SW Washington fishing update by Terry Otto

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The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

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Salmon still biting in the ocean, but high-water temps are an issue. Buoy 10 off to a good start, with better tides next week, and a few Chinook showing in Vancouver-area hog lines on the Columbia River.

Vancouver Metro Area
A few early Chinook are being taken in Vancouver area hog lines, with most falling for wobblers fished on anchor, but the small bite is off and on. Some days the fish show, and others they don’t. Wait a couple weeks, and the bite will improve greatly. The local tribs are still fishing very slow for steelhead, while anglers await better times with the coming fall fish.

High country trout lakes are only fair at best, and have slowed down in recent weeks, while warm water fisheries are excellent everywhere. Catfish, bass and panfish are biting well in lakes and the Columbia, with the only slow spot being Washougal Reef walleye.

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—It is starting to sound like a broken record, but the Lewis is still fishing very slow for steelhead, and there are very few anglers giving it a whirl. With so few steelhead in the river a pattern is hard to develop, and right now anglers have as good a chance of stumbling onto an early fall salmon as they do a summer steelhead. During the latest WDFW creel survey, 15 bank rods had no catch, while three boats/six rods kept only one steelhead. With patterns hard to develop, anglers are fishing bobbers with eggs, jigs, or beads, and pulling plugs near the town of Woodland, and from the golf course up to the hatchery. Bank fishing has been mostly at the hatchery and the Hole in the Wall.

No changes in the Washougal, with the water still low and dangerously warm. There are few, if any, fish in the system, and fewer anglers trying for them. If there have been any recent catches, or if anyone has established a pattern, they are keeping quiet. But, river conditions are not conducive.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Both lakes are fishing fair to good for kokanee, and the most successful anglers are fishing from 20 to 60 feet of water, trolling kokanee flashers and hootchies tipped with corn. However, at times the bite has been inconsistent, and the fish hard to pattern. That has been the case this entire season, and some anglers believe the incessant pressure from the fishing fleet may be driving the kokes to act skittishly. Anglers are finding the schools fairly high in the water column until the sun rises, and then they are moving deeper.

Longview Area
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—
The summer steelhead action has slowed in the Cowlitz River, but it is still the best bet for summer fish. Catches have been dropping ever since the water was raised a couple weeks ago, and then dropped. The best bite has been for angler’s bobber-dogging the first few miles below Blue Creek. Bank anglers continue to fish drifted gear or bobber presentations near the mouth of the creek.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 66 spring Chinook adults, 11 spring Chinook jacks, 96 spring Chinook mini jacks, 58 summer-run steelhead adults, and 25 cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

The Kalama is fishing terribly slow, and the latest creel had five anglers with no catch. The river is now low and clear, and the weir is in place just below the Modrow Bridge. Few fresh fish will pass the weir until high water makes it possible. A few salmon could be entering the lower river soon, but with the flows so low, they will probably not move up the river far, and there have not been any salmon recorded yet.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake Fishing Report
—Fishing slowed just a little at Drano this week. The latest creel survey found three bank rods releasing one steelhead. 29 boats/66 rods kept eight Chinook, two jacks and released seven steelhead. Trolling with 360 flashers has been the go-to method. No report as yet on the best baits. Bonneville Dam counts are rising, so the lake should start to fish better in a week or two. Remember that steelhead are off-limits this year in Drano and the Wind River.

The Guide's Forecast's full report this week
 

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