Fishing & Hunting Report: Rivers Out of Shape; Lakes, Ponds Hold Promise

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle

Five-year-old Will Cummings, son of Brian and Stacie Cummings of Chehalis, holds up his haul of freshly planted rainbow trout, taken from Fort Borst Park Pond on Monday.

Those that have hit local lakes and ponds after the WDFW rainbow trout plant have had great success.
The six lakes that received big rainbow plants 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.
“Fishing should remain good for a while,” said Charles McElroy, a sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center. “They planted the South County Pond pretty thick.”

Mycological Society Meets
The next meeting of the Southwest Washington Mycological Society will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the WSU Lewis County Extension meeting room in the Historic Lewis County Courthouse. The topic will be late winter mushrooms such as Helvella lacunosa and Panellus serotinus.
If you find interesting mushrooms for show and tell or to be identified, please pick them just before the meeting and place them in a paper bag. If you have any questions or need more information, contact Debbie Burris, Master Gardener Program and Master Recycler Composter Coordinator, 740-1216, Debbie.Burris@lewiscountywa.gov.

Clam Dig Still On
The latest razor clam dig started Monday (Nov. 26) and runs through Saturday (Dec. 1).
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.
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.
“There was some fairly strong wind and rain during the dig earlier this month, so we recommend that diggers prepare for more of the same,” Ayres said.
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 still open are:
· 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.
“It’s been a really good dig this week,” said McElroy. “I talked to one guy that was on the beach at 3 p.m. and off it fifteen minutes later with a limit of nice, big clams.”
There are tentative razor clam digs through Dec. 31. This schedule of proposed digs is for planning purposes only. WDFW will announce final approval of each dig once marine toxin tests determine the clams are safe to eat.
Dates include Dec. 11 through Dec. 16 and Dec. 28 through New Year’s Eve.

Big Game and Turkeys
Late archery and the muzzleloader elk seasons are underway and continue through Dec. 15.
Archers and black powder hunters will be haunting the field through the first week of Dec. or mid- to the end of Dec., depending on the area.
Late fall turkey season runs through Dec. 15.

On the Water
There isn’t much going on in local rivers.
“There are winter-run steelhead starting to show,” said Karen Glaser of Barrier Dam Campground. “A guy brought in a beautiful 14 lb. steelhead earlier this week. But it’s really pretty grim right now, we’re just waiting for the river to go back down.”
There wasn’t a soul at Barrier Dam on the Cowlitz River on Wednesday afternoon — the river was so high you could still almost fish from the parking lot.
“The fish are in close,” said Glaser. “At least there’s that, you don’t have to wade in to your waist to find them. But there just isn’t much pressure out there.”
Glaser said the USGS crew stopped in at her store this week and told her that there are still some summer-run steelhead out there sporting radio and floy tags.
“If you find one,” she said, “bring them into the store, we’ll get them back to USGS.”
The boaters are doing better than the bankies at Blue Creek, McElroy said.
“I talked to a fly fisherman who said he watched four fish pulled out of the water this week, but all four were from boats,” he said.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 685 coho adults, 174 jacks, nine fall Chinook adults, 26 summer-run steelhead, 30 winter-run steelhead and 42 cutthroat trout during three days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 109 coho adults and 23 jacks into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam at the Day Use Site and they released one fall Chinook adult, 166 coho adults and 102 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood.
A total of 348 coho adults, 48 jacks, eight fall Chinook adults, five cutthroat and one winter-run steelhead were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and five cutthroat trout were released into the upper Cowlitz River basin during the week.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 14,000 cfs on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Water visibility is five feet.
The Chehalis River was clear, “but we’ve got fresh rain and we’ll have it for a week,” said McElroy, “it won’t take too long for it to go out of shape again.”
The Peninsula streams are already blown, he said.
“We need a decent dry spell before the fishing will get good again on the rivers,” said McElroy.
Riffe Lake is fishing well, some nice 10 to 12″ fish are being pulled in.
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.