SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (5-23-11)

(REPORT COURTESY BIOLOGIST JOE HYMER)

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Elochoman River from mouth to West Fork and Grays River from mouth to South Fork and West Fork from mouth to hatchery intake/footbridge – Under permanent rules, open to fishing for hatchery chinook and hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June (June 4th this year).

The entire South Fork Toutle River and the Green River from the mouth to the 2800 Road Bridge  – Will open to fishing for hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June as outlined in the 2011/2012 Sportfishing Rules Pamphlet. Beginning June 4th, bait may be used.  All tributaries to the South Fork Toutle and Green rivers will remain closed to all fishing.

Cowlitz River – Anglers are catching a mixture of adult and jack spring Chinook, primarily in the upper river.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 533 spring chinook adults, 349 jacks, 21 winter-run steelhead, and 78 summer-run steelhead during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 46 spring chinook adults, 217 jacks, and six winter-run steelhead into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood and 62 spring chinook adults and 98 jacks into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 9,620 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 23. Water visibility is eight feet.

Kalama River – Salmon catches are light.  Just 11 adult spring chinook (including 3 unmarked fish) had returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery through May 20.  The escapement goal is 400 fish for hatchery brood stock.

Lewis River – Light effort and catch.  Just 85 adults had returned to the Merwin Dam trap through May 20 though hatchery personnel have only had sporadic access to the trap due to high river flows.    The hatchery escapement goal is 1,300 fish.

East Fork Lewis River from the mouth to 400 feet below Horseshoe Falls (except closures around various falls) and the Washougal River from the mouth to Salmon Falls Bridge – Under permanent rules these areas will be open to fishing with bait for hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June (June 4th this year).

Washougal River – Boat anglers are catching some hatchery summer run steelhead.  Slow from the bank.  River is backed up from the high Columbia flows all the way to the Sandy Swimming Hole.

Wind River – Boat anglers at the mouth and bank anglers in the gorge are catching spring chinook, a mixture of adults and jacks.  Bank anglers at the mouth were reported catching some fish.  A few 4 adult daily limits were reported.

Through May 22, a total of 68 spring chinook had returned to Carson National Fish Hatchery.  Escapement reports are available at http://www.fws.gov/gorgefish/returns.html.  The hatchery escapement goal is 1,500 fish.

Drano Lake – Boat anglers are catching some adult and jack spring chinook.  The bank angling area is inundated due to high water levels.  Anglers should note the Wednesday closures have been extended through all of June.

White Salmon River – No report on angling success.  The bank angling area is inundated due to high water levels.

Klickitat River – River was blown out earlier last week but some adult and jack spring chinook were caught later in the week.

Under permanent rules, the Klickitat River from the Fisher Hill Bridge downstream will open 7 days per week beginning June 1. The salmon daily limit will be 6 fish of which no more than 2 may be adults. Two hatchery steelhead may also be retained. Release wild chinook.

The section from 400 feet upstream from # 5 fishway upstream to boundary markers below the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery will open to fishing for hatchery chinook jacks and hatchery steelhead beginning June 1 under permanent rules. Again, release wild chinook.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – We sampled 1,348 salmonid anglers (including 166 boats) with 78 adult and 244 jack spring chinook and 21 steelhead.  59 (76%) of the adult and 192 (79%) of the jacks were kept as were 17 (81%) of the steelhead.

We sampled 41 (69%) of the adult and 124 (65%) of the jacks and 7 (41%) of the steelhead kept.    32 (78%) of the adults and 123 (99%) of the jacks sampled were upriver origin based on Visual Stock Identification (VSI).

On the Saturday May 21 effort flight count, there were 141 salmonid boats and 656 bank anglers observed.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – No sturgeon creel data from the estuary is currently available.  We’re picking up the port samplers’ data today.

Sturgeon retention was allowed from the mouth upstream to the sturgeon spawning sanctuary boundary Navigation Marker 82 line) on Saturday.  There were 61 private boats and a few charters plus a dozen bank anglers counted during the Saturday effort flight count.  Bank anglers at Kalama were catching some legals.

The Dalles Pool – Boat and bank anglers are catching some legals.

WALLEYE, BASS, AND OTHER WARM WATER GAME FISH

Silver Lake near Castle Rock –  From Stace Kelsey Inland Fish Program Region 5 WDFW:  The bite is on; however, the crappie are very small and what I saw was not of legal 9” min. size to keep.

HECK WITH THE CRAPPIE, TRY FOR THE BASS AT SILVER LAKE. FISHING FROM HIS BOAT WASN'T PAYING OFF, SO CHRIS SPENCER AND SON JAMISON HIT THE COWLITZ COUNTY LAKE'S NORTH END FROM SHORE LAST WEEKEND, CATCHING AND RELEASING AROUND 10 POUNDS WORTH OF LARGEMOUTH. (CHRIS SPENCER)

The Dalles Pool – Boat and bank anglers are catching some walleye and bass.

SHAD

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – 55 bank anglers and no boats were counted during the Saturday effort flight count.  Boat anglers in the gorge caught a couple fish earlier in the week.   Counts at Bonneville Dam counts are reaching a few hundred fish a day.

TROUT

Mineral Lake – Between May 16-18, planted with 7,296 catchable size rainbows.  No report on angling success.

Kress Lake near Kalama – Planted with 3,027 catchable size rainbows and 4 surplus hatchery adult winter run steelhead May 13.  No report on angling success.

Merwin Reservoir – From Stace Kelsey: Slowing down and taking a bit longer to get limits.

Plants of catchable size rainbows scheduled for SW WA streams that open June 4 (note: see http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/plants/weekly/ for actual plants) –

  • Skate Creek – 7,500 (June-Aug.)
  • Tilton River – 8,000 (June-Sept.)
  • Canyon Creek (Clark Co.) – 5,000
  • Bird Creek (Klickitat Co.) -1,500
  • Bowman Creek (Klickitat Co.) – 1,000
  • Outlet Creek (Klickitat Co.) – 1,000
  • Spring Creek (Klickitat Co.) – 3,000
  • Little White Salmon River (Skamania Co.) – 3,000

Plants of catchable size rainbows and other trout scheduled for SW WA lakes (again see http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/plants/weekly/ for actual plants):

  • Scanewa (Cowlitz Falls Reservoir) – 20,000 (June-Aug.) Opens June 1 for hatchery trout and hatchery salmon.
  • Mayfield – 30,000 (April-Sept.)
  • Council – 4,000
  • Goose (5,000 browns and 6,000 cutthroats in Spring and 4,000 cutthroats in Fall)
  • Takhlakh – 4,000
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