Fishing Report: Get Ready, the Springers Are Coming

Still Too Early: Blue Creek Is the Best Bet This Weekend
By The Chronicle
With Valentine’s Day in our rear-view mirror (and you surely took care of your better half), it’s time to seriously start salivating about the run of springers up the Cowlitz River.
The springers are considered one of the tastiest salmon around, perhaps as good as a sockeye due to their high oil content. Charles McElroy, a sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center in Chehalis, said they also put on quite a fight. And they’ll be coming here in spades, but not for a few more weeks and likely not reaching peak runs until almost mid-March.
And with the fishing nets at the mouth of the Chehalis, the Wynoochie, Chehalis and Skookumchuck are all lacking the fish, and the ones that do get through tend to be fairly small. McElroy said for the fisherman attempting to take his game to a higher level, try those streams now, despite the lack of fish. Move through the holes quickly, and try to dig one out. Putting your time in on the Chehalis now will help you learn where those honey holes are for when the nets go away.
“Learn the river and where the fish are going to lay,” McElroy said. “Work the river real hard and real fast.”
A few fish are being caught on the Kalama and Lewis rivers.
But not all is lost. For the first time in many weeks, it’s time to head back to the Cowlitz River. Just below Blue Creek, fishermen are starting to reel in a few. McElroy said an angler on Sunday using a bobber and jig, with a prawn on the tip, caught two in about an hour fishing just 10 feet off the shore.
“The Cowlitz is a good bet this week and should just get better the next weeks,” McElroy said. “We’re kind of in the doldrums. The Cowlitz is the bright spot for the coming week.”
Tracey Borsom of Fish Country, Inc. in Ethel agrees that the bite is slowly coming on for the Cowlitz.
“We are starting to hear of more and more catches lately,” she said. “Mostly, coming from the Blue Creek area.”
She said the guides are starting to land a few, as well as the bank anglers. As opposed to fishing just below the Skookumchuck Dam (see feature story Life 1), you can find plenty of elbow room. That will change in the coming weeks as we near March and the run starts in earnest.
Mayfield Lake is still a decent destination for trout using power eggs and worms off the bottom. Borsom said she has heard reports that Riffe Lake is heating up, with silvers biting on worms and cocktail shrimp. McElroy suggests going after silvers on Riffe Lake on either side of the dam.
Other areas of interest, McElroy said, are Swofford Pond which can throw out a largemouth bass or two this time of year, and also a nice trout and a bunch of bluegill. Perhaps try Swofford, then head over to where it leaks into Riffe Lake for cutthroat and silvers. Smallmouth bass will also be congregating by the stumps.