Fishing & Hunting Report: Cowlitz Cools Off; Plenty of Fish in Other Rivers

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle
Mark your calendar, the day after Thanksgiving the WDFW has an alternative to Black Friday shopping for holiday discounts.
Starting Friday, Nov. 23, anglers will find thousands of “holiday specials” at six lakes in southwest Washington where WDFW will plant each lake with 2,000 rainbow trout averaging 1¼ pounds apiece.

All six lakes will be closed to fishing Nov. 19-22, when they will be stocked with hefty trout from the Mossyrock and Goldendale fish hatcheries. The six lakes scheduled to receive those fish are: Battleground Lake and Klineline Pond in Clark County; Kress Lake in Cowlitz County; Fort Borst Park Pond and South Lewis County Park Pond in Lewis County; and Rowland Lake in Klickitat County.
“If you’d rather be out on the water than shopping in a mall, this fishery is for you,” said John Weinheimer, a WDFW fish biologist based in Vancouver. “These big rainbows should provide good fishing for several weeks after the holiday.”
Chris Donley, WDFW inland fish program manager, called the Black Friday fishery an experiment, which could lead to similar events in other parts of the state. The challenge, he said, is finding the hatchery capacity and stocking support to make that possible.

Free Movie in Morton
A free preview showing of the movie “Seeking the Greatest Good: The Conservation Legacy of Gifford Pinchot” will be held Nov. 14 at the Roxy Theater in Morton. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., movie starts at 7 p.m.
“These screenings will provide a great opportunity for local community members and Forest Service employees to come together and learn a little more about the first American forester and the person for whom this remarkable forest is named,” said Gifford Pinchot National Forest Supervisor, Janine Clayton. “Spending time together sharing and discussing issues and ideas is important to us all.”
The Pinchot Institute for Conservation recently completed this new 55-minute movie highlighting Gifford Pinchot and the conservation/utilitarian ethic he championed.
After the movie at all of the showings listed above, there will be opportunity for discussions with Forest Service representatives.

Big Game
Modern firearm season for elk continues through Nov. 14.
“I’ve heard of some nice elk taken early in the season,” said Charles McElroy, a sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center. “They’ve been getting them all over in the different areas. A guy brought in a nice 4-point elk just yesterday to show us.”
Two nice bulls were taken out of the Winston Creek area on opening day, according to reports. Hunters are complaining that the woods are crowded and they haven’t seen anything but cow elk lately.
Hunters using modern firearms will get another chance at deer, Nov. 15-18.

On the Water
“There’s plenty of fish out there,” said McElroy, “just not in the Cowlitz.”
There’s fish in the Wynoochie, the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers, McElroy said, “and they’re all in good shape and should stay that way at least through the weekend.”
Plenty of steelhead and silvers to be found in the Willapa and Naselle. The Greys and Elochomin should be fishable and in good shape soon, if they aren’t already. And the Puyallup River is still fishing well.
Hoodsport is going great guns, fishing for chum salmon off the beach.
“Go in front of the hatchery,” McElroy said, “the area is marked, you can’t miss it.”
Stray from the marked areas and you’ll call the wrath of the residents on yourself, he said.
“Fish the incoming tide. Throw spinners, spoons, jigs under a bobber,” McElroy recommended. “Look for schools finning and cast just ahead of them.”
The Cowlitz River seems to be in a bit of a lull.
“Fishing is fair,” said Karen Glaser of Barrier Dam Campground, “they still have some silvers coming in, but they aren’t biting well. There are still some fall Chinook in the river, but they’re looking pretty dark.”
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 2,168 coho adults, 867 jacks, 450 fall Chinook adults, 30 jacks, 175 summer-run steelhead, 49 cutthroat trout and one chum salmon adult during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 44 coho adults and 19 jacks into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam at the Day Use Site. They released 28 fall Chinook adults, 34 coho adults and 32 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood, and they released 639 coho adults, 458 jacks and one fall Chinook adult into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek.
A total of 982 coho adults, 278 jacks, 313 fall Chinook adults, 26 jacks and four cutthroat trout were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton during the week.
River flows at Mayfield Dam were 6,660 cfs on Wednesday, water visibility at 12 feet.
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