SW WA Fishing Report

The Columbia’s not the only Southwest Washington river giving up springers these days. So too are the Cowlitz and Kalama.

Steelhead are also biting in the area, as are a few sturgeon and walleye.

Here’s the report from Joe Hymer, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission:


Cowlitz River – Anglers are continuing to catch steelhead and some spring chinook.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 613 winter-run steelhead and 23 spring Chinook adults during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.  During the week Tacoma Power employees released 16 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and 82 winter-run steelhead and 21 spring Chinook adult into Lake Scanewa behind Cowlitz Falls Dam. 

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,670 cubic feet per second on Tuesday March 30. Flows are nearly identical to the long-term mean for this date.

Kalama River – Anglers are catching a mixture of steelhead and spring chinook.

Lewis River – Light effort and no catch observed.  Flows below Merwin are currently 10,800 cfs, double the long-term mean for this date.

Wind River and Drano Lake – Light effort with only a couple boats at the Wind last Sunday morning; none at Drano.

Klickitat River from mouth to the Fisher Hill Bridge (located about 3 miles upstream from the mouth)- From April 3 through May 31, open Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays only for hatchery chinook and hatchery steelhead. Anglers will be able to retain two hatchery chinook, hatchery steelhead, or one of each as part of their daily limit

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Last week, anglers made 25,438 trips on the lower Columbia and caught 4,874 adult spring Chinook (4,220 kept and 654 released), which brings the total effort to 68,290 angler trips and Chinook catch of 6,682 fish kept and 1,011 released.  The effort and catch totals for March are the among the highest in the history of the creel program (began in 1968).  Only non-selective catch in 1990 (9,000) and the 8,800 fish handled in the selective fishery in 2003 were higher.

Based on Visual Stock Identification sampling, upriver spring Chinook comprised about 70% of the kept catch last week.  Things should slow down some this week with the turbid water, especially in the lower river.

Effort was up from the previous weekend with 2,062 boats and counted during last Saturday’s March 27 flight.  In addition there were 754 bank anglers.

From the I-5 Bridge to Bonneville Dam, April 3 is the last scheduled day to fish for hatchery spring chinook, hatchery steelhead, and shad.  Shad is expected to re-open May 16; salmonids on June 16.  Buoy 10 to the I-5 Bridge is scheduled to be open for hatchery spring chinook, hatchery steelhead, and shad 7 days/week through April 18.

The Dalles Pool – The few bank anglers sampled had no catch.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Remains slow for legal size fish.  Effort remains fairly light with 47 boats and 70 bank anglers counted during Saturday’s flight.

The Dalles Pool – Slow for legal size fish.


The Dalles Pool – The few boat anglers sampled did well on walleye.


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