Winter Steelheading SW Washington
Capt. Jerry Brown
December 7, 2008
Cowlitz River - Freshwater Fishing Report
As Thanksgiving drew near, winter steelhead continued to move into tributaries to the lower Columbia, setting the stage for the unofficial start of the season. Meanwhile, anglers are still catching legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam, although strong winds have made boat fishing in the gorge an on-again, off-again proposition.
Although the lower Cowlitz River has been running muddy, early birds were catching some bright hatchery steelhead and sea-run cutthroat below the trout hatchery. They also picked up a few hatchery coho , although that run is fading fast, said Joe Hymer, a WDFW fish biologist.
"The Cowlitz seems to be getting the most attention right now, but fishing for hatchery steelhead should start picking up soon in a number of tributaries to the lower Columbia," Hymer said. Good bets include the Kalama, Lewis, Washougal, Elochoman and Grays rivers, along with Salmon Creek in Clark County, he said.
Blue and Mill creeks, both tributaries to the Cowlitz, are scheduled to open for hatchery steelhead Dec. 1. Blue Creek also opens for hatchery sea-run cutthroat that day. Nov. 30 is the last day of the extended night closure/non buoyant lure restriction on the Cowlitz from Mill Creek upstream to the barrier dam.
Cowlitz River Fishing Forecast:
During the third week of November, 186 winter steelhead found their way to the salmon hatchery on the Cowlitz River. During that week, Tacoma Power employees transported 1,122 coho adults, 106 jacks and two winter-run steelhead to Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam on the upper Cowlitz River. They also hauled 374 coho adults 47 jacks, 30 fall chinook adults and 18 cutthroat to the Tilton River at Gust Backstom Park in Morton plus more than 500 coho to the upper Cowlitz at Skate Creek and to the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek.
Like last year, WDFW plans to start planting surplus early run steelhead in Swofford Pond and Kress Lake in the weeks ahead,
More Fishing Reports: