Fishing Report: Steelhead Running at Barrier Dam

Blue Creek: Several Nice Steelhead Reported Caught on Cowlitz River

By The Chronicle

Fishing on the Cowlitz River, now that the cold temps have left us, is offering some of the best opportunities of the year with winter steelhead starting to show in decent numbers.

“We are hearing of several nice catches lately, most coming from the Blue Creek area,” said Tracey Borsom of Fish Country, Inc. in Ethel. ”The boaters are pulling divers with eggs or coon striped shrimp and doing quite well. The bank anglers are using jig and bobber, some tip it with a sand shrimp tail.”

This winter steelhead fishery is just underway, and should improve in the coming weeks, Borsom said. Silvers are still running up to Barrier Dam as well.

“We are still seeing a good run of late silvers, some chrome bright ones, but a lot seem to be wild right now,” Borsom said. “The bank anglers are using glow beads with sand shrimp under a bobber and picking up some nice fish though. Lots of people using lots of different baits, but all seem to be getting fish.”

Despite all the recent rain and snow, the river visibility is still workable at about seven feet.

Mayfield reports still show trout being caught with the usual power eggs and worms from the shore, and trolling wedding rings for those with boats. As in past weeks, it doesn’t seem too many are even trying Riffe Lake, although a few fishermen were said to be trying their luck for bass, with no report coming in. Last week we did get a report of a fisherman on Riffe one early morning hooking up into about a half dozen trout at about 10-feet deep, landing up to a 17-incher. Swofford Pond is likewise not seeing much action.

For the pro fisherman, you might want to try the Dec. 1 through Feb. 28 winter steelhead derby hosted by Fish Country, Inc. on U.S. Highway 12. Cost is $5, but you must sign up before you fish!

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Report:

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 1,857 coho adults, 116 jacks, seven fall Chinook adults, one jack, 171 winter-run steelhead, six summer-run steelhead, and 17 sea-run cutthroat trout during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

They also released 423 coho adults, 63 jacks, and three winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa and 47 coho adults, five jacks, three cutthroat trout, and one winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

Kalama River — Bank anglers are catching some bright winter run steelhead and releasing dark coho.

Lewis River — Anglers are catching some bright winter run steelhead. Most of the coho are dark and were released.

Sturgeon — Lower Columbia from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam: effort and catches are light. WDFW sampled 13 bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam with no catch. One of the seven boat anglers sampled at Port of Camas/Washougal had kept a legal.