Tag Archives: walleye

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (8-14-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River– 1 bank angler had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 1 boat/4 rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br – 31 bank rods kept 25 steelhead. 27 boats/73 rods kept 37 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.

NATE SCANLON BEAMS WITH PRIDE AT HIS MOM LARA AND HER ESTIMATED 30-POUND UPRIVER BRIGHT, CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY ON AUG. 7 JUST ABOVE THE ASTORIA-MEGLER BRIDGE. THEY WERE FISHING WITH GUIDE JOEL HENLEY AND TROLLING A GREEN-LABEL CUTPLUG BEHIND A CUSTOMIZED FISH FLASH AND 14 OUNCES OF WEIGHT TO KEEP THE SETUP “HUGGING THE BOTTOM.” (ANVILOUTDOORS.COM)

Tacoma Power employees recovered 121 summer-run steelhead adults, 68 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, 62 spring Chinook mini-jacks, and two Cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released nine spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released six spring Chinook adults and two Cutthroat trout at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 606 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

Kalama River – 23 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 26 bank anglers kept 3 steelhead and released 1 Chinook jack. 3 boats/8 rods released 4 Chinook.

Drano Lake – 5 boats/7 rods kept 1 Chinook jack and released 1 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – No anglers sampled.

Trout:

Merrill Lake – Fishing has been good for rainbow and cutthroat, some browns are being caught.

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond Date Species Number Fish/lb Hatchery

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) August 6, 2019 Rainbow 2,680 1.34 EELLS SPRINGS

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 28, 2019 Rainbow 2,648 1.32 EELLS SPRINGS

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 24, 2019 Rainbow 2,786 1.39 EELLS SPRINGS

GOOSE LK (SKAM) July 18, 2019 Rainbow 1,644 2.30 GOLDENDALE

Warmwater:

Lacamas Lake – Bass and yellow perch fishing has been excellent.

Rowland Lake – Anglers have been catching some bluegill and pumpkinseed.

Swofford Pond – Bass and channel catfish fishing has been excellent.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam). http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Buoy 10 

Date Number
of Boats
Number
of Anglers
Chinook
Kept
Coho
Kept
Comments
1-Aug 35 85 3 3 Opener
2-Aug 40 100 7 7  
3-Aug 192 505 45 34  
4-Aug 128 338 35 22  
5-Aug 73 180 47 30  
6-Aug 86 212 85 45  
7-Aug 0 0 0 0 Not Sampled
8-Aug 114 287 129 82  
9-Aug 35 97 31 27  
10-Aug 264 756 217 143  
11-Aug 334 997 82 66  

 

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport Aug. 5-11

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 14 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal bank: 4 anglers with 1 Chinook jack kept
I-5 area bank: No report
Vancouver bank: 23 anglers with nothing
Woodland bank: 50 anglers with 1 Chinook kept
Kalama bank: 42 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz bank: No report
Longview bank: 52 anglers with nothing
Cathlamet bank: 5 anglers with nothing
Private boats/bank: 3 anglers with nothing

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 14 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: 7 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 23 anglers with 1 Chinook kept
Woodland boat: 24 anglers with 4 Chinook kept and 1 Chinook released
Kalama boat: 25 anglers with 2 Chinook kept
Cowlitz boat: 24 anglers with 5 Chinook kept and 10 steelhead released
Longview boat: 41 with 1 Chinook kept
Cathlamet boat: No report
Private boats/bank: 11 anglers with 1 Chinook kept and 1 jack released

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 2 anglers with 7 sublegals and 1 oversize released
Longview bank: 1 angler with nothing
Longview boat: 3 anglers with 1 sublegal, 2 legals and 1 oversize released

Walleye:

Camas/Washougal boat: 8 anglers with 2 kept and 2 released

Get a Free NewsLetter Here

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (8-7-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Columbia River and Tributary Fishery Reports July 29-Aug. 4, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River:

July 29-31– No anglers sampled.

Aug 1-4 – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

FISHING HAS BEGUN AT BUOY 10, AT THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA, AND THAT’S WHERE BUZZ RAMSEY AND BILL MONROE JR. PICKED UP THIS NICE UPRIVER BRIGHT TROLLING AN ANCHOVY BEHIND A FISH FLASH. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream:

July 29-31– No anglers sampled.

Aug 1-4 – 1 bank angler had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br:

July 29-31– 7 bank rods kept 1 Chinook jack and 1 steelhead. 11 boats/25 rods kept 15 steelhead.

Aug 1-4 – 32 bank rods kept 2 steelhead and released 8 jack Chinook. 27 boats/79 rods kept 35 steelhead.

Tacoma Power employees recovered 228 summer-run steelhead adults, 67 spring Chinook adults, six spring Chinook jacks, 84 spring Chinook mini-jacks, one fall chinook adult, and one cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released nine spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released one spring Chinook adult and one spring Chinook jack at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood. They also released one fall Chinook adult at Gus Backstrom Park in Morton.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 579 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,110 cubic feet per second on Monday, Aug. 5. Water visibility is 15 feet and the water temperature is 45.9 F.

Kalama River:

July 29-31– No anglers sampled.

Aug 1-4 – 2 bank angler had no catch. 2 boats/3 rods had no catch.

Lewis River:

July 29-31– 5 bank rods had no catch. 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Aug 1-4 – 7 bank rods kept 2 steelhead and released 1 Chinook. 1 boat/2 rods released 1 steelhead.

Drano Lake: July 29-31– 10 bank rods had no catch. 30 boats/62 rods kept 11 steelhead and released 55 steelhead.
Aug 1-4 – 6 boats/14 rods kept 2 Chinook, 2 Chinook jacks, released 3 Chinook jacks and 4 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – No anglers sampled.

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond Date Species Number Fish/lb Hatchery

LK MERWIN (COWL) July 14, 2019 Rainbow 1,142 0.80 MERWIN

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 28, 2019 Rainbow 2,648 1.32 EELLS SPRINGS

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 24, 2019 Rainbow 2,786 1.39 EELLS SPRINGS

GOOSE LK (SKAM) July 18, 2019 Rainbow 1,644 2.30 GOLDENDALE

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam). http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 12 anglers with 5 steelhead released
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 4 angler with nothing
Vancouver bank: 59 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 8 steelhead released
Woodland bank: 30anglers with 2 steelhead released
Kalama bank: 58 anglers with 3 steelhead and 1 adult Chinook kept and 8 steelhead and 1 Chinook jack released
Cowlitz bank: No report
Longview bank: 87anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 8 steelhead released
Cathlamet bank: 17anglers with nothing
Private boats/bank: No report

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: No report
I-5 area boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 19 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Woodland boat: 6 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Kalama boat: 15 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat: 10 anglers with 2 steelhead and 1 Chinook jack released
Longview boat: 27 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 2 steelhead releasd
Cathlamet boat: No report
Private boats/bank: 10 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 7 steelhead released

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 2 anglers with 36 sublegals (really?) and 4 oversize released
Longview bank: 3 anglers with 1 legal released

Walleye:

Camas/Washougal: 7 anglers with nothing

Get a Free NewsLetter Here

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (7-31-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – 3 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 1 boat/2 rods released 1 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br – 19 bank rods kept 6 steelhead.  34 boats/80 rods kept 74 steelhead, released 1 steelhead and 1 Chinook jack.

BY CATCH STAT, COWLITZ STEELHEADERS ENJOYED SOME OF THE BEST FISHING OF THE SUMMER SO FAR, AVERAGING NEARLY A KEEPER A ROD IN LATE JULY. TRISTEN BROWN,THEN 7, CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE POPULAR SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON RIVER SEVERAL YEARS BACK. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Kalama River – 18 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 38 bank anglers released 2 Chinook and 2 Chinook jacks.  6 boats/19 rods kept 6 steelhead and released 4 Chinook.

Drano Lake – 3 bank rods had no catch.  21 boats/38 rods kept 13 steelhead and released 32 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway- 3 bank anglers had no catch.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).  http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport July 22-28, 2019

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 58 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook and 10 steelhead released
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 9 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 4 released
Vancouver bank: 44 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 2 released
Woodland bank: 60 anglers with 6 steelhead kept and 5 released
Kalama bank: 74 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 2 released
Longview bank: 133 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 7 released
Cathlamet bank: 18 anglers with 2 steelhead kept
Private boats/bank: 6 steelhead with 2 anglers kept

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 7 anglers with 2 steelhead released
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver boat: 11 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 1 released
Woodland boat: 3 anglers with 1 steelhead kept
Kalama boat: 16 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Cowlitz boat: 5 anglers with nothing
Longview boat: 10 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 1 released
Cathlamet boat: 10 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 2 released
Private boats/bank: No report

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 15 anglers with 9 sublegals, 1 legal and 1 oversize released

Walleye:
 
Camas/Washougal boat: 2 anglers with 2 released

Get a Free NewsLetter Here

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (7-24-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

During Saturday’s flight, 128 salmonid boats and 268 Washington bank anglers were counted from Cathlamet upstream to Bonneville Dam.

BRADY BRODERS BATTLED A STEELHEAD AT DRANO LAKE LAST SUMMER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries 

Elochoman River– 4 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 5 bank rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br – 55 bank rods kept 16 steelhead and released 8 Chinook jacks.  45 boats/133 rods kept 73 steelhead and released 1 steelhead, 1 Chinook and 1 Chinook jack.

Tacoma Power employees recovered 227 summer-run steelhead adults, 36 spring Chinook adults, three spring Chinook jacks, and 86 spring Chinook mini-jacks during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released four spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released six spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook mini-jack at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 319 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,440 cubic feet per second on Monday, July 22. Water visibility is 13 feet and the water temperature is 51.8 F.

Kalama River – 7 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 8 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  5 boats/9 rods released 3 steelhead.

Drano Lake – 2 bank anglers had no catch.  15 boats/23 rods kept 4 steelhead and released 21 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).  http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport July 15-21, 2019

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 15 anglers with 1 adult Chinook and 7 steelhead released
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 13 anglers with nothing
Vancouver bank: 33 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 4 released
Woodland bank: 58 anglers with 2 steelhead released
Kalama bank: 42 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 11 steelhead released
Cowlitz bank: No report
Longview bank: 201 anglers with 16 steelhead kept and 7 released
Cathlamet bank: 39 anglers with 2 steelhead released
Private boats/bank: 5 anglers with nothing

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 5 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 6 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Woodland boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 17 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview boat: 64 anglers with 11 steelhead kept and 14 steelhead released
Cathlamet boat: 21 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook and 5 steelhead released
Private boats/bank: 7 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 1 steelhead and 1 sockeye released

Shad:

No report

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 3 anglers released 5 sublegals

Walleye:

No report

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SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (7-18-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

During Saturday’s flight, 79 salmonid boats and 213 Washington bank anglers were counted from Cathlamet upstream to Bonneville Dam.

Shad:

Monday’s (7/15) count was just over 5,910 fish, which pushes the season total to 7.4 million shad passing Bonneville Dam.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 8 bank rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br – 30 bank rods kept 14 steelhead.  32 boats/93 rods kept 71 steelhead.

ANNA RUNYARD SHOWS OFF A COWLITZ SUMMER-RUN STEELHEAD CAUGHT IN 2014 DRIFT FISHING A CORKY AND YARN. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 20 spring Chinook adults, five spring Chinook jacks, 155 spring Chinook mini jacks, and 172 summer-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released three spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released one spring Chinook adult, and one spring Chinook jack at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 220 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,430 cubic feet per second on Monday, July 15. Water visibility is 15 feet and the water temperature is 52.5 F.

Kalama River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 9 bank anglers kept 2 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.  3 boats/7 rods kept 4 steelhead.

Drano Lake – 3 boats/5 rods kept 1 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway- No anglers sampled.

  •       Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).  http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport July 8-14

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 40 anglers with 9 steelhead, 1 adult Chinook, 1 jack Chinook and 3 “other”
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
I-5 area bank: 2 anglers with nothing
Vancouver bank: 20 anglers with 4 steelhead and 2 sockeye released
Woodland bank: 46 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Kalama bank: 42 anglers with 1 kept steelhead and 4 steelhead, 2 adult Chinook and 1 sockeye released
Longview bank: 166 anglers with 11 steelhead kept and 12 steelhead and 1 jack Chinook released
Cathlamet bank:  16 anglers with nothing
Private boats/bank: 5 anglers with nothing

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 3 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver boat: 9 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Woodland boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat: 7 anglers with 1 jack Chinook and 1 steelhead released
Longview boat: 38 anglers with 13 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook and 6 steelhead released
Cathlamet boat: 47 anglers with 16 steelhead kept and 6 steelhead and 1 sockeye released
Private boats/bank: 4 anglers with nothing

Shad:

Bonneville bank: 2 anglers with nothing

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 9 anglers with 14 sublegals released
Longview bank: 2 anglers with 2 sublegals and 1 legal released
Longview boat: 2 anglers with nothing

Walleye:

Vancouver boat: 4 anglers with 8 kept and 7 released

Get a Free NewsLetter Here

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (7-9-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

During Saturday’s flight 66 salmonid boats and 203 Washington bank anglers were counted from Cathlamet upstream to Bonneville Dam.

WHILE PLUNKING FOR STEELHEAD AROUND THE MOUTH OF THE COWLITZ HIGHLIGHTS THE CATCH IN THE LATEST WDFW SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON FISHING REPORT, HUNTER HIGGINBOTHAM LANDED THIS LANDLOCKED COHO A LITTLE HIGHER IN THE SYSTEM. HE WAS TROLLING AT RIFFE LAKE. “THE GEAR OF CHOICE WAS THE #000 FAST LIMIT DODGER IN THE GLO/PL COLOR TAG TEAMED WITH A TIGHT LINES KOKANEE RIG IN GLITTER PINK TIPPED WITH A SALAD SHRIMP COLORED UP WITH PRO-CURE’S BADAZZ PINK DYE AND BLOODY TUNA OIL. SPEEDS WERE FROM 1.2 TO 1.5MPH AND FISH CAME BETWEEN 40 TO 80 FEET,” REPORTED HUNTER’S DAD JAROD, WHO GAVE A NOD TO BILL HERZOG FOR TIPS ON THE FISHERY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Shad:

Sunday’s (6/30) count was just over 80,000 fish, which pushes the season total over 7.0 million shad passing Bonneville Dam.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries 

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 12 bank rods kept 1 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  12 bank rods kept 2 steelhead.  32 boats/108 rods kept 34 steelhead and released 1 steelhead, 2 Chinook and 2 jacks.

Kalama River – 11 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 16 bank anglers had no catch.  4 boats/9 rods kept 1 steelhead and released 5 jacks.

Wind River – 1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Drano Lake – 1 boat/1 rod released 1 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

 

  •       Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport July 1-7

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 11 anglers with 1 steelhead kept
Camas/Washougal bank: 0 anglers with nothing, obviously
I-5 area bank: 12 anglers with 1 steelhead released
Vancouver bank: 37 anglers with nothing
Woodland bank: 70 anglers with 5 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook and 4 steelhead released
Kalama bank: 81 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook, 5 steelhead and 1 sockeye released
Longview bank: 320 anglers with 28 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook, one jack Chinook, 11 steelhead and 2 sockeye released
Cathlamet bank: 45 anglers with 5 steelhead kept and 2 steelhead released
Private boats/bank: 5 anglers with 1 steelhead released

Bonneville boat: Nothing
Camas/Washougal boat: 5 anglers with 2 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook, 2 steelhead and 2 sockeye released
I-5 area boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 28 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook and 2 steelhead released
Woodland boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 19 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Longview boat: 63 anglers with 11 steelhead kept and 1 adult Chinook, 1 jack Chinook, 12 steelhead and 3 sockeye released
Cathlamet boat: 11 anglers with 5 steelhead kept and 1 steelhead released
Private boats/bank: 4 anglers with nothing

Shad:

Bonneville bank: 18 anglers with 38 kept and 3 released

Sturgeon:

Bonneville bank: No report
Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: No report
I-5 area bank: No report
I-5 area boat: 2 anglers with 5 sublegals and 1 legal released
Vancouver bank: No report
Vancouver boat: No report
Woodland bank: No report
Woodland boat: No report
Kalama bank: No report
Kalama boat: 6 anglers with 20 sublegals released
Cowlitz bank: No report
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview bank: No report
Longview boat: 2 anglers with 3 oversize released
Cathalmet bank: No report
Cathlamet boat: No report
Chinook/Elochoman bank: No report
Chinook/Elochoman boat: No report
Ilwaco bank: No report
Ilwaco boat: No report
Ilwaco charter: No report

Walleye:

No report

Get a Free NewsLetter Here

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (7-2-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

During Saturday’s flight 66 salmonid boats and 203 Washington bank anglers were counted from Cathlamet upstream to Bonneville Dam.

Shad:

Monday’s (7/1) count was just over 60,000 fish, which pushes the season total over 7.1 million shad passing Bonneville Dam.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 12 bank rods kept 1 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  12 bank rods kept 2 steelhead.  32 boats/108 rods kept 34 steelhead and released 1 steelhead, 2 Chinook and 2 jacks.

SOME STEELHEAD ARE BEING CAUGHT IN THE COLUMBIA AROUND LONGVIEW — WHERE JASON LUCAS AND ADAM DADDINO TEAMED UP TO LAND THIS ONE SEVERAL SEASONS AGO — BUT PRIMARILY FROM SHORE. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Tacoma Power employees recovered 22 spring Chinook adults, three spring Chinook jacks, 71 spring Chinook mini jacks, and 62 summer-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released five spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River located near Randle.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 130 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,970 cubic feet per second on Monday, July 1. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 50.8 F.

Kalama River – 11 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 16 bank anglers had no catch.  4 boats/9 rods kept 1 steelhead and released 5 jacks.

Wind River – 1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Drano Lake – 1 boat/1 rod released 1 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

 

  •       Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport June 24-30

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 12 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal bank: 1 angler with nothing
I-5 area bank: 23 anglers with 2 steelhead kept, and 1 steelhead and 2 sockeye released
Vancouver bank: 32 anglers with 1 adult Chinook and 1 sockeye released and 1 steelhead kept
Woodland bank: 14 anglers with nothing
Kalama bank: 17 anglers with 1 steelhead kept and 2 steelhead and 1 sockeye released
Longview bank: 140 anglers with 1 adult Chinook, 9 steelhead, 1 sockeye and 1 “other” fish released, and 26 steelhead kept
Cathlamet bank: 26 anglers with 1 jack Chinook and 1 steelhead released, and 3 steelhead kept
Private boats/bank: 11 anglers with 1 steelhead kept

Bonneville boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal boat: No report
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver boat: 4 anglers with 1 steelhead kept
Woodland boat: No report
Kalama boat: 5 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview boat: 19 anglers with 2 steelhead kept
Cathlamet boat: 12 anglers with 1 jack Chinook and 3 steelhead released and 10 steelhead kept
Private boats/bank: 6 anglers with 1 steelhead kept

Shad:

Bonneville bank: 76 anglers with 151 kept and 12 released
Bonneville boat: 9 anglers with 13 kept
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: No report
I-5 area bank: No report
I-5 area boat: No report
Vancouver bank: No report
Vancouver boat: No report
Woodland bank: No report
Woodland boat: No report
Kalama bank: No report
Kalama boat: No report
Cowlitz bank: No report
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview bank: No report
Longview boat: No report

Sturgeon:

Bonneville bank: No report
Bonneville boat:
Camas/Washougal bank: No report
Camas/Washougal boat:
I-5 area bank: No report
I-5 area boat:
Vancouver bank: No report
Vancouver boat:
Woodland bank: No report
Woodland boat:
Kalama bank: No report
Kalama boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz bank: No report
Cowlitz boat:
Longview bank: No report
Longview boat: 3 anglers with 6 sublegals and 6 oversize released
Cathalmet bank: No report
Cathlamet boat: No report
Chinook/Elochoman bank: No report
Chinook/Elochoman boat: No report
Ilwaco bank: No report
Ilwaco boat: No report
Ilwaco charter: No report

Walleye: No report

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SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (6-26-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport June 10-16

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 21 anglers with 1 adult Chinook released
Camas/Washougal bank:  No report
I-5 area bank:  7 anglers with 1 adult Chinook released
Vancouver bank:   34 anglers with 1 adult Chinook released
Woodland bank:   39 anglers with 1 adult Chinook, 1 steelhead and 1 sockeye released
Kalama bank:  33 anglers with nothing
Longview bank:  161 anglers with 12 steelhead kept and 2 released
Cathlamet bank: 68 anglers with 5 steelhead kept and 3 released
Private boats/bank:  7 anglers with nothing

ANGLERS ARE FINDING SOME STEELHEAD TO KEEP ON THE LOWER COLUMBIA IN THE LONGVIEW AREA, BUT ALSO RELEASING SOME OFF-LIMITS HATCHERY AND WILD SUMMER KINGS. AN UNCLIPPED CHINOOK HEADS BACK TO THE RIVER IN THIS JULY 2012 IMAGE. (CHRIS SPENCER)

Bonneville boat:  5 anglers with 1 adult Chinook and 2 steelhead released
Camas/Washougal boat:  5 anglers with 1 adult Chinook released and 1 steelhead kept
I-5 area boat: 3 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat:  6 anglers with nothing
Woodland boat: 5 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat:   6 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz boat:  No report
Longview boat:   72 anglers with 23 steelhead kept and 1 Chinook jack and 7 steelhead released
Cathlamet boat:  11 anglers with 4 steelhead kept and 4 steelhead released
Private boats/bank: 8 anglers with 2 steelhead kept

Shad:

Bonneville bank:  244 anglers with 1,136 kept and 57 released
Bonneville boat:  10 anglers with 68 kept
Camas/Washougal bank:  No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 2 anglers with nothing
I-5 area bank:No report
I-5 area boat:  No report
Vancouver bank:  No report
Vancouver boat:  3 anglers with nothing
Woodland bank: No report
Woodland boat:  No report
Kalama bank:  No report
Kalama boat:  2 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz bank: No report
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview bank: No report
Longview boat: No report

Sturgeon:

Bonneville bank: No report
Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal bank:  No report
Camas/Washougal boat:  2 anglers with 2 legals released
I-5 area bank:  No report
I-5 area boat:  3 anglers with 1 sublegal, 1 legal and 1 oversize released
Vancouver bank: No report
Vancouver boat:  No report
Woodland bank:  No report
Woodland boat: No report
Kalama bank:  No report
Kalama boat:  9 anglers with 43 sublegals, 2 legals and 3 oversize released
Cowlitz bank:  No report
Cowlitz boat: No report
Longview bank:  No report
Longview boat: 3 anglers with 12 legals and 1 oversize released
Cathalmet bank:  No report
Cathlamet boat:  No report
Chinook/Elochoman bank:  No report
Chinook/Elochoman boat:
Ilwaco bank:  No report
Ilwaco boat:  No report
Ilwaco charter:  No report

Walleye:

Camas/Washougal boat: 2 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 4 anglers with 4 kept and 2 released

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River mainstem

During Saturday’s flight 121 salmonid boats and 203 Washington bank anglers were counted from Cathlamet upstream to Bonneville Dam.

Shad:

Just over 150 shad anglers were counted on the Washington shore just below Bonneville Dam during Saturday’s flight (6/22).  Yesterday’s dam count was just over 133,000 fish, which pushes the season total over 6.5 million to date.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 5 bank rods kept 2 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  10 bank rods had no catch.  38 boats/110 rods kept 42 steelhead and released 1 Chinook and 3 jacks.

Tacoma Power employees recovered 17 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, 40 spring Chinook mini jacks, 19 summer-run steelhead adults and one winter-run steelhead adult during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released five spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 130 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,970 cubic feet per second on Monday, June 24. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 50.7 F.

Kalama River – 15 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 14 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/2 rods had no catch.

Wind River – 1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Drano Lake – 3 boats/9 rods had no catch.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 3 bank anglers had no catch.  3 boats/3 rods had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).  http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Lake Sammamish ‘Warm Water Test Fishery’ Netting Raises Questions

Lee Getzewich had heard that there was some gillnetting going on on Lake Sammamish, a water he’s fished for more than 25 years, and it gave him some pause.

But believing it to be just a “study,” the Issaquah resident decided to hit it earlier this month anyway.

A MUCKLESHOOT NET BOAT SITS MOORED TO A DOCK AT THE LAKE SAMMAMISH STATE PARK BOAT RAMP. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“What we love about it is that it is such a diverse and quality fishery,” Getzewich says of the 4,900-acre King County lake. “We regularly target warmwater species such as bass, crappie, and perch, but we also enjoy the great cutthroat trout fishing, particularly during colder weather.”

When fresh fish is on their menu, yellowbellies and sometimes specks are the target, but that midspring weekday morning, he and his neighbor planned to catch and release cutts and smallies.

“This time of year, when the trout are keying in on the smolts, we regularly catch 20 to 30 cutts in a day, some going over 25 inches,” Getzewich states. “Twenty-seven inches is the biggest I can recall.”

The plan was to cast into the pods of coho just released from the state salmon hatchery in hopes of catching cutthroat preying on the young fish, but after launching at Lake Sammamish State Park’s southeast corner boat ramp they saw nets being deployed off the mouth of Issaquah Creek.

AN ANGLER FISHES OFF THE MOUTH OF ISSAQUAH CREEK, PROBABLY FOR CUTTHROAT TROUT OR SMALLMOUTH BASS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Motoring over to learn more they began talking to the two-person crew. Getzewich says they were shown totes with the previous night’s catch.

“He held up and showed us a sucker fish about 1 pound, but I could see several smallmouth bass and what looked like small crappie in the bin,” Getzewich recalls.

The crew told them that the fish were all being kept so their stomach contents could be studied, and that they were just doing what they’d been told to by biologists.

Getzewich and his neighbor left and fished elsewhere on Sammamish. The day was slow, and they only caught a few small perch and saw some small bass in the shallows at the lake’s north end, where the slough forms.

Afterwards, though, he talked to a buddy with a fisheries degree about what he’d seen and now he isn’t so sure it can be considered a study.

“What I really want to know is, Why is this permitted? Who said this was OK? Why aren’t the people being kept in the loop about this? Where is our DFW?” asks Getzewich. “There is going to be a serious revolution amongst sportsmen if it keeps going.”

A FISHERMAN WATCHES HIS LINE FOR BITES AT LAKE SAMMAMISH STATE PARIK. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

ON A MISTY MAY FRIDAY MORNING I decided to go check out things on Sammamish for myself.

With my luck I figured that if any nets were in the water, they would be halfway down the lake, well out of my smartphone camera’s range, so I grabbed my big Nikon and a telephoto lens and headed for the state park.

I parked at Sunset Beach, near a long row of upturned picnic tables, then wandered out on the trail to the mouth of Issaquah Creek, where a wading angler stood in water midthigh high about 30 yards offshore, casting and retrieving a lure.

With his tackle box back on dry land, he kept a wary eye on what I was up to as I peered into the murk for buoys marking strings of nets, but the only ones to be seen were the floats delineating the swimming area. Over on the other end of the string, an angler sat fishing the edge of the lily pads.

Turning around I went back and struck up a conversation with a plunker set up next to a long since fallen cottonwood. He said he was fishing for cutthroat and as we talked some salmon smolts began breaking the surface of the little bay he was on.

He told me that earlier in the day he’d seen a couple larger fish swim by together, but wasn’t quite sure whether they were trout, bass or something else. More and more of the young fish started jumping and as I zoomed in, there were a couple big swirls among the pod.

The angler didn’t really have anything to say about the netting and seemed more focused on trying to catch the fish making those swirls, so as the mist turned to a light sprinkle I left him to it and drove over to the boat ramp.

BUOYS MARK THE EDGE OF THE SWIMMING AREA AT LAKE SAMMAMISH STATE PARK’S SUNSET BEACH. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

IT’S BEEN A LONG, LONG TIME SINCE I’VE USED this launch, though back when my dad lived in North Bend we’d put in his aluminum boat and fish it somewhat often.

I remember catching a really, really nice trout one time while we were anchored up just to the right of all the ramps. We ate that one as well as some bass we caught another time.

The last time I was on Sammamish was maybe 15 years or so ago with fellow F&H News staffer Jamie Parks. We hit the other southern corner that early spring day to fish for largemouth then zipped north to smallie waters, and on this morning three bassers were launching two boats.

Moored at the end of the leftmost dock was a net boat.

As he readied his craft, I asked the lone angler if he’d heard about the netting and after initially drawing a blank, he recalled fellow anglers mentioning some being dragged through the water.

The other two gents putting in were far more in tune with what’s been going on and they were not exactly happy about it.

As he swiped through pics on his phone of beautiful — and big — bronzebacks, Chris Senyohl, who operates a fly fishing guide service called Intrepid Anglers, told me that the nets had wiped out one of his best smallmouth spots.

His buddy said I’d just missed the net crew and that he’d seen them lift two largemouth out of their boat.

He said they’d been on the water every day during the work week, which is when he said he prefers to fish Sammamish.

HUNGRY PREDATORS GATHER AT THE SOUTH END OF LAKE SAMMAMISH IN SPRING TO SNARF DOWN JUST-RELEASED SALMON SMOLTS LIKE THESE COHO THAT SPILLED OUT OF THE BELLY OF A TROUT CAUGHT BY FAUSTINO RINCON. (FAUSTINO RINCON)

SLIGHTLY DAMP I CALLED IT A MORNING, drove past BMC West, where I worked for awhile after college loading lumber, fighting with customers over bent boards and drawing cartoons at the back gate, and headed in to my office.

I started working on this story on May 9, the day that the Muckleshoot Tribe sent out a notice showing they were intensifying their test fishery for warmwater species on Lake Sammamish and, coincidentally, the day that Lee Getzewich and his neighbor had fished there.

The notice showed that the effort could be expanded from two boats to three, with the maximum number of 3.75- to 6-inch-mesh gillnets tripling, from eight to up to 24.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that happened, but the regulation restated that the nets could be fished from 6 a.m. Monday until 6 p.m. Friday, by which time they’re to be removed for the weekend.

I left a voice mail on the Muckleshoot Fisheries department’s phone not long afterwards, but it hadn’t been returned as of Tuesday morning, May 28, so to figure out what’s going on, you have to zoom in on a couple different documents.

Probably the most important source of information is inside the LOAF — the 2019-20 List of Agreed Fisheries that was concurred to and signed on April 22 by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission coming out of the annual North of Falcon season-setting process.

The LOAF essentially lays out all of Western Washington’s salmon fisheries in salt- and freshwaters negotiated between the state and 20-plus tribes, and in the back are a number of appendixes.

Pages 83 to 85 detail what is termed the “2019-2020 Warm Water Test Fishery” to collect data whether a directed fishery on spinyrays in the Lake Washington watershed could be “commercially viable” while also avoiding impacts on Endangered Species Act-listed salmon and steelhead.

“Using large mesh gillnets will eliminate impacts on age-0 Chinook and any potential steelhead smolts migrating out to sea,” the project description states.

The Muckleshoots also state they want to “instrument” walleye they catch with acoustic receivers to see how much their range overlaps with outmigrating coho smolts to target those areas in the future.

Another document, the tribe’s 2016 watersheds report, adds context: “A recent tribal study found that fewer than 10% of coho smolts released from the Issaquah Hatchery survived their freshwater migration to Puget Sound. The Lake Washington basin’s miles of docks, bulkheads, rip-rap, warm water, and the many native and exotic fish predators favored by those degraded conditions are likely at fault.”

Their announcement that they were increasing netting efforts roughly coincided with this month’s release of millions of coho as well as Chinook smolts — the fish I saw jumping in the mist.

SALMON SMOLTS LEAP OUT OF THE LAKE, PERHAPS JUST HAPPY TO HAVE BEEN RELEASED FROM THE NEARBY ISSAQUAH HATCHERY OR MAYBE ATTEMPTING TO FLEE PREDATORY FISH. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

THIS IS THE THIRD YEAR THE MUCKLESHOOT test fishery has been going on — it initially included Lake Washington — and it follows 2015’s unexpected discovery of more than a dozen walleye, including an egg-dripping 13-pound hen and six males close by her.

To paraphrase a retired state fisheries manager, whomever recently put walleye (and then northern pike) in the system was no friend of fellow anglers who’ve chased warmwater species for decades, but the Muckleshoots are more blunt; they use the word “criminal” to describe the act.

Besides its many native stocks, crappie have been in the watershed the longest, in Lake Washington since at least 1890, followed by largemouth in 1918, and smallmouth there and in Sammamish since sometime in the 1960s, perhaps earlier.

Lake Washington is ranked as one of the top 100 bass lakes in the entire country by Bassmaster magazine, and is 16th best in the Western U.S.

Local clubs regularly hit it and according to WDFW tournament fishing records, the average bass landed there during the last 10 years weighed 2.22 pounds; the average on Sammamish was 2.31 pounds.

As popular as they’ve become, the times they are a’changing. The plight of the orcas and their primary food has put a target on the fins of spinyrays.

Earlier this month Gov. Jay Inslee signed Second Substitute House Bill 1579 which primarily — and finally — gives WDFW some actual teeth to protect shoreline habitat for Chinook and their forage fish.

It also contains a clause that the Fish and Wildlife Commission must now “liberalize bag limits for bass, walleye, and channel catfish in all anadromous waters of the state in order to reduce the predation risk to salmon smolts.”

The latter idea came out of the governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force’s recommendations last year and it echoes current regulations on the Columbia.

Limits were dropped on the three species in the big river system several years ago following pushing from federal fishery overseers.

How WDFW and the commission interpret “liberalize” and “anadromous” has yet to be determined (no limits? using SalmonScape?), but the bill goes into effect July 1 and will surely include Lakes Sammamish and Washington.

I’m no biologist, but my bet is that bass really don’t have much to fear from sport pursuit because of current support, Northwest anglers’ general preference for other fish on the table and conservation practices, and health advisories.

In other words, it’s a feel-good measure, though with more and more efforts throughout our region to supress or kill off nonnatives like lake trout, northern pike — even rainbow trout — this also feels like it could be a potential inflection point.

LAKE SAMMAMISH STRETCHES FOR 7 MILES FROM ITS NORTH END AT REDMOND TO ITS SOUTH AT ISSAQUAH, WHERE A SALMON HATCHERY RAISES AND RELEASES COHO AND CHINOOK FOR STATE AND TRIBAL FISHERIES. BUT THE SMOLTS MUST FIRST TRANSIT A LAKE FULL OF HUNGRY FISH. (JELSON25, WIKIMEDIA, CC 3.0)

ONE GROUP THAT ESSENTIALLY SUPPORTS the netting on Lake Sammamish is FISH, the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, a nonprofit that leads tours at WDFW’s most-visited production facility and does a lot of youth education with third- and fourth-grade students.

But the organization has also been moving into the realm of advocacy lately, said Larry Franks, its vice president and longtime salmon and steelhead angler.

“We’ve tried to identify things that benefit fish,” he said.

Franks, who retired from Boeing and also has a fisheries degree from the University of Washington, said that despite 2.5 million Chinook being released from the hatchery, last year saw a return of just 1,800 adults, or .07 percent survival.

Part of that is the productivity, or lack thereof, of the North Pacific, as well as harvest by all fleets, but primarily low smolt survival, just 8 to 10 percent from Issaquah to Shilshole Bay, outside the Lake Washington Ship Canal, he said.

“The deck is stacked against them. Our goal is to have better returns,” Franks said.

One problem, he said, is the increasingly narrow band of Lake Sammamish that salmon must swim through between too-warm surface waters and its anoxic depths.

The other is the predators that sit and wait in the zone for the smolts to swim through, then chow down.

Franks believes that the number of warmwater species in the lake and their populations have grown, and that that is impacting salmon outmigration and thus returns that are “dropping precipitously.”

“We’re of the position these are cause and effect, not correlation,” he said.

He acknowledges the growth of the state bass fishery and that smallmouth and largemouth anglers are every bit as dedicated as he is to chasing salmon. He believes that WDFW doesn’t want to piss off spinyray anglers either and is afraid to act — at least without more hard scientific data.

“It comes down to a choice: If you want to retain bass fishing, it’s going to be hopeless, in Larry’s opinion, to save Chinook,” Franks said.

A state staffer close to the situation didn’t want to be quoted for this story, but if official WDFW comments during its recently held Walleye Week on Facebook are any indication, they will be managing salmon and steelhead waters for salmon and steelhead first, and spinyrays where it makes the most sense.

(WDFW is also in the third year of a Lake Washington Ship Canal study to determine abundance and diets of smolt-eating fish there.)

Another option might be trucking Issaquah Hatchery’s smolts and Franks said experiments are ongoing. But anecdotally, it didn’t produce bigger returns last year, though more results are expected this year and next.

That leaves removing the predators, like the Muckleshoots are doing.

“We’re supportive of efforts that would increase the Chinook return,” said Franks.

ISSAQUAH CREEK ENTERS LAKE SAMMAMISH. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

AS FOR HOW MANY FISH ARE BEING GILLNETTED in Sammamish, the LOAF — that marine area by river by lake rundown of agreed-to fishing state and tribal seasons and constraints — contains a short statement that caught my eye.

It says that with “the potential for interaction with the public,” the Muckleshoots propose providing monthly reports on their test fishery, including gear used, where it was fished and for how long, to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

So I asked NOAA for that information, and a week and a half later a federal spokesperson provided me with summaries of catches in March and April for what are known as Zones 7 and 8, the northern and southern halves of the lake.

According to the figures, nearly 2,850 fish were caught and removed from the system during those two months, roughly 60 percent of which were native species, 40 percent nonnatives.

Just over 53.5 percent of the overall catch (1,525) was comprised of largescale suckers, a native fish, followed by introduced smallmouth bass (577) at 20 percent and fellow transplant black crappie (258) at 9 percent.

Other species caught include:

Northern pikeminnow (146), 5 percent, native
Brown bullhead (126), 4 percent, nonnative
Cutthroat trout (85), 3 percent, native
Largemouth bass (78), 3 percent, nonnative
Peamouth chub (24), 1 percent, native
Common carp (11), .4 percent, nonnative
Yellow perch (10), .3 percent, nonnative
Hatchery-origin Chinook (3), .1 percent, native
Mountain whitefish (3), .1 percent, native
Hatchery-origin coho (1), .03 percent, native
Rock bass (1), .03 percent, nonnative
Walleye (1), .03 percent, nonnative

No rainbow trout or natural-origin Chinook were caught, NOAA’s catch breakout shows.

Kokanee, which are at low levels in the lake but also a pelagic, or open-water, fish were not listed in the catch tally.

Under the terms of the test fishery, if three wild steelhead are netted, the effort will be shut down immediately. In the LOAF, the Muckleshoots state that there is a “very low to zero” chance of any turning up, and if one did, they suggest it would probably be a Green River stray.

Gillnetting is set to run through June 15, and I am interested to see what turns up in the catch during the final seven weeks of the program, what with the release of all those coho and Chinook smolts into the system — will the catch percentages change?

The test fishery is also scheduled to resume next January through April.

FEDERAL FISHERY OVERSEERS PROVIDED THIS TABLE SHOWING HOW MANY NATIVE AND NONNATIVE FISH WERE CAUGHT DURING WEEKLY GILLNETTING ON THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN HALVES OF LAKE SAMMAMISH. LARGESCALE SUCKERS DOMINATE THE CATCH, BUT SMALLMOUTH BASS COMPRISE A QUARTER TOO. (NOAA)

SOMETHING LARRY FRANKS SAID STUCK WITH me after our talk:

“It’s a thorny problem.”

Understatement of the century.

As a salmon angler, like many other Northwest sportsmen these days I’m howling that something, anything needs to be done about predators — be they sea lions, harbor seals, Caspian terns, cormorants or piscivorous fish — to get more smolts out and more adult fish back.

That means there’s no way I can support killing pikeminnows in the Columbia, northern pike everywhere in our region, birds at the mouth of the river, and pinnipeds at Bonneville and Willamette Falls without also giving the thumbs up to removing smolt-eating fish in Lake Sammamish.

At the same time, my inner spinyray angler is revolted by what feels like a targeted attack on a fish I like — I literally nearly went bankrupt trying to write a story inspired by catching a huge smallmouth on the Grande Ronde — one that’s widespread across the Northwest and is a great entry-level fish that’s easy to catch.

I’m all for hatcheries, but, holy sh*t, here’s a species that doesn’t require the world’s largest fish production infrastructure to perpetuate in perpetuity, plus they’re ready-made for climate change.

Yet as a Washington native, tell me why our fisheries have to be exactly like what you can already find in Michigan, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Quebec, Tennessee, Iowa, New Jersey, Minnesota, New York, Ontario, Missouri, the Dakotas, New England, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana? We’re not the Old Northwest, this is the Pacific Northwest, home of silver fish, not green ones, and proud of it.

Then again, I’ve also read my King of Fish: The Thousand Year Run of Salmon — with all the problems that our kings, silvers and steelies face, you tell me that smallies and their Midwestern and Southern cousins aren’t what’s going to come out of the other end of things here as the sole survivors.

The utter mess we have made of this region obliges us to do our best to fix it.

At what cost, pray tell?

So as you can tell, I’ve got mostly mixed feelings here.

I do, however, have a problem with the illegal release of walleye in Lakes Sammamish and Washington, and northern pike in the latter. Doing so was among the most asinine, destructive and disrespectful things perpetrated on the watershed since the Great Glacier smothered it. I’ll tar and feather the a@$hole bucket biologist(s) myself.

The comanagers aren’t talking, but I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that those crimes were among the tipping points that set their test fisheries in motion. And now everybody but the guilty are paying.

A BLUE HERON WAITS FOR PREY TO SWIM BY. MANY THINGS PREY ON LAKE SAMMAMISH’S SALMON. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

I’M DOUBTFUL THERE WILL BE A “COMMERCIALLY VIABLE” fishery for bass in Lake Sammamish or elsewhere in the system some day, but I could be wrong.

I just hope that the netting shows whether targeted removals of smolt predators at select times and places is worthwhile for increasing salmon survival and expanding harvest seasons — while also preserving native and nonnative fish and fisheries that aren’t going away any time soon.

I’m willing to put a nickel down that while introduced exotics like the bass do have an impact, it’s mostly limited to the two months or so that the young coho and Chinook are transiting the system, and that like over on Lake Washington with sockeye smolts, cutthroat and northern pikeminnow are the actual primary predators.

Again, I could be wrong, but I’d love to learn what is in the stomachs of the thousands of fish the Muckleshoots pull out of the lake this spring. I’d hate to see this all go to waste.

THE SOUTH END OF LAKE SAMMAMISH FROM POO POO POINT, THE TAKE-OFF SPOT FOR HANG GLIDERS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Rainbows And More To Catch On Eastside Trout Opener, Y-R Lakes

Washington’s big late April trout opener is just eight sleeps away and Westside lakes are sure to be packed.

While there may be fewer lowland lakes in Eastern Washington, it’s just as big doin’s as west of the crest, and not just for rainbows.

We checked in with a pair of state fisheries biologists to get their thoughts on how this year’s season will go in two of the best regions on the Eastside.

PHIL REICH HOLDS A NICE RAINBOW HE CAUGHT AT AN EASTERN WASHINGTON LAKE A COUPLE SPRINGS AGO. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

PERHAPS SOME OF THE BEST PROSPECTS can be found in Spokane-based biologist Randy Osborne’s district.

“I would guess that Badger is going to be one of the better trout lakes this spring,” he said about the upper Channeled Scablands lake which was rehabbed in 2015 and then restocked with a very heavy hand. “There’s a lot of fish there to be caught.”

“Williams Lake should fish good as well,” he adds. “West Medical – we killed that after last fall, but it will be stocked with a healthy dose of catchables and broodstock fish to get it going.”

Yellow perch are starting to cut into the productivity at Fish Lake near Cheney, but it still should fish “OK” this season, forecasts Osborne.

He also expects Clear Lake near Medical Lake to be consistent.

Osborne also has two year-round options: Lake Spokane/Long Lake, which has been producing good trout fishing this past winter and last year.

It also has walleye, and he encourages anglers to target them. “We’ve sampled some to 10 pounds.”

And Pacific Lake, north of Odessa, for rainbows.

“I went out there last year and it was crazy good,” says Osborne. “I was just sampling with rod and reel and in two hours caught 36 fish. They ranged from 14 to 17 inches. When the ice gets off, it should be good.”

A WILLIAMS LAKE ANGLER SHOWS OFF A WDFW STATEWIDE TROUT DERBY-TAGGED RAINBOW, CAUGHT ON LAST YEAR’S OPENER AT THE SPOKANE-AREA WATER. (WDFW)

YES, RAINBOWS GET A LOT OF ATTENTION, but they’re far from being the only fish to catch in spring, especially in the Okanogan.

That’s where Ryan Fortier is based, and he gave us his best bets for this season.

“Kokanee fishing has been gaining in popularity, with Alta and Conconully Lake being the two most popular and consistent fisheries,” the WDFW District 6 fisheries biologist says.

“The Alta pressure is getting a bit heavy, but Conconully can handle the larger crowds well. Patterson Lake near Winthrop has a good age-class coming up this year compared to the last five years. The other stocked lakes are Bonaparte, Spectacle and Conconully Reservoir. Palmer is not expected to have a fishery for another two more years.”

On the spinyray front, there are plenty of options too.

“Palmer, Leader, and Washburn Island Pond have been the most popular fisheries,” says Fortier. “There are lots of campers staying at the DNR campgrounds at Palmer and Leader who fish and swim on the lakes. Washburn Island was stocked with some largemouth two years ago and has produced some good sizes.”

But if your sights are set on trout, he has options for those too. He expected Pearrygin, Alta and the Conconullies to produce as usual at the opener last month, and that is likely to continue into May.

“Wannacut near Tonasket has produced the largest fish on average over the previous two summers,” he says.

Unfortunately, Fish Lake, not too far to the south, is “in need of a rehab” to get rid of overabundant bullheads, Fortier says.

It sounds like he expects quality trout waters like Aeneas, Blue, Chopaka and Davis to continue as they have, but there are two other lakes to start plugging into your radar.

“Buzzard (Loup Loup Pass) has been growing in popularity, and Campbell (Winthrop) has received low pressure despite better than usual sizes since the 2014 fires,” he hints.

Speaking of fires, Black Pine Lake high in the mountains west of Carlton was closed much of last summer due to wildfire activity, so it “should probably have some good carryovers for cutthroat when the snow clears in late May,” Fortier says.

And if you’re looking for something a little exotic that affords a chance to break a state record, you could do worse than Bonaparte Lake and its brook-brown hybrids.

SPRING IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TIMES TO CHECK OUT THE HIGHLAND LAKES OF EASTERN WASHINGTON. HERE’S THE VIEW DOWN ONTO BONAPARTE LAKE, WHERE THE SIZE OF TIGER TROUT BORDERS ON BEING “TALL TALES,” ACCORDING TO THE DISTRICT FISHERIES BIOLOGIST. THE STATE RECORD 18.49-POUND HYBRID CAME FROM HERE IN MAY 2015. (USFS)

“The tiger trout sizes reported in the lake have been bordering on tall tales,” says Fortier. “We will try to do a more intense survey this year to get an idea of what has changed and if the rumors are true.”

And don’t forget Lake Rufus Woods! It will be stocked with 22,000 2-plus-pound triploid trout between March and June, according to tribal managers’ plans.