Cowlitz River Fish Run Still Producing

By The Chronicle

Fishing is still strong on the Cowlitz River in Lewis County.

“We’re still getting some Chinook up toward Barrier Dam,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Joe Hymer. “We’re still getting quite a few coho back to the hatchery. With the sports catch, get ‘em while you can.”

Hymer said some fish are being caught in the lower parts of the river, but the muddy waters are making for slow going. Hymer said about half of the coho run has come through, and this recent rain should get more “fish on the move.”

A check on anglers from Monday through Sunday last week had 154 bank fishermen on the Cowlitz catching and keeping 4 adult Chinook, 37 adult coho and 1 coho jack; with 27 adult Chinook and 4 adult coho released. A check of 37 boat anglers had them keeping 11 adult coho and 1 steelhead; while releasing 2 adult Chinook, 1 adult coho, 6 coho jacks and 1 steelhead.

“Getting them to bite is really challenging,” said Tracey Borsom of Fish Country Inc. in Ethel. “We’ve got guys using the Cowlitz cocktail — sand shrimp and eggs (small gob) together — and doing fairly well up in the pool at Barrier Dam. We also have the corky guys picking up quite a few too.”

The hard rains over the weekend might put a pop into the fishing.

“We are hoping the bite comes on a little stronger,” she said. “We are still getting a few kings, but they are pretty dark and nasty now. We are also still seeing a few nice steelhead being caught all the way down river.”

She also reports plenty of cutthroat and jacks are being caught.

Elsewhere, the Tilton River continues to offer a lot of fish, and a lot of fishermen! One such nimrod said while the fish were hanging out, they were not biting and it was more practice casting than anything else.

A creel check on the Tilton River had 10 bank anglers with 1 coho, while releasing 2 adult Chinook.

Although a bit out of our area, the Grays River has also had a decent run of coho in the past few days, causing WDFW to consider increasing the fishing area beyond its current boundaries from the Highway 4 Bridge downstream.

Scanewa Lake was successful before the heavy rainfall. We heard about one fisherman getting his limit of trout using a red/brass Super Duper.

Rainbows top out at just over a foot long. A check by WDFW had only 2 bank anglers with no catch. Two fishermen in boats on Scanewa caught and released a total of 1 adult Chinook.

Mayfield Lake still kicks out a nice string of trout by bank anglers using worms and powerbait, and those trolling with the sure-fire wedding rings. Riffe Lake remains quiet.

The Tacoma Power Report

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 7,729 coho adults, 734 jacks, 1,945 fall Chinook adults, 208 jacks, 33 summer-run steelhead, three chum salmon and 50 sea-run cutthroat trout during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Tacoma Power employees released 872 coho adults, 182 jacks, 875 fall Chinook adults and 104 jacks into Lake Scanewa; they released 1,172 coho adults, 96 jacks, 158 fall Chinook adults and 18 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood; they released 464 fall Chinook adults, 58 jacks, 82 coho adults and 39 jacks into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek; and released 583 coho adults, 107 jacks, twelve fall Chinook adults, two jacks and two cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

The chum salmon were recycled downstream to the Barrier Dam boat launch during the week.
River flows at Mayfield Dam were about 6,690 cubic feet per second on Monday, and will likely rise starting today through the week.

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