Spring Black Bear Permit Applications Due Feb. 29

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle

The deadline for spring black bear hunting permits is quickly approaching; application packages must be in by Feb. 29 to qualify for the drawing.

Several Lakes Due to Close Soon

On Feb. 28, several local lakes will be closed to fishing until opening day in April: Carlisle Lake (Onalaska), Davis Lake (Morton), Fort Borst Park Pond and Plummer Lake in Centralia, and Scanewa Lake (Randle).

Rivers, Lakes, Streams and Saltwater

The Cowlitz River “not red hot right now, but we do have some boaters pulling plugs or divers with coon shrimp and picking up nice big fish,” said Marshall Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel. “The bank anglers are really having to work hard to get a bite right now.  They are trying everything from jig and bobber, sand shrimp, worms and spoons, but the best reports are coming from the guides and die-hard boaters right now.”

Borsom said it “seems we might be getting some B run (steelhead) right now.”

Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center, is wondering if the fish are ever going to show up.

“The steelhead should have followed the smelt right up the river,” said McElroy, “but they didn’t. I don’t know where they are.”

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 46 winter-run steelhead and one cutthroat trout during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released ten winter-run steelhead at the Lake Scanewa Day Use Site above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and they released three steelhead and the cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

The peninsula rivers and the Chehalis are fishing pretty good, McElroy said.

“But the Newaukum is out, the Skook is ugly, and the Satsop ain’t worth a darn,” he added.

A full company of Army anglers from Joint-Base hit the Skookumchuck on Friday and hooked two fish, but couldn’t get them to shore.

“It was a long day,” one said.

McElroy says, “The Skook is a funny river. You’ve got to know what to fish, how to fish and where to fish — but they’re always there if you look for them. There are a lot of fairly small holes, you’ve just got to find the one the fish are setting in.”

Puget Sound fisherman are battling rain and wind, many are staying home.

Riffe Lake is still doing really good for the silvers, Borsom said.

“Worms, cocktail shrimp and hardware, like Kastmasters, are doing well. We had reports of guys getting limits in 90 minutes, he said. “The fish are pretty good in size, ranging from 12 to 16 inches.”

Not a lot happening on Mayfield Lake right now with no reports to speak of, he added.

Offut Lake was planted with 1,000 cutthroat trout on February 15.

“Most of the lakes are fishing well,” said McElroy. “You’ve just got to fight the weather. When the water temperatures start coming up, we’ll see some more action.”

Razor clam diggers had a rough weekend.

“The wind waves were coming in at 12 feet, 21 seconds apart,” McElroy said. “If you didn’t have your limit early, you didn’t have much of a chance later.”

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Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at kz@tds.net.