Fishing and Hunting Report Razor Clam Dig Saturday; Gunning for Goose Reopens

The WDFW has opened four ocean beaches for diggers to search and find fresh razor clams for the holidays on Saturday, Dec. 10 — Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

Remember to pack a flashlight and put on warm, waterproof clothes before you head to the beach.

The low evening tide Dec. 10 will be at 6:30 p.m. No digging will be allowed at any of those beaches before noon.

“The upcoming dig will give folks a chance to take home some fresh razor clams in time for entertaining during the holidays,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

Ayres suggests that diggers look for razor clam recipes posted on the WDFW website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/recipes.html), especially his personal favorite, the smoked razor clam appetizer.

WDFW has also tentatively scheduled a two-day dig Dec. 22-23 at the same four beaches, pending the results of future toxin tests. Final approval for that dig will be announced once those tests show the clams are still safe to eat.

Big Game

Late archery season for deer is open through Dec. 15 in local GMUs 510 (Stormking), 516 (Packwood), 520 (Winston). GMU 505 (Mossyrock) will remain open through the end of the year.

Late black powder deer hunters will continue to stalk the woods until Dec. 15 in GMU 501 (Lincoln).

Late archery for elk closed in GMU 520 (Winston) yesterday, but the hunt continues in GMUs 503 (Randle) and 505 until Dec. 15.

Late muzzleloader season for elk closed in many local areas, but is still open for another week in GMU 667 (Skookumchuck).

Waterfowl, Upland Game

The extended season for pheasant hunting continues until Dec. 15 in the Skookumchuck, Kosmos, Scatter Creek and Lincoln Creek areas. Birds are not planted during these last two weeks.

Waterfowl hunters presented 566 geese at check stations in Vancouver, Woodland and Cathlamet through Nov. 27, the end of the first hunting period in GMA 2A, amounting to an average of about 2.2 geese per hunter.

Dave Ware, WDFW game manager, looks for even better hunting ahead for southwest Washington waterfowlers.

“This is the time when waterfowl of all kinds start arriving from the north in large numbers,” he said. “The storms in late November helped to get the birds moving for the late season, which generally provides the best waterfowl hunting of the year.”

Hunting seasons for ducks and geese run through Jan. 29 in southwest Washington, although goose hunting in Area 2A (Wahkiakum, Cowlitz and part of Clark County) and 2B (Pacific County) could be cut short if hunters take more than 40 dusky geese.

Anyone hunting geese in those areas should keep watch for news of a possible closure.

Rivers, Lakes and Streams

The Cowlitz River has “turned on,” according to Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center.

“The bank fishermen are doing well,” said McElroy, “but the guides are doing especially well on the Cowlitz. The Willipa and the lower end of the Naselle is red hot and all the peninsula streams are fishing well.”

Mark Hoffmann, White Pass Sports Hut in Packwood, said salmon fishing is still going near the Franklin Bridge in Packwood, but it’s slowing down.

“It’s been so cold up here,” said Hoffman, “you’d better be pretty dedicated to fish right now, but I’m still seeing a lot of trucks up here dumping off fish.”

Coho take has really slowed down this last week, said Marshall Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel, he’s only heard of few taken here and there.

“However, the winter steelhead fishing has really picked up in the Blue Creek area,” said Borsom. “We have heard of several nice catches of limits from both bank and boat anglers this weekend.”

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle   

The boaters are side drifting eggs, sand shrimp or pulling divers with bait. The bank anglers are using a variety including sand shrimp, yarn and corky or jig and bobber.

“It seems most everyone was picking up fish,” said Borsom.

Mayfield Lake has been pretty decent for trout from the docks with bobber and worm or bobber and cocktail shrimp, said Borsom.

Offut Lake is good, but slow, according to McElroy.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 3,243 coho adults, 114 jacks, 73 fall Chinook adults, five jacks, 257 winter-run steelhead, 29 summer-run steelhead and nine sea-run cutthroat trout during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 224 coho adults, nine jacks and seven fall Chinook adults into the upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood. They released 1,265 coho adults, 31 jacks, seven fall Chinook adults and five winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa behind Cowlitz Falls Dam, and 402 coho adults, eleven jacks and seven fall Chinook adults were released into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek.

Also during the week 474 coho adults, 25 jacks, 48 fall Chinook adults, four jacks and three cutthroat trout were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam have remained relatively steady this week at 9,470 cfs, water visibility is 8 feet.