A Novice Angler’s Guide to Fishing the Cowlitz

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle I didn’t start steelhead fishing until May of this year. After over 100 hours of fishing, I have yet to haul in a steelhead. The steelhead is known as the “fish of 1,000 casts” (which are better odds than they give you for a tiger musky, the fish of 10,000 casts), but that doesn’t keep chrome-hungry anglers from haunting likely fish-holding holes, it just spurs us on. I was a raw noob when I started river fishing in…

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Outdoors Briefs: Snowy Owl Reports, Steelhead Anglers Wait for Cowlitz to Rise

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle Snowy Owl Reported at Nisqually NWR According to the Tweeters report, the Nisqually area snowy owl is still in residence. Jeff Jendro, of Longview, last saw the bird on Luhr Beach, across the McCallister Creek estuary, outside of refuge boundary markers. When last seen “it was perched on a dead snag,” Jendro reported. Snowy owls are primarily an Arctic bird, but this year they are being seen as far south as Oklahoma. Why? The lemming — or, to…

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Bird Watching on the Boardwalk: Waterfowl, Raptors, Songbirds Rest, Refuel and Reside at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle OLYMPIA — Rain or shine, on foggy days and clear, at 8 a.m. every Wednesday morning, you’ll find Phil Kelley  at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, a birding scope strapped to his back, ready to lead a bird walk. Kelley lives just down the road from the refuge, a mere 5 miles away. When he retired in Dec. of 2003, he decided to make a commitment to walk the Nisqually NWR each week. “You have to keep moving,”…

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Under the Open Sky: Winter Bird Watching at Nisqually

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle After a few weeks of feeling under the weather, I was finally feeling well enough to venture outdoors again this week. I know it’s December and almost Christmas, but good gravy, it’s COLD out there! But I just had to get outside. I thought about heading out into the icy waters of the Cowlitz River, but just couldn’t get past the idea of bumping elbows with the other steelhead bankies at Blue Creek while shivering in my waders.

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Hunting/Fishing Report: Hit the Beaches for Razor Clams Today, Tomorrow; Big Trout in South County Pond, Toledo

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle On the Beach Clam diggers will get another chance to dig some fresh razor clams for the holidays during an opening Dec. 22-23 at four ocean beaches. Evening low tides during the dig will be at 4:40 p.m. Dec. 22 and at 5:29 p.m. on Dec. 23. No digging will be allowed at any beach before noon. Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, recommends that diggers hit the beach one to two hours before evening low tide for…

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