Fishing and Hunting Report: Rivers Blown; Lakes Hold Promise with Black Friday Trout

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle
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 are 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.
Fishery managers encourage anglers who go after the big trout on Black Friday to share photos of their catches on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/sharephotos/.
In the spirit of the special fishery and the food-centered holiday, WDFW fishery managers offer the following recipe:

Blackened Fish Recipe
Preheat cast iron skillet or griddle, preferably on outdoor grill, until very hot.
Dip thick (at least one-half-inch) fish fillets into melted butter and then into Cajun blackening spice mixture (equal parts black, white and cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme).
Cook in hot skillet about 2 minutes or until bottom is near black but not burned.
Turn fillets, drizzle with more melted butter, continue cooking about 2 minutes. Serve immediately with dipping butter.

Big Game and Turkeys
Reports of good hunting success over the last 3-day modern firearm season for deer have come in.
Late archery and the muzzleloader elk seasons get underway Nov. 21.
Archers will get another chance at deer on Nov. 21, black powder hunters start a day later on Nov. 22.
Late fall turkey season runs through Dec. 15.

On the Water
“Nothing is going on,” said Charles McElroy, a sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center. “Everything is blown, including the Cowlitz, and it’s going be for a while.”
On Monday afternoon I drove down to the Barrier Dam area of the Cowlitz River. No one was there fishing, although if they were, the water was so high they could have fished from the parking lot.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 997 coho adults, 295 jacks, 78 fall Chinook adults, four jacks, 15 summer-run steelhead, eight winter-run steelhead and 20 cutthroat trout during four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 401 coho adults, 170 jacks and two winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam at the Day Use Site and they released 43 fall Chinook adults, five coho adults and16 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood, Washington
A total of 475 coho adults, 170 jacks, 33 fall Chinook adults, four jacks and five cutthroat trout were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton during the week.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife released five cutthroat trout into the upper Cowlitz River basin during the week.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 14,300 cfs.
Riffe and Mayfield lakes aren’t the place to be either.
“They’ll be all stirred up,” said McElroy. “It is what it is. We’ll have to wait this one out.”

November’s Second Razor Clam Dig Starts Nov. 26

The next evening razor clam dig will get under way Monday (Nov. 26) at Twin Harbors beach, then expand to include openings at Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks later in the week.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig after marine toxin tests at all four beaches confirmed the clams are safe to eat.

No digging will be allowed at any of those beaches until after noon.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, advises that diggers dress for the weather and carry a lantern or strong flashlight during the upcoming openings.

The dig at Twin Harbors will run six days, extending through Saturday (Dec. 1). Long Beach will open for digging Thursday (Nov. 29), followed by Copalis and Mocrocks on Friday (Nov. 30). All beaches will close to digging at midnight Saturday (Dec. 1).

Digging days and evening low tides for those beaches are:

Nov. 26, Monday, 5:16 p.m., -0.1 ft, Twin Harbors
Nov. 27, Tuesday, 5:52 p.m., -0.3 ft., Twin Harbors
Nov. 28, Wednesday, 6:27 p.m., -0.4 ft., Twin Harbors
Nov. 29, Thursday, 7:01 p.m., -0.4 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach
Nov. 30, Friday, 7:35 p.m., -0.3 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
Dec. 1, Saturday, 8:10 p.m., -0.1 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks

Ayres noted that the best digging occurs one to two hours prior to low tide.

Clam diggers are limited to 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2012-13 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Information about beach locations and additional digs proposed in the weeks ahead is available on WDFW’s website at http://goo.gl/ooxEO.

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.