Fishing & Hunting Report: Razor Clam Season Tentatively Scheduled; Anglers Hope for Rain

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle
WDFW has tentatively scheduled a razor-clam dig in mid-October, the first of the fall season, for Oct. 13 at four ocean beaches, provided upcoming marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.
They will announce final approval of that plan about a week before the dig is set to start, said Dan Ayres, WDFW’s coastal shellfish manager.
“We’re still in the process of determining additional fall and winter digging opportunities, but we wanted to give people a chance to start making plans for October,” said Ayres.

Meanwhile, WDFW will continue to accept public comments through Oct. 9 on digging days and other management options for the upcoming razor clam season.
For more information, check the department’s website, wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razor clams/.

Columbia River Salmon, Steelhead Board Opening
WDFW is seeking nominations for a vacant position for southwest Washington’s Region 5 on the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Anglers Board, a citizen advisory group responsible for reviewing plans to improve sport fishing opportunities for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin.
Individuals may nominate themselves or others to the board.
Nominations must be mailed no later than Oct. 31 to: Jeff Korth, Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement Program, 1550 Alder St. NW, Ephrata, WA 98823.
More information is available by contacting Korth at (509) 754-4624 ext. 224.

On the Water
“Willapa Bay has been real slow,” said Charles McElroy, a sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center. “It’s just still too warm and there’s no fresh water coming into the system, although the cool weather has been a help.”
The fish in the Chehalis don’t seem to be moving up too far past the tidewater, said McElroy.
“What we really need now is a good rain — but just enough, not too much,” said McElroy. “The Newaukum is nearly dry, the Chehalis is more of a lake or a series of puddles than a river, and there isn’t any water in the coastal streams — fish just aren’t moving in.”
Fishing on the Cowlitz River is going okay, but not much better than that.
“We are seeing mostly fall kings being caught all through the system,” said Marshall Borsom of Fish Country, Inc. in Ethel. “Bank anglers at Barrier Dam are doing good throwing big gobs of eggs with sand shrimp. We have our corky guys wading out to the point and picking up fish too.”
Spring Chinook are still hanging out along the ledges at the Barrier Dam, but they are more than a little past their prime and not worth the effort.
Inexperienced anglers snagging the dark, ugly beasts are finding the walk of shame down to the boat launch more than a little embarrassing.
“Blue Creek is still getting a steelhead here and there, but they have pretty much died off now,” he added.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 823 fall Chinook adults, 106 jacks, 14 spring Chinook adults, one jack, 303 coho adults, 127 jacks, 118 summer-run steelhead, seven cutthroat trout and two sockeye salmon during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
They released 220 fall Chinook adults, 39 jacks, ten spring Chinook adults, 91 coho adults and 79 jacks into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam at the Day Use Site; 183 fall Chinook adults, 31 jacks, two spring Chinook adults, 13 coho adults and five jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood; and 305 fall Chinook adults, 31 jacks, 133 coho adults, 43 jacks and one cutthroat trout were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.
Mayfield Lake is picking up fish, but mostly for the boaters trolling the right areas with their pop gear and wedding rings.
“Riffle Lake has slowed now — not a lot of reports coming in lately,” said Borsom.
Those few heading out of Westport after salmon are finding that the fish are costing them a pretty penny in gas to the beach and then gas in the ocean.
“It’s an awful long way to go just to catch a couple of silvers,” said McElroy.
Anglers in the Sound are doing very well off the beach for silvers. The Nisqually and Puyallup River are putting out some nice fish.

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