SW Washington Fishing Reports

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The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

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Sep 17, 2020
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Oregon
By Terry Otto

Summer Chinook, sockeye, and steelhead fair in the Columbia, while shad still strong. Ocean salmon improving, but for smallish fish. Trout fair to good in highland lakes, while steelhead showing well in Cowlitz.

Vancouver Metro area

Salmon and steelhead are biting well in the lower Columbia, but catches near Vancouver remain fair at best. It’s also fair at best up near Bonneville, but anglers up there continue to have a ball with the sizable shad run.

Tributary steelhead fishing is good in the Cowlitz, okay in the North Fork, but poor elsewhere.

High country trout are still biting early and late in the day. Panfish and bass have picked up after the hot weather passed in most local lakes and waters.

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing report—Steelhead are showing in better numbers in the North Fork Lewis, where the latest creel found three boats/five rods keeping two steelhead. According to John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000), there are steelhead being caught in the river, but not anywhere near as many as normal.

The Washougal remains low and fishing is still poor, and very few anglers are trying the little river. A good freshet is unlikely anytime soon, but it is what is needed to improve the fishing.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report– Fishing is described as fair to good in both lakes by Stacie Kelsey of the WDFW Inland Fished Program, although Thompson reports that competition is fierce at Merwin. The hot weather has passed, but sunny days are seeing a good bite in early morning and late day only. Most of the anglers doing well are targeting the kokanee in 40 feet of water or deeper.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report
— Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 269 spring Chinook adults, 46 spring Chinook jacks, 95 spring Chinook mini jacks, 93 summer-run steelhead adults, and one cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. In addition, Tacoma Power recycled 92 summer-run steelhead adults to the I-5 boat launch Anglers are reminded that the river has reverted to permanent rules, and fishers may now retain fin-clipped spring Chinook.

Fishing is best in the upper river below the Blue Creek. During the latest creel above the I-5 Bridge, 20 bank rods kept six steelhead, indicating an improved bite for bank anglers. 15 boats/50 rods kept one Chinook and 40 steelhead.

The Kalama River is giving up a few summer steelhead in the river’s lower sections, according to Thompson. There has been a good bite on pulling plugs, with the U-20 Flatfish reportedly drawing bites in red.

Columbia River Gorge

Klickitat River Fishing Report—
The river is still off-color, according to Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400). He said the river turned brown, “like rolling mud,” following the record heat wave. The river is now a gray color with about 6 inches visibility. Very few anglers have given the river a try, although summer steelhead should now be entering the river in decent numbers.

Goose Lake is fishing well early and late in the day for trout, and other high country lakes are providing a good trout bite.

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