Fishing Report: Columbia Has Officially Turned On; Cowlitz Is Hit and Miss

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
The kids lining the banks for the derby at Lake Scanewa saw a lot of fish caught Saturday morning, several of them over 5 pounds each. Those fish — 750 of them from one-half pound to 10 pounds — were released into the waters of Lake Scanewa Saturday afternoon.

Shelby Thompson, 8, Chehalis, was the top winner of the day with her 6 pound, 10 ounce rainbow trout, caught on PowerBait tipped with a worm, dangling under a bobber.

Rivers and Streams
“The Columbia has really turned on,” said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at the Sunbird Shopping Center.

McElroy told of a sporting goods representative who was visiting the store last week receiving text messages and pictures from friends sitting on the Columbia River, hauling in sockeye salmon left and right.

“The summer kings and steelhead are showing in good numbers too,” said McElroy. “Anchor in about 8 to 10 feet of water below the Sandy Islands.”

The fishing on the Cowlitz River is still going fairly good, according to Tracy Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel.

“We had reports of decent springers caught up here at Barrier Dam this weekend,” Borsom said. “Mostly big gobs of eggs with sand shrimp tail is working for the bank anglers. The boaters are doing well for summer run steelhead from Blue Creek on down to Toledo. We had good reports from bank anglers and boaters alike with nice catches. Corky and yarn, sand shrimp or divers with coon shrimp seem to be working for the die hards.”

You have to put your time in, Borsom said, to catch a fish.

“It’s not a fish for every angler,” Borsom said, “that’s for sure.”

Lakes and Ponds
Offut Lake is the place to be, according to McElroy.

“I’ve heard of some nice fish being caught out there,” McElroy said, “McIntosh is slowing down, however; the weeds are starting to take over.”

“Mayfield Lake is starting to pick up now,” said Borsom. “We had reports over the weekend of nice trout caught by the Mayfield Dam and bridge and also where the Tilton dumps in.”

The boaters are running wedding rings tipped with night crawler. Bank anglers are using PowerBait and worms.

Riffe is still low at 37 or 38 feet below full capacity, McElroy said, “it hasn’t really turned on yet.”

Borsom said Riffe Lake is still pretty slow, “except for the bass fishermen who seem to be doing the best at this low water level.”

All three boat ramps are now open Tacoma Power continues to raise the water level.

Swofford Pond is doing OK — bass fishing seems to be the ticket, said Borsom.

They’re still waiting for Mineral Lake to heat up, McElroy said, and wondering if the majority of alpine lake trails will be cleared from snow at all this season.

All the kokanee lakes are still tossing out limits within a few hours.

“And they’re some really nice kokanee, too,” said McElroy.

On the Beach
“Fishing off the (Westport) jetty has been real good,” said McElroy. “The surf perch are still biting well all down the coast.”

Halibut fishing will reopen June 16 for one day only in marine areas 3 and 4 — LaPush and Neah Bay.

Anglers are encouraged to check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website or hotline for information regarding re-openings: or call (360) 902-2500.