Forget the Cowlitz: 3,000 Trout Stocked in Fort Borst Park Pond
By The Chronicle
The rivers are running high and muddy, making fishing in Southwest Washington difficult.
Perhaps the best bet is to take a youngster to Fort Borst Park Pond, as it was stocked earlier this month with 3,000 catchable trout. Only those under age 15 are allowed on the pond. With covered picnic and play areas, and temperatures forecast into the low-50s this week, it just might be time to turn your back on the big rivers and hit the Centralia lake. Try the good-old standby of PowerBait and a worm and fish it on the bottom.
Riffe Lake is still slow going, although Tracey Borsom of Fish Country, Inc. in Ethel reports some catching silvers on both sides of the Mossyrock Dam. Mayfield Lake is producing stringers of trout. Try near the hatchery.
As far as the Cowlitz River, we hear even the most wizened guides have taken the day off due to the high water. The Lewis and Kalama rivers are also slow.
“We did hear that some of the bank anglers near Blue Creek were getting a few here and there,” Borsom said, adding “Hopefully, this nice weather coming this week will clear the water up a bit.”
If you still want to land a steelhead, not all is lost. According to Charles McElroy, a sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center, the lower Chehalis River is “fishing real well,” with plunkers finding success from Rochester all the way to the harbor. One surprising note is some anglers this past week caught silvers — and they were bright. That’s unusual for this time of the year.
The Skookumchuck River, despite being muddy brown, is kicking out steelhead just below the fish ladder. McElroy said the steelhead are plenty stacked up at the pool, but be forewarned that it is your typical “combat fishing” atmosphere. If you go, bring plenty of patience.
McElroy also suggests a trip to the rivers on the Olympic Peninsula is worth the gas. But it’s just not great river fishing for the most part.
“Other than the Chehalis and its tributaries, it’s gonna be a pretty slow week,” McElroy said.
So, go get your youngsters and take them to Fort Borst Park Pond one of these days. We’re going to have to wait until at least mid-February before the big run of late winter steelhead gets cranked up on the Cowlitz.
Tacoma Power Fish Report:
Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 678 coho adults, four jacks and 58 winter-run steelhead during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
Tacoma Power employees released 222 coho adults and eight winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa behind Cowlitz Falls Dam; 152 coho adults, two jacks and two winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek; and 49 coho adults, one jack and nine winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Columbia River Report:
Notice of Columbia River Compact Hearing: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have scheduled a Compact Hearing for 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City to discuss commercial and recreational seasons for spring chinook and sturgeon.
Sturgeon angling is excellent for boat and bank anglers in the Bonneville Pool. Sturgeon anglers in The Dalles and John Day Pools are also catching some fish. Anglers should be mindful of large woody debris after the recent flooding when anchored for sturgeon.
Weekly checking showed no catch for nine bank anglers.
Weekly checking showed no catch for two boats (four anglers).
Portland to Longview Bank:
Portland to Longview Boats: Weekend checking showed one legal white sturgeon kept, plus 36 sublegal sturgeon released for 33 boats (85 anglers).
Weekly checking showed 13 legal white sturgeon kept, plus two legal and 36 sublegal sturgeon released for 87 bank anglers; and 63 legal white sturgeon kept, plus six legal and 196 sublegal sturgeon released for 45 boats (138 anglers).
The Dalles Pool:
Weekly checking showed two oversize and seven sublegal sturgeon released for 11 bank anglers; and three legal white sturgeon kept, plus two oversize and nine sublegal sturgeon released for four boats (12 anglers).
John Day Pool:
Weekly checking showed nine legal white sturgeon kept, plus 13 sublegal sturgeon released for 98 bank anglers; and 11 legal white sturgeon kept, plus 29 sublegal sturgeon released for 48 boats (105 anglers).
Steelhead angling was fair and effort was light in the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day pools. Some winter steelhead should be available from beaches on the lower Columbia for anglers willing to brave the elements.