A Catch: River Fishing for Salmon Is Hot
By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
Effective immediately, the salmon fishery off Westport will once again be restricted to five days a week — Sundays through Thursdays.
Anglers have been allowed to fish daily off Westport (Marine Area 2) since early August, but a significant increase in the recreational catch prompted a return to the Sunday-through-Thursday schedule, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“Since opening ocean waters off Westport to daily fishing, the number of anglers has dramatically increased and we saw record numbers of chinook caught,” Pattillo said. “Making this change now is necessary to keep the chinook fishery off Westport open.”
Anglers can still fish for salmon daily off Ilwaco, La Push, and Neah Bay.
Last week, fisheries managers also made the decision to limit anglers fishing off Westport and Ilwaco to one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit.
Pattillo reminds anglers fishing in ocean waters off La Push and Neah Bay that they can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Anglers fishing marine areas 3 and 4 are also allowed one additional pink salmon each day.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season, and announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov.
Rivers and Streams
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 117 spring chinook adults, 86 jacks, 29 mini-jacks, 13 fall chinook adults, 631 summer-run steelhead, one pink salmon and four sea-run cutthroat trout during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 87 spring chinook adults, 51 jacks, one mini-jack and nine fall chinook adults into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and they released 16 spring chinook adults, six jacks and two fall chinook adults at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.
They also released three sea-run cutthroat trout and two fall chinook into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and one sea-run cutthroat, two summer-run steelhead and one pink salmon into the Cowlitz River at the Barrier Dam boat launch.
The Cowlitz River is still going pretty good, according to Marshall Borsom at Fish Country in Ethel.
“We are still seeing good numbers of steelhead being caught,” Borsom said, “Mostly from Blue Creek on down river. Boaters are pulling divers with coon shrimp (red, pink and orange). The bank anglers are using any variety of baits.”
Borsom said a new product — Mark’s Yarn Balls — with a bit of scent added has been working well.
Other bank anglers are using corky and yarn, jig and bobber, and sand shrimp or eggs too.
“We have heard of a few nice fall run salmon caught at Barrier Dam this week also. They are just starting to show up now,” Borsom said. “Try free drifting big gobs of eggs for the kings.”
The Cowlitz River is staying steady at about 4,700 cfs, visibility at about 10 to 12 feet.
“The cutthroat are starting to show,” said Karen Glaser of Barrier Creek Campground. “We’ve seen a few here and there in the lower river.”
“The Puyallup River is fishing really well for pinks,” said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at the Sunbird Shopping Center, “and there’s a fair amount of kings being caught too.”
Many are reporting sea lice on the pinks. The river is packed with anglers. Take your waders and a cooler. A pink corkie and yarn seem to do the trick just fine for both kings and pinks.
Lakes and Ponds
Mayfield Lake is starting to pick up a bit, according to Borsom.
“We’ve heard of more people catching trout using pop gear with wedding rings tipped with cocktail shrimp and worms. We’ve heard the trout are being caught near the Tilton and Winston Creek at about 20-30 feet,” he said.
Riffe Lake is still producing silvers at both ends of the lake — same ole stuff, cocktail shrimp and worms or some spinners too. They are running anywhere from 30-60 feet deep.
“Swofford Pond is doing OK for the bass fishermen and we’ve heard of a few catfish caught too,” said Borsom.
On the Beach and Ocean
“The ocean has just been on fire, everywhere you go,” said McElroy. “A lot of silvers are being caught.”
McElroy said he had a friend take his 7-year-old son, grandfathers and a Tennessee native out on the water outside Westport and within minutes the young boy had hooked into his first king salmon — a 40-pounder.
“They limited the boat out with three kings and a lot of really good sized silvers,” said McElroy.
Willapa Bay was just fantastic on Saturday, according to McElroy.
Crabbing is still doing good in the Puget Sound.
Sea bass are being caught off the south jetty at Westport.
“They’re using a big bobber and an anchovy,” said McElroy. “They toss out their line and the next thing you know it’s bobber down.”
- Westport salmon fishery will revert to a five-day-week season, and is closed this Friday and Saturday (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Big kings were pulled in off Westport this past weekend (seattletimes.nwsource.com)