SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report

Parse through Joe Hymer’s weekly fishing report For the Columbia River and Southwest Washington waters and eventually you’ll come to a bit about bass and walleye.

This week’s rundown for the big river below Bonneville from the fisheries biologist reads: “A few more boat anglers from Camas/Washougal to Kalama with some fish being caught.”

I happen to have a friend who has been prefishing, bank fishing and boat fishing the lower river and Willamette for bass this spring and late spring. Fishing’s been tough, he reports, and that may be reflected in results from last weekend’s Lower Columbia Mt. St. Helens Bass Masters Club Challenge. The third place team hauled in five smallies that went a total of 5.06 pounds, second place brought in five bronzebacks that tallied a tenth of a pound more and first place came back with a toad largemouth of 5 pounds plus another 2-pounder.

Here’s the rest of the report from Hymer, including interesting news on the summer steelhead front:


Cowlitz River – No report on angling success.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 47 spring chinook adults, 23 jacks, 65 mini-jacks, 610 summer-run steelhead and one sea-run cutthroat trout during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released one spring chinook adult, 22 jacks and one sea-run cutthroat trout into the upper Cowlitz River at the Lake Scanewa Day Use Park and 62 spring chinook mini-jacks into Riffe Lake at Mossyrock Park.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,660 cubic feet per second on Monday morning, July 25. Water visibility is 13 feet.

Grays (including West Fork) and Elochoman rivers – Beginning August 1, night closure, anti-snagging rule, and stationary gear restrictions will be in effect.

Green, Kalama, Lewis (including North Fork), Toutle (including North Fork), and Washougal rivers – Open to fishing for salmon beginning August 1.  Hatchery fall chinook and hatchery coho may be retained.

Cispus, upper Cowlitz, Deep, and Klickitat rivers plus Lake Scanewa – Effective August 1, any chinook may be retained.  On the lower Klickitat, anti-snagging rule will be in effect August 1.

Lower Wind  – Opens to fishing for salmon August 1.  Anti-snagging rule will be in effect.

Drano Lake – Reverts back to a 2 adult salmon daily limit beginning August 1.  Hatchery chinook and hatchery coho may be retained.  Anti-snagging rule will be in effect.

Buoy 10 – Will be open for chinook and hatchery coho Aug. 1-28. Anglers will have a two-salmonid daily limit, only one of which may be a chinook. From Aug. 29 through Dec. 31, anglers will have a daily limit of two hatchery coho or hatchery steelhead or one of each, but must release chinook.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled nearly 2,000 salmonid anglers (including 152 boats) with 18 adult and 13 jack summer chinook, 640 steelhead, and no sockeye.  Most of the jacks were kept as were just over half of the steelhead.  All of the adult chinook were released as required.    Interestingly, bank anglers still reported more wild steelhead released than kept while boat anglers reported just the opposite.

It’s possible we may be seeing a record number of wild and hatchery steelhead handled for the month of July.  To date, Washington alone has sampled almost 1,600 fish.  Assuming a 10% sample rate, then 16,000 fish would have been handled with still a week to go.  45% of the fish we’ve sampled in July have been wild.  The record is 16,000 fish handled in July 2009.   Stay tuned!

The mainstem Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Bonneville Dam will be open for chinook (adipose fin clipped or not) and hatchery coho Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. Anglers will be allowed to retain one adult chinook as part of their two adult salmonid daily limit through Sept. 9. Beginning Sept. 10, chinook retention will only be allowed upstream of the Lewis River, but up to two adult chinook may be retained.  Up to 2 adult chinook may be retained downstream of the Lewis beginning October 1.

Bonneville Pool – No report on angling success.  Anti-snagging rule and night closure will be in effect for salmon and steelhead beginning August 1.

The Dalles Pool – Bank anglers are catching some summer chinook and steelhead.  Anti-snagging rule will be in effect for salmon and steelhead beginning Aug. 1.

John Day Pool – From Paul Hoffarth, WDFW District 4 Fish Biologist, Pasco:   No chinook or steelhead were harvested this past week in the John Day Pool. Effort continues to be light. There were an estimated 49 angler trips for the week.  For the fishery that began June 16, an estimated 27 adult hatchery summer chinook and 33 hatchery jacks have been harvested.

Anti-snagging rule for salmon and steelhead will be in effect beginning August 1.

Bonneville Dam to Priest Rapids Dam – Effective August 1, any chinook, adipose fin clipped or not, may be retained.


Lower Columbia from the mouth upstream to the Navigation Marker #82 line – We sampled legals kept by bank and boat anglers from Longview to Cathlamet.

Including fish released, private boat anglers at Deep River/Knappton and ports of Chinook and Ilwaco averaged a legal per every 3.7 rods while charter boat anglers averaged just over 0.7 fish per rod.   Boat anglers also released a few green sturgeon.   No legals were observed caught by bank anglers.   Overall, If an angler catches a white sturgeon in estuary there was nearly a 40% chance it would be a keeper.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals.  Sturgeon may be retained through July 29.

John Day Pool – (9 boats/18 anglers caught 11 sturgeon (Catch & Release Only).


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – A few more boat anglers from Camas/Washougal to Kalama with some fish being caught.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged nearly 3 walleye kept and over 5 bass kept/released per rod.

John Day Pool – Walleye fishing was excellent this past week.  33 boats/73 anglers caught 171 walleye.  5 boats/9 anglers caught 5 bass.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam continue to catch a few shad.  Effort is very light.

John Day Pool – The numbers of shad passing McNary Dam has dropped off dramatically but anglers are still catching a few at Plymouth Island.  13 boats/27 anglers caught 106 shad.


Goose Lake north of Carson – No report on angling success.  Planted with 6,200 browns, 6,000 cutthroats, and 500 rainbows one-half pound and larger since the end of June.



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