Fishing and Hunting Report: This Is the Weekend for Young Waterfowl, Pheasant Hunters

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
Youth hunts for ducks, coot and Canada geese (closed in Areas 2A and 2B — Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz and Clark counties) on Saturday and Sunday.
Youth hunts are open to hunters under 16 years of age, who must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult of least 18 years of age.
A small game license ($16.50 for youth) is required for duck and goose hunting, as is a state migratory bird permit (free for youth hunters).
The daily limit for the young hunters is seven ducks, four geese. Make sure to read up on the regs before you go.
The youth pheasant hunt also runs this weekend. Try Lincoln Creek, west of Chehalis, or the Kosmos area, near Glenoma. Daily limit is two birds of either sex.
A Western Washington pheasant license is required, a bargain at $38.50 for youth hunters.
The 65 and older pheasant hunt is open Sept. 26-30. The license for the senior citizens is the same price as it is for all adults — a whopping $82.50 — but if that’s all the hunting you plan to do, you won’t need any other licenses to gather your fair share of the birds.
With 10 weekends of bird plantings available (Oct. 1 through Dec. 11), if you only pulled in one bird a weekend then it’s a pretty good bargain. But you have to put in the time to really get your money’s worth.

Other Birds
Band-tailed pigeon closes Friday. Harvest cards are due by Sept. 30.
Mourning dove remains open through Sept. 30 and forest grouse will continue until Dec. 31.
Big Game
The early archery deer season closed on Sunday in Packwood (GMU 516), Margaret (GMU 524), Toutle (GMU 556), Willapa Hills (GMU 506) and Ryderwood (GMU 530).
The season remains open until Friday in the Lincoln (GMU 501), Mossyrock (GMU 505), Stormking (GMU 510), Winston (GMU 520), Skookumchuck (GMU 667) and South Rainier (GMU 513) areas.
Early black powder deer season will be open Saturday through Oct. 2 in many local areas. Early elk season for muzzleloader hunters opens Oct. 1.

Rivers and Streams
Chinook fishing reopened Friday, two weeks ahead of schedule, in the Buoy 10 area, which includes the lower 16 miles of the Columbia River. The daily catch limit is two adult salmon or hatchery steelhead, or one of each.
The Skokomish River (Mason County) is open for salmon from the mouth to Highway 101. Through Sept. 30, the daily limit is two salmon, minimum size of 12 inches, chum and wild chinook must be released. On Oct. 1 the daily limit increases to 6 salmon, up to four of which may be adults.
The Chehalis River opened on Friday, from the mouth to Porter Bridge on Highway 12. Daily limit 6, including up to 2 adults. Minimum size 12 inches, release chinook and chum.
“The opener on the Chehalis was really slow,” according to Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at the Sunbird Shopping Center. “I’m hoping the rains we had this week will help.”
The Puyallup River is still hot, although quite a few pinks are showing their humps.
Peninsula river reports have been good.
Fishing on the Cowlitz River is still going pretty good, according to Marshall Borsom at Fish Country in Ethel.
“We are seeing more and more fall kings being caught now,” he said. “The real big ones (25-40 and more pounds) being caught have to be released because they have an adipose fin, but the nice-sized 15-24 pounders are keepers. We’ve also heard of several jacks caught that are chrome bright.”
The Cowlitz cocktail (eggs and sand shrimp together) is working for the bank anglers fishing the pool and the island up at Barrier Dam.
The boaters back bouncing, running divers and side drifting eggs are doing quite well too.
“Some days the bite is great and some days kind of slow,” Borsom said. “Steelhead fishing is starting to wean down a bit now, but we have heard of a couple silvers caught already all the way up to Barrier Dam. We hear the lower river is pretty hot right now too (Olequa on down to the mouth). Some guys have been running spinners and doing good.”
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 1,760 fall chinook adults, 83 jacks, 349 coho adults, 12 jacks, 29 spring chinook adults, four jacks, 111 summer-run steelhead, eight sea-run cutthroat and two pink salmon during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
They released 269 fall chinook, seven spring chinook and seven coho adults into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek. There were 397 fall chinook, 13 spring kings, 25 coho released into the Upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood; and 86 fall chinook, 12 spring chinook, 65 coho into Lake Scanewa.
A whopping 665 fall chinook, 237 coho salmon were released into Mayfield Lake, and 160 fall chinook and four cutthroat at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.
A total of three cutthroat trout and the two pink salmon were released into the Cowlitz River at the Barrier Dam boat launch during the week.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 4,400 cubic feet per second on Monday. Water visibility is 11 feet.

Lakes
Mayfield Lake has been fair for the boaters running 20-30 feet deep with pop gear and wedding rings.
Riffe Lake has been fishing well, according to McElroy. “Mostly smaller fish at the dam, bigger ones at the upper end,” he said.
Local angler Jerry Oechesner, Centralia, said his Plummer Lake trout count is up to 92, so far this year.
“The bite’s picking up a little,” Oechesner said.
Mineral Lake closes Sept. 30.

On the Beach and Ocean
Clam digs may be scheduled for the end of October, according to the WDFW.
In Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) the daily limit of salmon is two plus two pink (release wild chinook). The limit drops to two on Oct. 1.
In Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound) the daily limit is 2 salmon (chinook minimum size 22 inches), release all wild chinook and coho. After Oct. 1 the rules will change.