. Lacamas Lake has been well stocked and is fishing well near the boat ramp and around Round Lake.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—
Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), gave the Cowlitz a try this week, and he reported catching one steelhead. “If there were many steelhead around, I would have caught more,” he reported. He also said he was the only boat out there. His fish fell to a bead fished via bobber-dogging. He does not think the river will get to be much good until at least mid-January. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 211 coho adults, 20 coho jacks, three cutthroat trout, one fall Chinook adult, but only seven winter-run steelhead adults during four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

The lower river has been no better, and few, if any anglers, are giving it a try. There are very few steelhead moving through right now, certainly not enough to draw plunkers to the banks.

The Kalama has been fishing fair for steelhead, and has been on the drop all week. The river is in good shape, and anglers are getting some steelhead. They moved through the entire system recently, drawn up by the recent high flows, so anglers are finding a few fish scattered all through the system. Boat anglers are finding a few fish in most of the popular drifts, and bank anglers are doing fair up in the canyon.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Lake Sacajawea was given its annual stocking ahead of Christmas Day, and should be fishing well. The fish planted in Sacajawea averaged one pound each. Kress Lake is still producing some trout and excess steelhead. The steelhead have been biting very aggressively at Kress this year.

Check out Terry's detailed report (he crushes it every week!) and forecast in this week's SW Washington Member's version!
 
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