& SW Washington Report
April 15, 2014
Steelhead fishing has been winding down and focus for many has been on the Spring Chinook run that has actually been off to a great start. We finally have had some decent water to fish them and we are catching a few. The Columbia river king season was extended last week and is fishing well and many of the tributaries are putting out fish. Good numbers of Spring Chinook have been crossing the Bonneville dam and fishing will only get better up above the dam at places like the Wind River and Drano lake areas where decent numbers of fish have been caught this last week. Trolling the area above the dam with herring, prawn spinners and plugs is best. The Mag Lip 4.5 wrapped with sardine will get you into good fish and is by far the best plug to use in both these areas. Colors vary but a the good old gold Double Trouble is hard to beat.
Cowlitz has a decent number of late winter steelhead around the Blue Creek and Barrier dam areas. Freedrifting small baits has been tops. Springer action has been decent in the same areas, herring, eggs and plugs are tops. Look for the area around Barrier to really start producing .
Here a couple fish from this last week. Looking to get out? I have a few days left open for Spring Chinook in May for both the Bonneville pool area which includes both Drano lake and Wind River as well as the Cowlitz river.
more info call Phil Stephens, Mystical
Legends Guide Service Call (206) 940-0052 or E-mail
Fishing remains pretty good with the odd day thrown in for good measure. Still a good number of steelhead around with springers showing in the mix. It's looking like we should have a pretty good season this year. Sidedrifting yarnies or eggs for the steelhead and backtrolling eggs, shrimp, and or herring or plugs will all work on the springers. I have a couple of days open for April and a few dates left for May.
Rob Sweem, R&K
(360) 481-0612 or Email
Here are some photos from the Columbia and the Cowlitz.
$150 will get you on the boat for a chance at the best eating salmon that swims!
Two people minimum, five people max.
Fishing For Fun Guide Service
Well we keep rolling through a very good steelhead season here in the cowlitz and we are still getting limits of dime bright fish. Now in the mix are more and more springers as well as a few early summerunns! Weve been primarlly sidedrifting eggs but over the next couple weeks well start backtrolling plugs or bait through the deeper holes targeting the tastiest fish in the northwest!!! The key to springers is a bit of patients and keep your gear/ bait clean as they are very smell oriented. Still have a few dates bail thru mid may!
Tails Guide Service
Cell 206-437-8766 or Email
Great fishing continues here in WA State.
Springers are being caught more and more consistently everyday now on The Columbia River and her tributaries. Unfortunately the river closed Monday at midnight. Cross your fingers and hope for an extention! If WDFW does extended I would expect very good fishing to be had on the Lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam.
Walleye have also turned on with this great weather. Banks Lake, The Columbia River, Moses Lake, & The Potholes Reservoir have all turned on. Trolling and jigging are the two top producers by far this time of year. Maybe think about releasing the BIG females you catch and kill and grill all the smaller ones, especially the males.
Don't forget The opening day of westside rainbow trout is right around the corner, opening day is the last Saturday in April. It's a Great day for all. I will be out on the water with a full report of the days events. Triploids, or bust!
I will be offering Walleye and/or Bass combo trips over East on The Potholes Reservoir starting on May
1st. Expect good action and nice weather. This is a great fishery if your looking to catch multiple fish, in multiple locations, with various tactics, all in the same day, on the same trip.
As of right now, My boat is still targeting winter run steelhead with the opportunity of catching a springer salmon. We are catching multiple fish everyday. Side drifting is my go to method right now. Eggs and prawns are putting fish in the box. My last open date for 2014 winter run steelhead is April 18th. Call me and let's get you into some of the below pictured action!
Bonner's FishON! Guide
Many are wondering what’s going on with our springer season. The projection this year was for 265,000 Upper Columbia spring Chinook to return. Usually, we see the majority of those fish in the end of March through the first of April. However, as of today only 1,374 have swam through Bonneville Dam. Anglers have taken that many, too.
While I’m not biologist, my opinion is the run is either late or there’s tons of fish in the river and they are just not moving, which explains the low counts of fish over the dam. Keep in mind, the season was supposed to close already. And, we’ve already gone through one extension, which means they’ve given us an extra week to catch the 10,500 spring Chinook allotted to anglers in the Columbia River from Bonneville to Buoy 10.
The question on everyone’s mind remains is the run going to materialize as forecasted or is the run just late? My thought is the run is just late. There’s a lot of fish in the river system right now, but they aren’t moving. The original season was from March 1 through April 7 when few fish were caught. Our current season runs April 7-14. Are they going to give us another extension? I believe there’s going to be another because there’s no way we can catch 8,000 Chinook between tomorrow and Monday.
To me, what’s going on is there’s a lot of fish in the river system right now. The numbers are in the river, and that’s my opinion, but the fish aren’t traveling fast to get upstream. Keep in mind, these fish come in the spring and don’t spawn until the fall, so they’ve been in no hurry to get upriver. I’m a firm believer that the fish are here and they are biting for those in tune with the fishery and are using the proper bait.
Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle out there right now is perception. People are chasing fishing reports too much, which often aren’t correct. They read that people aren’t catching fish so they don’t come. However, many of professional guides are getting their limits or near limits of spring Chinook everyday. There’s fish here, and lots of them, you just need to tune your techniques to catch them.
I’ve been doing the same thing daily since the season opened and have been successful by curing my herring with Pautzke Fire Brine. I prefer Natural and am curing my herring for 12 hours to ensure the brine does a sufficient job. Meanwhile, many others are using chartreuse and blue to generate success, but I would also make sure that you have red herring in your cooler. The key to catching springers is having good bait.
It’s also imperative that you have more than one color of herring. On sunny days you want natural or blue. Cloudy days you want chartreuse. On partly cloudy days you want red. This is because different colors show up in different light conditions and water temperatures.
This fishery is pretty simple. There’s no reason to make it difficult. You want to make sure that you follow the bottom. Your bait needs to be on the bottom, not suspended. Speed is not as important when it comes to springer fishing. The most important thing is that your bait is flirting with the bottom, at all times. Troll the bottom and you’ll have a chance to catch fish.
Tides do matter. The best chance to catch your fish is on the high slack and low slack, but there’s so many fish in the system right now I don’t think it matters as much.
Bill "Swanny" Swann: 206-755-1204
Swanny's Guided Fishing: www.swannysfishing.com
Saturday brought favorable water conditions, sunshine, and a good bite on the Cowlitz. Back-trolling diver and bait worked well for us. We also saw a few fish picked up free drifting as well. There are also a few Springers being picked up.
Saturday was a great Mother Daughter day.
I still have some openings available for April. Contact me if you are looking for a guide to take you on your next fishing trip.
Twisted Waters Guide Service
253-468-0610 : 360-894-7636
No report this week
Joe Princen Jr.
JP'S Guide Service
We had a blast Springer fishing on the Columbia River - great weather most days and the fish were top notch A++ quality!
Looking forward to the Wind River and Drano Lake starting tomorrow. With the dam counts at Bonneville over 1,000 - it should be red hot up there!
Call or text to get out 253-389-0359
The mighty Columbia cranked out a lot of spring chinook this past week! Monday, 4/14/14 was the last fishing day under the current rules but it will list likely reopen in May after run size updates. Keep an eye on that!
Until then, the Puget Sound has been producing some great chinook fishing and we will be offering that fishery through the end of April. Most of our chinook limits are coming from the saltwater. Inquire for details!
Cowlitz...we're seeing steady hatchery steelhead fishing and the occasional springer in the mix too. Side drifting with small yarnies or single ez egg with a touch of yarn is your go to technique for the steelhead. You'll catch just about everything on that setup but if you want to target the chinook more specifically, drag or back troll salmon eggs, or back troll and hover fish with herring.
Mark Coleman - Guide/Owner, All Rivers & Saltwater Charters
Team Guide Drift Boats