Bring Them Home: Salmon, Trout, Shad, Perch, Bass, Bluegill, Sturgeon, Channel Cats, Crab and Shrimp All Waiting for You
By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
Summer fishing is heating up as the temperatures rise. Find a clear or at least dry day and head for any one of a number of rivers, streams or lakes and you’re sure to come home with something in your creel.
Stacie Kelsey, an official with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Inland Fisheries, said a spot check this week at Kress Lake in Cowlitz County showed eight anglers with two yellow perch and two rainbows (one 16.5 inches) kept, three bluegill and one bass released.
Rivers and Streams
“The Columbia is fishing really well,” said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at the Sunbird Shopping Center.
The summer chinook, also known as the June hawgs by those that like to chase after them, are really coming in, he said.
The shad are finally hitting hard.
“I talked to one guy that said they damn near filled the boat with ’em on Saturday,” McElroy said.
The steelhead are still hit and miss.
“You gotta be there when they’re coming through,” he said.
The sockeye fishing is up and sturgeon hasn’t been too bad, though the water is still a little high.
The fishing on the Cowlitz River is still doing pretty good, according to Tracy Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel.
“We are still seeing plenty of springers being caught up at Barrier Dam,” she said, adding you have to put in the time to find them.
Successful anglers are mostly using big gobs of eggs.
“We are also seeing plenty of summer run steelhead being caught at Blue Creek on down to I-5,” Borsom said. “The boaters are running divers with bait (coon shrimp or eggs) and doing quite well. The bank anglers are having a tougher time, but they are picking a few up here and there. We are seeing a variety of baits from jig and bobber, corky and yarn, sand shrimp, steelie spoons — seems everyone is trying something different. It’s a good time to give it a try.”
Lakes and Ponds
Offut Lake is still very good, according to McElroy.
Becky Pogue at the Offut Lake Resort had a rainy but successful Father’s Day tournament this weekend.
“Lots of fish came up,” Pogue said.
They’re trolling light pop gear and spinners or using a bit of anise or garlic oil over PowerBait on the docks.
Summit Lake in Olympia is coming on. American Lake is still good for kokanee.
“Alder Lake is OK,” McElroy said, “but the kokanee are pretty small.”
Riffe Lake came up a little this week, which is making foot access from the east end a little more challenging, but a few were heard to be pulling in some nice smallies.
“Mayfield is not real bad,” said McElroy. “They aren’t getting limits, but they’re finding some fish.”
Carlisle Lake in Onalaska is pretty decent and Swofford Pond outside Mossyrock has been OK, he said.
“The channel cats should be getting hot pretty soon.”
Mineral Lake is still slow.
Some nice bass have been hauled out of Plummer and Hayes lakes in Centralia. Hayes Lake is already very weedy, as is MacIntosh Lake in Thurston County.
Rufus Woods Lake in Douglas County east of the mountains is the place to be if you’re looking for large trout.
“Bill Herzog, also known as ‘The General,’ was over there and he caught one at 20 pounds and another at 15 pounds. The trout fishing is still halfway decent, probably due to the cold water from the spring run-offs,” McElroy said.
On the Beach
On June 26 Illwaco, La Push and Neah Bay open up for chinook and hatchery-marked coho. June 26 is also Statewide Fish Release Awareness Day.
Wednesday, June 22, the Hood Canal opens up for one more day of spot shrimp. Check the WDFW shellfish rules changes hotline for more information at (866) 880-5431.
Crabbing will open up on July 1.
“It’s a good time to grab the kids and spend the day crabbing and surf fishing,” McElroy said. “Go to Tokeland or Westport and you can crab off the docks.
You don’t need the pots if you are working off the docks, just rings. It’s less complicated and the crabbing can be very good.”
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at email@example.com.