Fishing Report: WDFW Doubles the King Limit in Marine Areas 1-4

Mossyrock resident Matt Freeland pulled this 24-inch state record contending largemouth bass out of Swofford Pond Sunday afternoon. After a long battle to bring the fish to shore, he almost lost the bass when she became tangled in debris. Freeland dove into the water to haul the monster to the bank. A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish biologist was due to record its official weight just after press time on Monday.

Monster Bass: Mossyrock Man Reels in Large Largemouth at Swofford Pond
By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
Beginning last Sunday, Aug. 7, anglers can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit while fishing in the waters off of Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport (Marine Area 2).
Now anglers will be allowed to keep two chinook per day in all four ocean areas. Anglers fishing La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) have been allowed to keep two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit since Aug. 1.
All ocean areas are open to salmon fishing seven days a week. Wild coho must be released in all four areas. Anglers fishing marine areas 3 and 4 are also allowed one additional pink salmon each day.
Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the department initially limited fishermen coastwide to one chinook as part of a two-salmon daily, hoping to ensure the fishery would remain open for the entire season.
“But after five weeks of fishing, enough of the quota remains to allow anglers two chinook per day in the four marine areas without exceeding the recreational catch quota,” Pattillo said.
Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1.

Rivers and Streams
As of Aug. 8, Tacoma Power recovered 35 spring chinook adults, 31 jacks, 45 mini-jacks, 767 summer-run steelhead, three sea-run cutthroat and one fall chinook adult during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
Tacoma Power employees released 12 spring chinook adults and 16 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Lake Scanewa Day Use Park above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and released 13 spring chinook adults and 14 jacks into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek. They also released 72 spring chinook mini-jacks into Riffe Lake at Mossyrock Park.
Also during the week they released two sea-run cutthroat into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and one sea-run cutthroat and one summer-run steelhead into the Cowlitz River at the Barrier Dam boat launch.
River flows at Mayfield Dam have remained steady throughout the week at about 4,760 cubic feet per second. Water visibility is 13 feet. Water flows could change at any time so boaters and bank anglers should remain alert for this possibility.
The Cowlitz River is still going pretty good, according to Marshall Borsom, at Fish Country in Ethel.
“We had good reports from the boaters this week putting in at Blue Creek and pulling divers with coon shrimp or side drifting eggs for the steelhead,” Borsom said.
The bank anglers are having a tougher time, Borsom said, with the river receiving a lot of pressure and only a handful of fish caught from a few here and there.
“The bank guys are using a variety of baits — corky and yarn, sand shrimp, eggs, spoons, jig and bobber etc.,” he said. “The guys putting in lots of time and effort are picking up some.”
The summer run of steelhead is late, late, late this year, said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center, but there are some fish starting to show in the Kalama River and in the East Fork of the Lewis River.
The Barrier Dam area is still producing springers for the pool fishermen — half are bright chrome, the other half are dark.
“They are catching some all the way up to Barrier,” said Borsom, “but the pressure is not as heavy as at Blue Creek and on down.”
The pinks are coming through Puget Sound and making their way into the rivers (see today’s feature for more details).
“Illwaco picked up this week,” McElroy said. “But they’re seeing a lot of undersized kings. One guy said he had to toss back 22 of them, all under 24 inches.”
There are a lot of big kings coming out of Westport.

Lakes and Ponds
Mayfield Lake has been pretty slow for quite a while. However, Trent Richardson, at the Lake Mayfield Resort and Marina, said the trout were starting to bite again for the bank anglers near the resort. Power bait and worms was working this weekend.
Riffe Lake seems to be the place to be as the land locked silver fishing is going strong from the Mossyrock Dam all the way up to the fishing bridge.
“There are a lot of big fish being pulled out of the water near the fishing bridge on Riffe,” said McElroy.
Jacob Hadaller, of Mossyrock, pulled a 30-inch silver from Riffe Lake last week and he watched another angler pull an even larger silver out of the water near the Mossyrock Dam.
“We had a 26 incher brought in this weekend with a stringer of smaller fish too,” said Borsom. “They are telling us that the fish are running anywhere from 30-60 feet deep.”
A monster largemouth bass was taken out of Swofford Pond over the weekend. We’re waiting for the official weigh-in before we make any guesses as to its size, but it’s a dandy.

On the Beach and Ocean
Crab fishing is still hot, hot, hot in most areas of Puget Sound and on the coast.
Under new rules adopted earlier this year by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, all marine areas of Puget Sound will be open for crabbing Thursday through Monday of each week. The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 inches.