SW Washington fishing update by Terry Otto

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The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

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Ocean salmon has been slowed by hot weather, but should be improving this week. Shad fishing is excellent at Bonneville, while Chinook and sockeye are fair in the lower Columbia. Tributary steeleheading is picking up.

Vancouver Metro Area

The record-breaking heat last weekend kept many anglers at home, but most that ventured forth did find decent fishing. Chinook are biting in the lower Columbia, although the Vancouver area was not as good as the lower river. Sockeye, steelhead, and Chinook are being caught by plunkers in the lower river, while John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000), reports that the shad darts are flying off the shelves.

Trout fishing slowed everywhere with the heat, and even the warm water species slowed. Salmon fishing opened on the 27th off the coast, and warm water hampered that bite. Ocean fishing should pick up now that the temps have stabilized.

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing report— The Lewis was running at about 11.5 feet over the past week, and river conditions are good. According to Thompson, a few anglers chasing summer steelhead on the Lewis are finding a few fish, and bobber and eggs seems to be the go-to method. While certainly not good, the fishing is decent. Anglers are finding some fish between the hatchery and the Lewis River Golf Course, and a few fish have been taken by anglers plunking in the lower river. Bank anglers at the hatchery are getting just a few fish as well, also on bobber and eggs. With the Columbia fishing as good as it is anglers are not fishing the Lewis very much.

The Washougal was already running low before the heat wave hit, and it is even lower now. There is not much going on in this little river, and there are very few anglers giving it a try. Low, warm water is keeping the few fish from being in the mood to take a bait.

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 you can almost walk across the lake on the boats fishing Merwin. The hot weather and sun drove the schools of kokanee to seek the cooler temps in deeper water. Most of the anglers doing well are targeting the kokanee in 40 feet of water or deeper. Anglers working shallow are not doing well at all.

Local Lakes Fishing report—Lowland lakes trout fishing has slowed to almost nothing, although fresh trout plantings were made in June at Klineline Pond. It could remain slow the rest of the summer. Cooling temps might make for a better warm-water bite in Lacamas and Vancouver Lakes, where panfish and bass await. Fish the early morning and late evenings for the best bite. Good-sized rainbow trout are coming to hand in Swift Reservoir, especially where the Lewis River enters the lake.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—
Summer steelhead fishing has improved on the Cowlitz, and anglers are getting good numbers of fish. Most of the action is taking place up by the Blue Creek area. Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), fished the reach early this week, and he had two summer steelhead in the box by 9 am. He reports the fishing is pretty decent, unless there are too many boats on the river. He took his fish by bobber-dogging salmon eggs, a bait which he said has been the most effective. Most boat anglers are bobber-dogging, which is proving the most effective way to target Cowlitz steelhead.

The river has now reverted to permanent rules, so anglers may keep fin-clipped spring Chinook. In the most recent creel survey above the I-5 Bridge, 19 bank anglers kept one Chinook and one jack, while boat anglers scored almost a fish a rod, with 20 boats/76 rods keeping 64 steelhead.

The Kalama River has been fishing a little slower, although a few spring Chinook can still be found, and a few summer steelhead are getting around. However, the steelhead have been slow to show up, and they haven’t been holding well in the lower sections of the river. Some anglers have had limited success in the very lowest sections of the river below the Modrow Bridge, though, and a few steelhead have been taken up in the Canyon, but fishing overall is slow. Bait has been the go-to offering, including sand shrimp, salmon eggs, and coon tail shrimp, all fished below a bobber.

You can read Terry Otto’s recent article on ocean salmon fishing off Long Beach in the Columbian Newspaper HERE.
 

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