Winter Schminter, First Summer Back To Cow — SW WA Fish Report (3-14-11)



Cowlitz River – Boat anglers are catching some steelhead around the trout hatchery.  We also sampled a “confirmed” summer run steelhead caught from the lower river.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 108 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook adult during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released the spring Chinook adult and 23 steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and they released 17 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,640 cubic feet per second on Monday, March 14. A flow increase to promote downstream migration of juvenile salmonid outmigrants in the Cowlitz River is scheduled for a twelve hour period on Tuesday, March 15. Water visibility is three feet.

Kalama River – Light effort.  River has been turbid.

Lewis River – Light effort.  A few spring Chinook have been reported caught.

Anglers should be aware that March 15 is the last day to fish for steelhead on Abernathy, Cedar (Clark Co.), Germany, Mill (Cowlitz Co.), Rock (Skamania Co.), Salmon (Clark Co.) creeks and on the Coweeman, Elochoman, Grays, East Fork Lewis and Washougal rivers.

Wind River and Drano Lake are scheduled to open for spring chinook March 16 with a limit of two chinook per day. Expect fishing to be slow at first with only 41 fish across Bonneville Dam through March 11.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Overall catch rates and locations were similar to the previous week.  A few more lower river stock were sampled the past couple days in the Vancouver area and the first fish of the season was sampled from the bank in the area just below Bonneville Dam.

Last week we sampled 2,105 anglers (including 719 boats) with 98 chinook and 6 steelhead.  Boat anglers averaged a Chinook kept/released per every 17.1 rods based on mainly completed trips.  All of the catch last week was sampled from the Lewis upstream.  There was one lucky bank angler out of the 462 sampled that had kept a spring Chinook.

Seventy-three  (74%) of the Chinook caught were kept.  93% were upriver stock based on Visual Stock Identification (VSI). Four (67%) of the steelhead caught were kept.

The NOAA River Forecast Center is forecasting mainstem Columbia flows to sharply increase starting this afternoon.


       Observed                Forecast / Trend    
Date       Time  Inflow     Date       Time  Inflow
           (PDT)  (cfs)                 (PDT)  (cfs) 

03/14/2011 0100     213300       03/14/2011 1100     311520

03/13/2011 0000     238300       03/14/2011 1700     331840

03/12/2011 0000     221000       03/14/2011 2300     335320

03/11/2011 0000     228900       03/15/2011 0500     349740

03/10/2011 0000     232500       03/15/2011 1100     362450

03/09/2011 0000     203200       03/15/2011 1700     354680

03/08/2011 0000     221500       03/15/2011 2300     338700

03/07/2011 0000     193200       03/16/2011 0500     324650

03/06/2011 0000     197700       03/16/2011 1100     316940

03/05/2011 0000     230900       03/16/2011 1700     318200

03/04/2011 0000     219100       03/16/2011 2300     322880

03/17/2011 0500     324840

03/17/2011 1100     322720

03/17/2011 1700     315100

The Dalles and John Day pools – Boat anglers are catching some steelhead.

Bonneville Dam to Oregon/Washington Border – Effective March 16 through April 24, open to fishing for hatchery Chinook, hatchery steelhead, and shad. Bank fishing only from Bonneville Dam to Tower Island powerlines located about 6 miles below The Dalles Dam. Up to 2 hatchery adult Chinook or hatchery steelhead or one of each may be retained per day. Release all salmon other than hatchery chinook.

Expect fishing to be slow at first with only 41 fish across Bonneville Dam through March 11.  Recent 10-year average is almost 350 fish.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – One lucky boat angler in the Kalama area had caught a legal size fish.

The Dalles Pool – Slow for legal size fish.  Through February, an estimated 71 (23.7%) of the 300 fish guideline had been taken.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals.  An estimated 277 (55.4%) of the 500 fish guideline had been taken through February.


The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers are catching some walleye.  No effort observed for bass.

John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged a walleye per every other rod.  No effort observed for bass.


Klineline Pond – Bank anglers averaged just over a catchable size rainbow per rod.  Planted with 2,000 half-pound rainbows March 9.

Silver Lake near Castle Rock – Planted with 7,920 catchable size rainbows March 8.

Battleground Lake – Planted with 3,000 over half-pound rainbows March 7.

Lacamas Lake near Camas – Planted with 6,380 half-pound browns March 8.


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