Fishing & Hunting Report: Testing Your Boating Safety Knowledge

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle
I met a WDFW enforcement officer pond side not long ago and received a well-deserved lecture on life jackets, the law, and safety.
The officer asked a few questions that I’m ashamed to say that I did not know the answers to all of them. Test yourself:

Small Water Craft Safety
Did you know that buoyant cushions no longer satisfy the legal requirements for personal flotation devices on boats under 16 feet long?
Did you know you are required to have a correctly-sized life jacket or life vest on board for each person and children are required to have the life jacket or vest on at all times?
Did you know that these laws apply to not just row boats, but to kayaks, canoes, inflatable rafts also?
Did you know that half of all recreational boating deaths in Washington result from capsizing or falls overboard from boats under 16 feet long?
That wearing a Personal Flotation Device could have saved most of those lives AND MIGHT SAVE YOURS?
Remember, it doesn’t matter that Swofford Pond (South Lewis County, or Carlisle, or Plummer Lake) is your hometown water and you know it as well as your own bathtub — which was my own lame excuse — the law is the law, abide by it.

Photography Workshop
At 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, the Friends of Seminary Hill Natural Area are sponsoring a photography workshop with Marlene Hodge.
For more information contact Sandy Godsey, President, Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area, 736-7045 or

Rivers, Lakes, and Streams
Limits have been slow to show for Offut Lake anglers, said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center.
Lake Mayfield is still a good bet for the tiger musky angler — target the Winston Cove edges on down past the park and beyond the duck blind — but remains a poor target for rainbow trout fans.
Riffe Lake has been busy with crowds looking for — and finding — landlocked coho limits.
“It’s still red hot at both ends of the lake,” said Marshall Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel, “near the dam and down at the east end by the fishing bridge. Everything is working — worms, cocktail shrimp, corn, sprinners and hardware — it just doesn’t seem to matter right now. Swofford Pond is producing some nice bass and catfish for the die hards – try throwing a Rapala for the Bass.
The Green River has too few fish and too many anglers, according to McElroy.
Summer-run steelhead fishing on the Cowlitz River has been steadily picking up, while the spring Chinook salmon run is slowly winding down.
The river ran low through the holiday weekend and sits back up high again as of Monday.
Pressure at the Barrier Dam has been thin. Anglers have crowded the banks downstream from the Blue Creek Boat Launch.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 629 summer-run steelhead, 138 spring Chinook adults, 22 jacks and 37 mini-jacks during four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 28 spring Chinook adults and five jacks at the Day Use Park in Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam. They released 16 spring Chinook adults and seven jacks into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and they released 11 spring Chinook adults and five jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood.
For the summer-run steelhead recycling study, 56 summer-run steelhead were released at the I-5 boat launch, and two summer-run steelhead were released at Massey Bar last week.

In the Salt
Westport is putting out good reports of easy limits, said McElroy.
Surf perch fishing is good towards Tokeland, sea bass has been good off the jetty at Westport.

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