Category Archives: Headlines

Clearwater Produces Some Nice B-runs

Hundreds of thousands of A-run steelhead flooding the Snake system at this moment? So what, there are B-runs to be caught!

Kelly Colliton and his crew came down from Spokane for the first weekend that Idaho’s Clearwater River was open for retention and did pretty well.

“I had a great few days and caught some nice B-runs. About 30 to be exact!!!” Colliton emailed me yesterday, vowing to send photos.

Well, today he delivered on the pic promise:







“I like to side drift mostly,” Colliton reports. “That is the most fun and you really have to learn how to feel the bite. They will really grab it sometimes, but most of the time it is pretty subtle and you really have to differentiate that take from the bottom.”

“I drift egg sacks with a little yarn below a barrel swivel with a sliding swivel and lead above that.  I did get a couple fish on bobbers and a jig, but spent 90 percent of my time drifting,” he says.

Barred From The (West) Bar

Washington’s hunting regulations list the West Bar game unit (330) as open for true spikes during the late-October/early November modern firearms elk season, but late word from the state that that is in error.

A press release from WDFW out this afternoon says the small unit along the Columbia in eastern Kittitas County is only open for early archery and special permit hunting, not rifle season.

“Over 20 years ago when it was included during the general season, too much hunting pressure on West Bar caused elk to cross the Columbia River and enter the agricultural and residential areas of Grant County, leading to some unethical and unsafe hunting activities,” says Ted Clausing, WDFW’s regional wildlife program manager in Yakima.

The agency says they are posting signs at access points to warn hunters.

Columbia Coho Bag Limit Increased


The daily bag limit for adult hatchery coho will increase to three fish in the mainstem Columbia River from Tongue Point upstream to the Hwy. 395 bridge at Pasco, Wash., effective Thursday, Oct. 22.  The rule change was approved Monday by the states of Oregon and Washington at a joint state hearing in response to large returns of coho salmon. The adult coho limit in the area between Buoy 10 and Tongue Point increased to three fish effective Sept. 1.

Under the new rules, anglers will be permitted to retain one additional adult fin-clipped coho in their current daily adult bag limit which varies by area.

The revised daily adult bag limits (effective Oct. 22) are:

Tongue Point upstream to Warrior Rock:
Two adipose fin-clipped steelhead or adipose fin-clipped coho in combination, plus one additional adipose fin-clipped coho.  Closed to the retention of chinook salmon.

Warrior Rock upstream to Bonneville Dam:
Two adipose fin-clipped steelhead, adipose fin-clipped adult coho, or adult chinook (but only one may be a chinook) in combination, plus one additional adipose fin-clipped coho.

Bonneville Dam upstream to the Hwy. 395 bridge at Pasco, Wash.:
Two adipose fin-clipped steelhead, coho, or chinook in combination, plus one additional coho.  All non adipose fin-clipped coho must be released downstream of the Hood River bridge.

The coho season on the Columbia is expected to continue through the rest of the year.

Detailed area-by-area regulations, updated regulations, and in-season modifications can be found at on the ODFW Web site.

Kulongoski On NPR

In case you missed the story yesterday afternoon on NPR, reporter Melissa Block floated the South Fork Santiam River with Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski recently. And while they also talked about his desire to create more green jobs in the Beaver State, it was a chance for the governor to practice what he really loves: fly fishing.

Block reports:

We float past Chinook salmon spawning in the gravel close to shore, their tails flapping out of the water. Ospreys wheel overhead. For Kulongoski, time on the river teaches patience — among other things.

“Sometimes, you have to get out like this to really understand why you do what you do,” he says. “This is what Oregon’s all about. This is who we are as people — on the natural resource side of our lives. … I must admit, I may not be as religious but I’m very spiritual — and I believe if there is a God, this is where he lives. He’s on the river, he’s in the mountains — this is what it’s all about.”

They were hoping to catch steelhead, but in the end, Kulongoski only landed a jack Chinook, which he released.

There’s an amusing tidbit at the end of the article too, about the governor steelheading in front of a crowd on the McKenzie.  He loses two, and hears it from the peanut gallery.

The peanut gallery commenting on NPR’s story point out the gov might want to do something about the state’s high unemployment rate rather than going fishing or talking about future green jobs.

Frank Words

The story is about why the state of Washington may be dragging its heels on working with the tribes to come up with a plan to replace or repair salmon-blocking culverts, but in Craig Welch’s Seattle Times article today, Billy Frank Jr. has some strong comments about well comanagement of the fish is working out:

“We’re going backward, backward, backward,” Frank said. “Their budgets are falling. Their half of the management of our 50-50 split hasn’t worked. The tribes are doing lots of things on the watershed. We’ve got to get the co-managers to do more of the same.”

Winter-runs Are Heeeeere: SW WA Fishin’ Report

Joe Hymer knows how to get my attention. In his Southwest Washington fishing roundup, fired off his Vancouver desk oh, about 10 minutes ago, is the following bolded, supersized mention for the Cowlitz River: “four early winter-run adults.”

Yee-hah! Our favorite season is officially here!! And it comes just as we put the final touches on the November issue’s 31-page Northwest steelhead preview.

Here’s the rest of the fishing news from around Southwest Washington, according to Hymer:


Anglers are reminded that under statewide freshwater rules, October 31 is the last day to fish for game fish in most rivers, streams, and beaver ponds.

Mainstem Grays from mouth to South Fork and West fork from mouth to hatchery intake/footbridge – Salmon and steelhead season extended through October 25. Salmon daily limit is 6 fish of which no more than 2 adult chinook may be retained.  Release chum, wild coho, and wild chinook.  All chinook must be adipose and/or ventral fin clipped to be retained.

In addition, up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Wild steelhead and all other game fish must be released.   

Lower portions of Abernathy, Coal, Mill (Cowlitz Co.), Germany creeks and the Coweeman River –  Re-open to fishing for hatchery steelhead and other game fish beginning November 1.

Cowlitz River – Boat and bank anglers continue to catch coho on the lower Cowlitz.   Bank anglers at the barrier dam are also catching some coho and Chinook (most of which were released).

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 9,890 coho adults, 701 jacks, 1,268 fall chinook adults, 215 jacks, 39 summer-run steelhead adults, four early winter-run steelhead adults, 159 sea-run cutthroat trout, one chum and one pink salmon adult during seven days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the week Tacoma Power employees released 813 fall Chinook adults, 154 jacks, 72 coho adults and two jacks into Mayfield Lake at the Ike Kinswa State Park boat launch, 297 coho adults and 10 jacks, 258 fall chinook adults and 41 jacks into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, 1,565 coho adults and 133 jacks into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and 687 coho adults and 40 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood, Washington.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 4,470 cubic feet per second on Monday, October 19, and water visibility is 12 feet.

Kalama River – Has improved for coho.  Anglers are also catching some steelhead.

Lewis River – Bright, late stock coho have appeared in the catch at the salmon hatchery.  Some steelhead and fall Chinook (which have to be released) were also caught.  About 800 hatchery late stock coho were counted in the traps last week.

Fisherman and pleasure boaters planning to be on the Columbia or lower Lewis Rivers should be aware that a safety zone will be established prior to blasting operations scheduled to occur each day beginning November 1.  For more info, see

Wind River – Generally light effort although boat anglers caught some coho which were released.  October 31 is the last scheduled day of the salmon season.

Drano Lake – Light effort though boat anglers are catching some fish.

Klickitat River – Heavy bank angling effort and increased coho catch on the lower river.  Nearly 50 vehicles were counted yesterday (Sunday Oct. 18) morning on the lower couple miles of the river.  Bank anglers averaged an adult coho kept per rod.  Some fall Chinook were also observed in the catch.

Under permanent rules to protect naturally spawning fall chinook, all chinook must be released from 400’ above #5 fishway upstream beginning November 1.  Fisher Hill Bridge downstream will remain open for chinook retention.

Yakima River – WDFW staff interviewed 220 anglers fishing for salmon. Effort was similar to the week prior. An estimated 189 adult fall chinook, 22 jack chinook, and 72 adult coho caught during the week. The total harvest is currently estimated at 403 adult chinook, 58 jack chinook, 82 adult coho, and 4 coho jacks. Wild steelhead caught and released for the fishery is estimated at 16 fish.  Salmon fishery is scheduled to remain open through October 22.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Most of the effort and coho catch was found in the Camas/Washougal area.  Fifty boats were counted at Lady Island during the Saturday October 17 flight.     Some coho and steelhead were also caught in the lower river though effort was light.

Under permanent rules to protect naturally spawning fall chinook and chum, fishing for salmon is closed from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam beginning November 1.

Bonneville Pool – At the mouth of the Klickitat, boat anglers averaged nearly an adult coho kept per rod.  Just over sixty boats were counted there yesterday.  Some coho are also being caught at the mouth of the White Salmon River though most were unmarked fish and had to be released.

Hanford Reach – The fall chinook sport fishery was closed to the retention of any salmon on October 14. Anglers were allowed to continue to fish for hatchery steelhead and catch and release only for salmon through October 22.  The number of boats fishing for salmon dropped dramatically after October 14.  An estimated 276 fall chinook were harvested during the final three days of retention (193 adults & 83 jacks). Only 48 adult and 39 jack chinook were caught and released after October 14.  To date, 6,532 adult fall chinook and 1,997 jacks have been harvested.


Lower Columbia from the Wauana powerlines to Bonneville Dam – About one in ten bank anglers on the Washington side just below Bonneville Dam had kept a legal size sturgeon when sampled last Thursday.  Effort remains fairly high in the gorge with 265 WA and 294 OR bank anglers counted during the Saturday October 17 flight.   Effort was light on the rest of the lower river.


Swift Reservoir – Game fish and salmon season has been extended through November.  Reports of good fishing for rainbows averaging 12-13” with  some up to 20”.

Comments On Sound Rockfish Plan Sought


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is accepting public comment through Nov. 19 on a new draft conservation plan for rockfish in Puget Sound and has scheduled four meetings to discuss the plan with the public.

The draft conservation plan is the preferred alternative among several presented in a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which is required by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

The DEIS and draft conservation plan are available on WDFW’s website at . Those who would like a copy of the plan on a compact disc or in print can call (360) 902-2844.

The draft conservation plan provides the framework for new strategies and actions in areas including fisheries, monitoring and education to conserve and protect rockfish populations in Puget Sound. Three species of rockfish in Puget Sound – bocaccio, yelloweye and canary rockfish – currently are being considered for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Comments can be submitted by email to , by FAX to (360) 902-2946, or by U.S. Mail to: WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capitol Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

In addition, people can submit comments, as well as discuss the draft plan with WDFW staff, during public meetings scheduled for:

  • Oct. 29 – From 7-9 p.m. in Mill Creek at WDFW’s Mill Creek office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd.
  • Nov. 2 – From noon-2 p.m. in Friday Harbor in the Commons Room at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor laboratory, 620 University Road.
  • Nov. 4 – From 7-9 p.m. in Olympia in room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E.
  • Nov. 6 – From 4-6 p.m. in Port Townsend in the Raven Room at Skookum Inc., 385 Benedict St.

NWS Scribe, Friends Limit At Spencer

While I was out deer hunting in Eastern Washington this past weekend, Northwest Sportsman contributor “Uncle Wes” Malmberg was working the trout over in Mason County.

He, his brother and a friend all limited out at Spencer Lake on pound-plus rainbows yesterday.

They were, of course, dragging around a fly.

“Olive Bugger was the king,” Wes reports.

It took them just three hours to catch the 15 trout, most of which went 12 to 14 inches, but the biggest one was 16 inches, he says.

“Got off the lake to see Minnesota win again. Gotta love Brett Favre.”

And you gotta love the stocking truck. WDFW recently planted Spencer, which is northeast of Shelton and about a mile off Highway 3 via East Pickering Road,with around 5,750 1-pound-and-better rainbows in recent weeks.

“There’s plenty of parking, there’s an outhouse, but the launch is a little rough,” Wes says of the lake’s facilities.

Spencer isn’t the only Mason County lake brimming with fresh fish. In recent weeks, the state has also planted Lake Kokanee (803), Lost Lake (1,254) and Nahwatzel Lake (4,600).

POST SCRIPT: Wes returned to Spencer today, Tuesday, Oct. 20, and reports limiting on 14- to 16-inchers in an hour and 30 minutes, all on size 4 Woolly Buggers. He says there were four or five other boats on the water.

Update On Tribal Arrest Of Legal Elk Hunters

A county sheriff sergeant says they didn’t, but a Washington tribe insists it had the legal right to arrest and detain three nontribal elk hunters who’d legally taken a bull on private property near Brinnon in early October.

The statement came out yesterday in an article in the Peninsula Daily News, following up on an article by the Port Townsend Leader which was there when Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal police approached Don and Danny Phipps and Adam Boling with guns drawn, arrested and held them for two hours on Oct. 3.

“Natural Re-sources Enforcement officers are mandated to respond when a possible violation is reported within the tribe’s usual and accustomed fishing and hunting grounds, and are expertly trained to handle these situations,” reads a statement from the tribe.

Boling has filed a complaint with Jefferson County, which is investigating the matter.

The Daily News reports:

“Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Stringer, who is a former officer with the Suquamish tribe, has said that all tribal officers have jurisdiction only on tribal land, or if they are dealing with tribal members or if they have a cross-commission from the sheriff.

WDFW is also investigating, and may issue a report later this week, the newspaper reports.