Share Great Shots With WDFW; Cowlitz River Red Hot for Springers

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle

Did you land a lunker this weekend? Find a trophy-sized shed? View an amazing sight and fire a great shot? WDFW wants to see it.

The WDFW website is looking to fill a new online gallery of images, submitted by people enjoying the great outdoors.

“This is a great way for outdoor enthusiasts to share their fishing, hunting and wildlife-watching experiences with others,” said Nate Pamplin, WDFW’s wildlife program director.

Key subjects for the online gallery include hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing, as well as scenic photos of WDFW wildlife areas. Photos selected for display in the gallery may also be used in other electronic and print publications produced by the department.

Guidelines for photo submissions are included on the department’s new photo webpage at


Walk Under a Super Moon

The biggest full moon of the year will occur this Saturday evening. The moon will also appear approximately 16-percent brighter than usual as it makes its closest approach to the earth this year (also known as perigee).

To see a shot of the 2011 Super Moon, taken from the beach as the sun rose over Grayland beach clammer diggers, go to The (Almost) Daily News website,

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is sponsoring a free (but space limited) moonlit hike through the Carty Unit on Sunday, May 5, at 8 p.m. The refuge will also offer moonlight hikes June 4, July 3, and Aug. 2.

“This trail, familiar by day, becomes a whole new experience at night,” RNWR staff says. “Our trail guides will lead you on an adventure in which owls hoot, coyotes howl, bats fly and there is rustling in the brush.”

RSVP with Sarah Hill, 360-887-4106 or email

Last Chance for Razor Clams

This weekend, May 5-7, is your last chance to dig razor clams until this fall. Twin Harbors is the only beach that will be open for the dig; no digging will be allowed after noon.

All other coastal beaches in Washington will be closed to razor clam digging until a new season is announced in fall.

Morning low tides will be as follows: May 5, 6:32 a.m., -1.5 feet; May 6, 7:19 a.m., -2.1 feet; May 7, 8:07 a.m., -2.3 feet.

For best results, Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager WDFW, recommends that diggers arrive an hour or two before low tide.

“With digging restricted to one beach, I’d recommend arriving early and getting your clams before it gets too crowded,” he said.

Make sure to avoid signed upland beach areas at Twin Harbors, which are closed to protect nesting western snowy plovers. The closed areas are located from just south of Midway Beach Road to the first beach-access trail at Grayland Beach State Park.

Rivers, Lakes, Streams and Saltwater

The Chehalis River opened to salmon May 1, from the mouth to the Hwy. 6 bridge in Adna.

“But there’s nothing in the river yet,” said McElroy. “The rivers up and running mud anyway, but the run doesn’t show up until mid-May generally.”

A total of 450 spring Chinook have found their way to the separator so far this season, over 300 of them came in last week. What does that mean for local anglers?

“The Cowlitz is red hot for springers,” said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center. “From the mouth of the Toutle down, it’s been just really good.”

Over 1,000 winter-run steelhead made their way to the hatchery this week.

According to Marshall Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel, some days were slower than others, “The bite is either on or off, depending on the day.”

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 1,128 winter-run steelhead, 312 spring Chinook adults, 30 jacks, 13 summer-run steelhead and two cutthroat trout during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

They released 127 spring Chinook adults, 11 jacks and 58 winter-run steelhead in Lake Scanewa; 45 spring Chinook adults, ten jacks and five winter-run steelhead into the Cispus; and 46 spring Chinook adults, four jacks and six winter-run steelhead into the upper Cowlitz.

Lingcod anglers in Puget Sound are doing well.

“But the sea bass are still scattered,” said McElroy, “they’re just not schooled up yet.”

Halibut fishing opened today in marine areas 6-10 and in area 1 off the south coast. May 6 Westport and Ocean Shores open, but you’ll have to wait until May 10 for areas 3 and 4. Shrimp fishing opens Saturday.


Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer and photojournalist. Visit her website The (Almost) Daily News ( and find her on Facebook (Kimberly Mason — The Chronicle), call 269-5017 or email