The Guides Forecast
- Sep 17, 2020
Summer Steelhead photo by Terry Otto
Terry Otto Reporting: Chinook and Shad dropping off, but sockeye and steelhead still biting. Summer steelhead good in the Cowlitz, while high country trout fishing is fair. Walleye are not biting well on the Washougal Reef, but are doing great at the John Day Dam.
Vancouver Metro Area
Summer Chinook are tapering off and the shad run is over. Summer steelhead and sockeye are still being caught in the lower Columbia, but catch rates near Vancouver are still low. Local trout lakes are very slow, while panfish are actively biting in most local waters.
Sockeye numbers over Bonneville are still strong, although popular sockeye areas above and below Bonneville are only fishing fair.
Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Jhon Thompson of John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000), reports that spring Chinook are showing up in the Lewis River, much later than usual, while steelheading is still slow. Fishing pressure is low on the river, perhaps because other fisheries are doing pretty well. Only two bank anglers were surveyed in the latest creel, and they had no catch. Whether fishing for springers or summer steelhead, bait has been the most effective, with salmon eggs, sand shrimp, and coon shrimp drawing bites.
The river has good flow, but is very clear, and anglers fishing with lighter lines have an advantage. The action is taking place between the Hole in the Wall in Woodland and the hatchery. Boat anglers have done best upriver of the Golf Course, while bank anglers are targeting the hatchery itself. A few springers have been taken in the Meat Hole.
The Washougal remains extremely low, and the fishing has been poor. There is little to no fishing pressure here, and local anglers seem to be awaiting the fall fisheries.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report– Fishing is still described as fair to good in both lakes by Stacie Kelsey of the WDFW Inland Fished Program, and the competition is fierce at Merwin. Sunny days are seeing a good bite in early morning and late day, and the schools can be found near the 20-foot mark early, and dropping down as deep as 60 feet when the sun climbs mid-day.
Local Lakes Fishing Report—The Swift Power Canal has been fishing very well for rainbow trout, as has the Swift reservoir, especially where the Lewis River enters the lake. Lacamas Lake is good for panfish and bass, as is Vancouver Lake. Be warned, Vancouver Lake is prone to algae blooms, and they occur every summer. Stay out of the water if the blooms are visible, or there are warning signs posted. Keep pets out of the water, too.
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report–Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 158 spring Chinook adults, 48 spring Chinook jacks, 446 spring Chinook mini jacks, 107 summer-run steelhead adults, and six cutthroat trout during four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. In addition, Tacoma Power recycled 40 summer-run steelhead adults to the I-5 boat launch.
The Barrier Dam spillway project is under way through October 1. The river will be held at about the 2,500 cfs level as the work continues.
Summer steelhead fishing is pretty good in the Cowlitz, and the lower river produced some better catches this week, too. Below the I-5 Bridge 41 surveyed bank anglers kept seven steelhead. Many of the fish caught were taken by plunking. The bite was still better above the bridge, where 29 bank rods kept three steelhead, and 25 boats/80 rods kept 44 steelhead. The river is also giving up fair numbers of spring Chinook, as the run has continued to come in, much later than usual. According to Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), the fishing for summer fish should continue to improve over the next couple weeks, and the best bite will come for fishers that are bobber-dogging with bait or beads.
The Kalama is fishing slow for summer steelhead and spring Chinook. The fishing pressure has dropped off, too, with less anglers clogging the mid-river fishing holes. During the last creel survey only two anglers were checked, and they had no catch. There are some summer steelhead around, and they are keyed in on bait and plugs right now.
Columbia River Gorge
Local Lakes Fishing Report—panfish are biting well in Rowland Lake, tunnel Lake, and all of the Highway 14 causeway lakes. Smallmouth bass will also be biting in these waters. Goose Lake is fishing fair for trout, and the best bet is early morning. Spring Creek in Klickitat County has been good for trout.
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