& SW Washington Report
April 22, 2014
Springers, Springers, Springers seems to be on everyone's mind these days. Fishing hasn't been too bad this last week and things are looking great for the rest of the season. A decent push of fish has hit the Columbia and tributaries and Chinook counts going over Bonneville dam continue to increase daily. The Wind River and Drano lake areas will be producing some decent numbers this next week for those trolling these two spots. Cowlitz continues to produce fish from the Barrier dam down to the Columbia. Trolling will be best at both Drano and the Wind with sardine wrapped Mag Lip plugs being the top producer. Trolling these plugs early in the morning are my go to method. Bait trolled behind a Big Als Fish Flash with either herring or prawns will catch a lot of fish at both these places, which one is best changes daily so bring both. The Cowlitz is pretty much a Back trolling game and most of the guys will fish baits, either eggs or herring behind a jet diver. We have been doing pretty good down stream of the Barrier dam while the bank guys are doing good throwing float and eggs at the dam.
Steelhead fishing is all but over anywhere on the Cowlitz other than the area around Blue Creek and the Barrier dam. The guys fishing from the bank have been doing really good for Steelhead in the channel that Blue Creek feeds. A few Summer Steelhead have shown up but they are for sure few and far between.The numbers of Summer Steel will build as we get closer to June.
We caught some great fish this last week and this next week should be even better as numbers of these great eating fish build.
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
Winter run steelhead continue to be caught daily on The Cowlitz River. Drifting yarn and/or bait has been the Top Producer of late. Springers are just that Springers..., Catch them one day and get skunked the next. The fish are there and they are building in numbers everyday. Back troll herring, prawn spinners, or wrapped plugs. Fish early and late for your best chance at a bite. Be patient and good things will come.
I have heard good early reports from Drano Lake, as well for you Springer fanatics.
I'm off to The Potholes Reservoir for the next month to target Walleye and Bass. A lot of people say Walleye are the best tasting fish in fresh water. Only way to find out is to try one for yourself. Contact me and we will catch you and your crew some walleye for a good old fashion fish fry! We can even do a Walleye shore lunch. Expect good action and a great relaxing day on the water. My open dates start May 1st and run through May 29th. We will also chase both large & smallmouth bass by request.
See you on the water and FishON!!!
Here are a few pics from my last week on Momma Cowlitz:
Bonner's FishON! Guide
With the Lower Columbia springer season behind us, anglers here in the Pacific Northwest are now focused on the Willamette River. Unfortunately, our season has started a little slow, but given the massive weather fluctuation we’ve seen the past few days this is no surprise.
I’m still expecting a great season on the Willy, meaning 62,000-63,000 fish should be showing back up anytime. I think the springers are still in the main stem of the Columbia River now and they aren’t moving very fast. There’s springers in the Willy right now, but not as many as we’d like to see. However, as the water temperatures down there warm those salmon will move into this system to find cooler water. That could happen within the next few days, on up to a week.
So far this season I think the size of our run is smaller than projected, but that doesn’t mean we should be disappointed that they aren’t coming because that could change tomorrow. I’m expecting lots of fish to arrive shortly. We still have a strong month of springers ahead of us.
Right now the water temperatures are staying cooler than normal. What that does is enable us to fish just about anything. The springers will show on herring, prawns and eggs. Basically, on the Lower Willamette we are trolling herring and prawns. However, at the upper end (by the falls) guys are back trolling and back bouncing eggs. Don’t get me wrong; as the fish get up towards the falls they still catch them on herring. Meanwhile, eggs seem to work better because they yield more scent, which is necessary because of the faster moving water.
The best way to troll is downstream with the most current so you can cover the most amount of water to find the most aggressive biters. Tides are important here. There’s always bites on the tide changes. Personally, I like the low slack and high slack. However, you don’t always get those. So by covering the most amount of water, and using multiple rods, you’ll have a better chance at catching more salmon.
Having good bait is extremely important. I use Pautzke Fire Brine, mostly Natural, Chartreuse and Blue, to brine my herring. I brine them for 12 hours in the fridge or on ice. It’s important to keep your bait cold and I can’t stress how vital it is to have good bait.
Moving upriver, when back trolling or back bouncing eggs slower presentation is critical. You want to go slower than the current speed. This is achieved via boat control. Basically, I want my FireCured eggs to milk and create the most amount of scent released. The more scent the better chance of a bite.
Editor’s Note: Bill “Swanny” Swann will be offering guiding springer trips on the Williamette through May 20th. Anglers are permitted two hatchery salmon per day. All wild fish must be released. For more info on Swanny’s guided fishing adventures please visit www.swannysfishing.com<http://www.swannysfishing.com>.
Bill "Swanny" Swann: 206-755-1204
Swanny's Guided Fishing: www.swannysfishing.com
The Cowlitz has been seeing some very interesting flow fluctuations. The Spring run Chinook have been showing up in better numbers and the Steelhead run seems to be slowing down just a little bit. We are going to switch to Springer fishing on the Cowlitz until the Summer run Steelhead start showing in good numbers. Good eggs back trolled have worked for us in the past for springers, as well as lures.
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