SW Washington fishing update – written by Terry Otto

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The Guides Forecast

The Guides Forecast

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Tributary fishing slows even further, summer Chinook and steelhead fair in the Columbia. High country trout fishery heating up as lowland lakes trout slows.

Fishing in the local tributaries is very slow, with spring Chinook catches declining, and very few summer steelhead coming in. The Columbia offers better ops for Chinook, steelhead, and shad, with the best action coming up near Bonneville Dam and the Camas area. Sturgeon are biting a little better, too.

Local lakes trout fishing is wrapping up, while high elevation lakes are now accessible, and offer better chances for success. Warm water fishing is excellent anywhere there are fish, including the many lakes along Highway 14 in the Gorge.

It looks like another great year for shad, with catches picking up throughout the Columbia.

Next weekend is free fishing weekend in Washington, and anglers can fish Washington waters without having to purchase a fishing license on June 12 and 13. However, all other rules and regulations apply

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Not much to report in the Lewis, as fishing participation is really declining due to a lack of fish. Only one bank angler was surveyed in the last creel survey, and he had no catch. River conditions have been good, but with Chinook closed and the steelhead a no-show so far, anglers have little to target in the river.

The Washougal has recovered from its low water issues after the recent heavy rains, but is once again on the drop. Here, as in the Lewis, there have been no good reports.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—kokanee anglers are finding conditions to be a bit more stable in both lakes, although the high sun has pushed them deeper, according to John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000). Most anglers are using divers or downriggers to reach the fish in 40 to 60 feet of water, and fishing hootchies or other lures tipped with corn fished behind a dodger or flasher.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—
Steelheading in the Cowlitz is still slow, although a few summer steelhead are biting. Fishing pressure has dropped quite a bit, too. During the latest creel surveys above the I-5 Bridge, seven bank rods had no catch, while five boats/17 rods kept two steelhead and released one steelhead. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 110 spring Chinook adults, 64 spring Chinook jacks, 10 summer-run steelhead adults, and six winter-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Upper river anglers are bobber-dogging with bait for the fish, while bank anglers are using a variety of methods.

Lower river anglers are finding a few fish, but not many. In fact, creel surveys below the I-5 Bridge found 23 bank rods with no catch, and one boat/one rod had no catch.

Fishing has slowed for spring Chinook on the Kalama, although river conditions are improving following the rains. Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse has heard reports of a few summer steelhead being caught in the river. Both the steelhead and Chinook seem to be spread through the river, with some of the best bites coming from the mid-river drifts.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Mayfield Lake rainbows are biting well, as are the lake’s tiger muskies. Mineral Lake is also fishing very well for rainbows. Swofford Pond and Silver Lake are both good for largemouth bass, and Silver is still giving up nice crappie.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake and Wind River Fishing Report—
Fishing has slowed down in Drano Lake, and the pressure has lifted a little. During the latest creel survey, four bank rods had no catch, while 18 boats/29 rods kept three Chinook and released two Chinook.

The Wind River is giving up a few spring Chinook as well, with the latest creel survey showing that seven bank rods had no catch, while 10 boats/18 rods kept three Chinook and released one Chinook.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Goose Lake has been well-stocked with rainbows and cutthroats and has produced excellent fishing. Rowland Lake is still fishing well for trout, and there are bluegill and largemouth biting as well.

Terry Otto’s story about Columbia Gorge walleye in the Columbian Newspaper can be found HERE.
 
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