• Cowlitz this time of year?

  • A place for readers to talk about river fishing in Washington.
A place for readers to talk about river fishing in Washington.
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 #234065  by Scheindogg
 Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:47 am
I'm thinking of going down to the cowlitz next week but what's going on down there this time of year?
I saw a YouTube of a dude who caught a springer already. A SPRINGER. Albeit from a boat and I will be bank fishing.
But that Tacoma power website says they only got 5 steelhead and like 50 coho at dam last week.
I know most springers are much later on but clearly there's a slight possibility of that. But as for the steelhead where are they? I though this was the perfect time for the late run steelhead? Is it just because they're down by the blue creek hatchery not at the dam?
Any info would help, thanks.
 #234068  by riverhunter
 Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:08 am
Ever since they stop releasing early winter steelhead the steelhead now tend to show up towards the middle of march and keep trickling in until about early may which by then the springers will begin to show up in numbers. As of now you have a chance at fish but if its a drive I wouldn't waste my time down there until at least the middle of march and better yet April.
 #234088  by Scheindogg
 Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:57 pm
So if I go next Thursday (was planning on it) should I go by blue creek hatchery as opposed to barrier dam?

Is there a different river ~2 hrs or less from Bellevue you recommend for salmon or steelhead this time of year?
 #234097  by riverhunter
 Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:59 am
I would stick with blue creek if fishing for steelhead on the cowlitz. Hike in and cross blue creek to get into some good steelhead holding water. Another river that is fishable right now would be the skookumchuck but haven't heard any great reports out of it yet or they are just not reporting. My go to technique on any river is float fishing an 1/8th oz jig with an 18-24 inch leader dropper to a pegged bead. Always check regs as in some rivers and sometimes depending on time of year the anti-snagging rule is in effect and that rig wouldn't be allowed.
 #234262  by Bodofish
 Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:10 pm
And here come the smelt. Steel and Kings are not far behind. Well, if the State has the timing right.

WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
http://wdfw.wa.gov/
February 21, 2017
Contact: WDFW Region 5 Office, (360) 696-6211
One-day smelt fishery set to open on Cowlitz River
VANCOUVER, Wash. – State fishery managers approved a limited sport fishery for smelt on the Cowlitz River for Saturday, Feb. 25.
Under this year's rules, a portion of the Cowlitz River will be open to recreational dip netting along the shore from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. for one day only.
The area open to sport dipping stretches from the Highway 432 Bridge upstream to the Al Helenberg Memorial Boat Ramp, located approximately 1,300 feet upstream from the Highway 411/A Street Bridge in Castle Rock.
Each dip-netter may retain 10 pounds of smelt per day, with no more than one day's limit in possession. Ten pounds is about a quarter of a five-gallon bucket. No fishing license is required to dip for smelt in Washington state.
This marks the fourth year that the state has allowed smelt fishing since 2010, when the species – also known as eulachon – was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) along the Pacific Coast.
NOAA Fisheries, which oversees ESA-listed stocks, supports limited fisheries that contribute to research, said Cindy Le Fleur, regional fish program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"We're expecting a modest return of about 3 million pounds of smelt to the Columbia River this year," Le Fleur said. "That compares to an estimated 16.6 million pounds in 2014, when the run reached its recent peak."
The sport fishery was also limited to one day in 2016, when the run was estimated at 5.1 million pounds. Le Fleur said these fisheries have a limited impact on the overall smelt return, while providing biological data on the species' abundance.
Le Fleur said WDFW announced the decision to open this year's sport fishery after tracking catch rates in the ongoing commercial test fishery in the mainstem Columbia River. Managers were looking for weekly average landings to reach at least 150 pounds per fisher to feel confident that the run was likely as large as anticipated pre-season she said, noting that last week's landings averaged 281 pounds per fisher.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reason ... quest.html.
 #234268  by Scheindogg
 Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:01 pm
Thanks for the tips riverhuntern!
And cool 😎 bodofish. The steelhead second run is on its way as well now as you said- last week the hatchery had 25 winter steel return as opposed to just 5 the week before and zero the week before that!
Still small numbers but they're close!

Hoping to head down there for steelheading on Thursday will be sure to report if I make it out!!
 #234315  by Bodofish
 Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:01 pm
Scheindogg wrote:Got skunked. See report for details 😋

Sorry about that, it's a long drive. Couple weeks and I may be making a run. Next week is the EW lowland opener on Wed., I'll be heading over for the day if the weather is ok. I've missed it once in over 20 years. My fishing partner whom I always did the opener with died last March, I'll be talking to him while I'm casting.
 #235825  by Scheindogg
 Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:13 pm
Anyone been down lately??
Headed down Thursday for the first time since February and I haven't heard much. I noticed the dam got 300 steel and 300 springers last week so the numbers are getting better.

Anyone have recommendations for high water tackle?

The guys I go with are adamant about drift fishing.. what should we be drifting of 10,000cfs?
They normally just use beads but with it so high should we do sand shrimp? Eggs?

Any info would be greatly appreciated as always =D>
 #235826  by cxlumpy
 Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:19 pm
Scheindogg wrote:Anyone been down lately??
Headed down Thursday for the first time since February and I haven't heard much. I noticed the dam got 300 steel and 300 springers last week so the numbers are getting better.

Anyone have recommendations for high water tackle?

The guys I go with are adamant about drift fishing.. what should we be drifting of 10,000cfs?
They normally just use beads but with it so high should we do sand shrimp? Eggs?

Any info would be greatly appreciated as always =D>



fished last thursday and got 2 out of the 8 that i hooked. i was running 8lb leader and kept breaking off, didnt see any action during the day but once the sun started to go down it was game on. i ended my fishing day when i got spooled Im sure it was a springer but only saw this fish jump once.