Fishing & Hunting Report: Archery Deer Opens; Crabbing Closes

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle
Archers pursuing black-tailed deer will enter the woods on Sept. 1.
In many local areas — including Lincoln, Mossyrock, Winston, Stormking, Packwood, Margaret, Skookumchuck and South Rainier — bow hunters can target any deer. In the Randle, Willapa Hills and Ryderwood areas it’s any buck. Two-point or antlerless only in Mashel (GMU 654).

TPU to Work on Barrier Dam
On Sept. 4 Tacoma Power will lower the Cowlitz River below the Mayfield Dam to 2,500 cfs in order to be able to work on the Barrier Dam. The work may continue for up to seven days, said Randy Stearnes, Tacoma Power’s community relations officer.
Typical flows this time of year are about 3,000-3,500 cfs and the allowed minimum is 2,000 cfs.
Be cautious about bottoming your boat due to the low water levels.

Two Chinook at Ilwaco
Anglers fishing in ocean waters off Ilwaco can keep up to two Chinook salmon as part their two-salmon daily limit.
With that change, anglers will be allowed to keep up to two Chinook per day in all four marine areas off the Washington coast.
All ocean areas (marine areas 1-4) are open to salmon fishing seven days a week. Wild coho must be released.

Crabbing Closes

Most areas of Puget Sound will close to recreational crab fishing at sunset on Labor Day, with summer catch reports due by Oct. 1.
The only two areas of the Sound that will remain open to crab fishing after Labor Day are marine areas 7-North and 7-South near the San Juan Islands. Sport fishers who crab in those two areas after Sept. 3 must record their catch on winter catch record cards.

On the River
“They’re talking about an early closure for Chinook on the Columbia River,” said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center, “which is weird because they upped the limits for ocean fishing. But that’s the game department for you, it doesn’t have to make sense.”
The lower Columbia, McElroy said, the fishing is spotty.
“They hit ‘em good for a couple of days, then nothing for another couple of days, and then it’s hot again,” he said. “The best bet is 3 hours before high tide and an hour afterward.”
McElroy said the coho salmon seem undersized this year.
“They’re really small,” he said, “but they’re mature fish, just really, really small.”
Anglers need to be warned that the Skookumchuck River isn’t open to salmon and won’t open until Oct. 1, McElroy said.
“They’re writing a lot of tickets out there,” he said.
A few more fall Chinook salmon have made their way to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery this week, but anglers are having to fight off the past-their-prime springers to get to them and that hasn’t been easy.
“But there’s lots and lots of cutthroat being caught,” said McElroy.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 338 summer-run steelhead, 101 spring Chinook adults, six jacks, 24 fall Chinook adults, four jacks, four sea-run cutthroat trout and one sockeye salmon during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
They released 63 spring Chinook adults, six jacks and seven fall Chinook adults into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek. They released 29 spring Chinook adults, one adult fall Chinook and one jack into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood, and 28 spring Chinook mini-jacks into Riffe Lake at the Mossyrock Park boat launch.
A total of 14 fall Chinook adults, three jacks and two sea-run cutthroat trout were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton during the week.
A total of 35 summer-run steelhead were transported to the lower Cowlitz River and released at the I-5 boat launch, and one chum salmon and one sockeye salmon were recycled to the Barrier Dam during the week.

In Lakes and Ponds
Riffe Lake is stilling fishing well for silvers. Mayfield has picked up, although the trout are still small.
Offut Lake has also picked up with these cool evenings.
Swofford Pond has been okay, best after dark.
Merwin and Yale are still cranking out the kokanee

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