Some noteworthy locations are the Bachelor Island area, below the I-5 Bridge, and Cathlamet and Kalama areas.
The old saying is that if the dogwood trees are blooming then its prime time to hit the Lower Columbia River for spring chinook fishing.
The migration has finally started to ramp up for spring chinook, and the lower river below Bonneville reopens Thursday through Sunday for hatchery-marked fish.
“It has gotten better and it is definitely time to go, with the lower and upper sections of (Lower Columbia) as the two best spots,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “It looks like anglers have figured out how to catch them, and the fish have moved out in water 15 to 25 feet deep. Some of the fish are in suspended water and folks using divers were catching them.”
Some noteworthy locations are the Bachelor Island area, below the I-5 Bridge, and Cathlamet and Kalama areas. The water level still remains fairly high and cold.
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From April 13-17, 11,957 angler trips made on Lower Columbia caught 2,264 spring chinook (2,029 were kept) and 59 steelhead (36 were kept). Based on visual sampling, the upriver spring chinook comprised of 70 percent of the kept catch.
The number of spring chinook counted at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder continues to increase, with 581 fish counted through Monday although it was still the second lowest on record since 1939. The record low was 205 fish through April 16 of 2006.
“The good news is evidence points to fish in the lower river based on sport catches as well as good commercial test fishing catches,” Hymer said. “It looks like the fish are just slow to go upstream.”
State fishery managers will meet on April 26 to discuss spring chinook run updates and any possibility of reopening the Lower Columbia sport fishery.
Many anglers are gearing up for statewide lowland lakes trout opener this weekend. For tips on where to go, read www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/get-ready-to-fish-opening-day-coming-up/.
Meanwhile, others are waiting with bated breath for the next round of razor clam digs, which will be announced Tuesday.
If approved, digging will be open during morning low tides on Wednesday at Twin Harbors and Long Beach (low tide is minus-1.1 feet at 7:09 a.m.); April 27 at Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Long Beach (-1.5 at 7:55 a.m.); April 28 at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Long Beach (-1.8 at 8:42 a.m.); April 29 at Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Long Beach (-1.7 at 9:32 a.m.); April 30 at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Long Beach (-1.3 at 10:24 a.m.); and May 1 at Long Beach (-0.8 at 11:20 a.m.).
On the marine salmon fishing front, the San Juan Islands (Marine Catch Area 7) will close after Friday, which is nine days sooner than expected. State fisheries indicates the allowable chinook catch guideline will be achieved. Salmon fishing remains open in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sekiu (5); east side of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2); south-central Puget Sound (11); Hood Canal (12); and southern Puget Sound (13).
|Marine areas||Stanwood Eagles Blackmouth Derby on Camano Island is this weekend (425-308-9437). Bottom-fishing is very good for black rockfish and lingcod. Ilwaco, Westport and La Push are open until Oct. 21; and Neah Bay is open until Oct. 21 except lingcod fishery is open until Oct. 15. Eastern Strait off Port Angeles and northern Puget Sound are closed for salmon.|
|Biting: YesRating: ★★|
|Statewide rivers||Fair for steelhead and spring chinook on Cowlitz. Fair for steelhead and spring chinook on Kalama where the spring chinook return is living up to preseason expectations. The Highway 14 Bridge and Drano Lake are open for hatchery chinook and steelhead, but remain spotty. Slow to fair for steelhead in Bogachiel, Calawah and Sol Duc (all open through April 30). Lower Yakima opens for hatchery spring chinook on April 28.|
|Biting: YesRating: ★★|
|Statewide lakes||Beat the opening day madness and head to open lakes recently planted with trout: King County, Meridian, 600; Snohomish, Flowing, 3,700; and Tye, 1,700; Kitsap, Kitsap, 300; Pierce, Bradley, 107; and Tanwax, 2,000; Thurston, Deep, 107; and St. Clair, 2,496; Thurston, Long, 4,300; Clark, Klineline, 2,500; and Battle Ground, 2,500; Cowlitz, Kress, 1,755; and Sacajawea, 1,755; Skamania, Tunnel, 2,000; and Lewis, Lewis Park Pond, 1,840. In central Washington, the Colville Tribes planted 55,000 trout in Rufus Woods Reservoir. In the greater Seattle area, lakes planted last month with trout were Angle, Green, Morton, Alice, Beaver, Rattlesnake and Louise. Slow to fair for cutthroat in Lake Washington. Fair for kokanee in Lake Roosevelt. Good for lake trout and kokanee in Lake Chelan.|
|Biting: YesRating: ★★★|