SW Washington fishing update

The Guides Forecast
SW Washington by Ian Carter

It’s July doldrums and this week’s report is very similar to last weeks. New highlights include the Lewis finally kicking out a few fish. Plus, early morning Kokanee fishing on Merwin is worth the trip. Chinook counts on the Cowlitz made a jump.

REMINDER, please verify the regulations before fishing any body of water

Lewis Report​

Looks like some good Steelhead fishing is beginning to materialize. I visited the Cedar Creek launch on Monday morning around 10:00am. There were 7 trailers in the lot. Three drift and four power. Fishing pressure is increasing for both bank and boat. The river is super skinny right now, so please use extreme caution and courtesy. WDFW creel checks showed seven bank rods kept one steelhead. One boat/1 rod kept one Chinook and released one.

The gauge level at Ariel has lowered even more to 2.1ft. and holding. Water flow is mostly steady and is currently 1,640cfs. It is just about even with the median. NOAA’s gauge in Woodland is 9.5ft.

The stream flow data can be found here: USGS-North Fork Lewis.

Kalama Report​

Korey at Bob’s Sporting Goods is on vacation this week and he wasn’t available to give us a Kalama report. I will take a run up there for next week’s report. There should be some action beginning to take place in the canyon.

Cowlitz Report​

Flows are still low, and it’s most definitely affected fishing success. Currently the river is running at 3,200cfs. Fishing seems to be slowing down quite a bit on the Cowlitz, still bobber dogging and pulling plugs says Dave with Dave’s Guide Service cell: (360) 201-9313

WDFW angler check data reported that Cowlitz River I-5 Br downstream – Six bank rods kept four steelhead. Cowlitz River Above the I-5 Br – 10 bank rods kept one steelhead and released one jack. 33 boats/105 rods kept 123 steelhead and released one Chinook.

Chinook counts are saw a big increase this past week. Steelhead counts were up by 20% from the previous week. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 450 spring Chinook adults, 86 spring Chinook jacks, 778 spring Chinook mini-jacks, 535 summer-run steelhead adults, and five cutthroat trout over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. It’s interesting to start watching the Cutthroat number as the summer progresses. (Harvest trout, as they were called when I was a kid) They are an easily overlooked fall fish.

Columbia Gorge and Tributaries​

The tributaries continue to have little to report right now. WDFW reported nothing for the Wind, Drano, and Klickitat. Chinook counts at Bonneville have dropped to the daily 500 range, which is still substantial. Steelhead are coming in good numbers and remaining consistent.

Bonneville Fish Count Data

Reservoir Report​

All three Lewis River reservoirs continue to fish decent. The wake boat crowd can make fishing a little more testing as the day progresses. Mayfield Reservoir received 3,020 rainbow on July 19, 2022

Columbia Summary​

Fishing for steelhead is still going strong for plunkers on beaches near river mouths. Martin Bar had some success this week. This would also offer some explanation for the improvement of fishing in the Lewis. This area below, out of the Willow Grove boat launch continues to offer good Steelhead fishing. There are also some deeper areas where you can target Chinook.


Jetty and surf perch fishing continue to produce good catches. Depending on your jetty, some Chinook are also being taken. On a calm seas day this can be fun for the kids.

Other Area Lakes​

High lakes fishing is excellent. If you like to hike and fish, it’s worth the effort. Pack a tent and stay a couple of nights. It’s a nice get away from the heat in the valley.

None of the local trout lakes have been stocked lately. Lacamas is producing some good bluegill fishing and makes for a nice evening out with the kids. Easy bobber and worm fishing. You may even catch a Largemouth bass or a Bullhead catfish.

Please contact me by email or text with any questions or comments.


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