The spring-time fishing options are wide and varied, and each will likely provide fairly good results.

Share story

The springtime fishing options are wide and varied, and each will likely provide fairly good results.

The Columbia River mainstem below and above Bonneville Dam reopens for hatchery-marked spring chinook Friday through Sunday. There is a fish-sanctuary closure around the mouth of Lewis River.

“There should be some fish in the lower river, and the best catches will likely be up toward Bonneville and from the Cowlitz downstream,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist who points out the in-season run-size assessment is catching up to the 10-year average.

Spring chinook counts at Bonneville Dam are: 1,452 on Tuesday; 1,793 on Monday; 4,058 on Sunday; and 4,456 on Saturday. So far, the total count is 97,011.

Elsewhere, the tributaries of the Columbia continue to produce good catches of spring chinook in Drano Lake, Wind River and Cowlitz River. The boat angler catch rate at Wind and Drano was about one spring chinook per 3.5 rods. Bank anglers were doing well and sometimes better than the boats.

“The daily bag limit at Drano Lake will go up to four adult fish beginning Sunday, and fishing has been good at times,” Hymer said. “A lot depends on which way the wind is blowing. They say when it’s blowing out of the east you catch the least. With no wind it has been pretty darn good.”

In marine areas, the halibut fishery in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca was hampered by gusty winds and extreme low tides, but look for improved action when it reopens Thursday through Saturday. The final inner-waterway halibut opener is May 26-29.

“It was a tough fishing show (during this past Saturday’s opener), and at places like the John Wayne Marina (in Sequim) we saw almost twice as many boats turn out than we normally have,” said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife checker in the Strait.

While success may have been down in general, a good check was seen at Olson’s Resort in Sekiu where 64 boats with 191 anglers on Saturday kept 89 halibut, including one that weighed 109 pounds.

“I heard of some that weighed 60 pounds in the Port Angeles area, and there was a 109-pound halibut landed at Sekiu,” Bennett said.

More western Washington lakes were planted on May 2-4 with catchable-sized trout averaging 11 inches, and some received bonus plants of fish averaging 1.5 pounds for anglers looking to catch the “big one.”

Trout plantings

King County: Alice Lake was planted with 1,415 trout; Meridian, 4,200; and Star, 2,800. In Snohomish County, Ballinger, 2,002; Blackmans, 2,036; Chain, 1,208; Flowing, 3,550; Gissburg South, 1,100 plus 148 1.5 pound trout; Gissburg North, 495; Shoecraft, 2,016; Martha, 3,000; Silver, 2,025; and Tye, 2,500.

• Pierce County: Bay, 4,600; and Clear, 5,800. In Skagit County, Clear, 328 1.5 pound trout. In Thurston County, Clear, 4,800; Hicks, 3,775; Long, 1,030; Longs Pond, 1,570; McIntosh, 4,500 plus 299 1.5 pound trout; Offutt, 150.

Whatcom County: Terrell, 656 1.5 pound trout; Squalicum, 123 1.5 pound trout; and Summit, 5,010. In Mason County, Island, 180 1.5 pound trout. In Jefferson County, Leland, 4,030; and Teal, 25 1.5 pound trout. In Kitsap County, Mission, 875 plus 139 1.5 pound trout; and Wildcat, 1,900 plus 201 1.5 pound trout.

Fishing Report
Location  Comment
Marine areas The halibut fishery last Saturday at Neah Bay and La Push was tough due to bad weather, and are open Thursday and Saturday. Westport halibut catches were so good on Tuesday that the offshore fishery has closed sooner than expected, but the inshore fishery remains open. At Ilwaco, halibut fishing is allowed each week from Thursdays to Sundays only. Lingcod and black rockfish fishery in the ocean off Westport, Ilwaco, La Push and Neah Bay remains excellent with charter boats catching limits of both fish. Slow to fair for lingcod off Possession Bar on the south side of Whidbey Island; along the breakwaters at Elliott Bay, Shilshole and Edmonds marinas; Point Evans; south of Hat Island; southeast of Alki Point near the green buoys; and Toliva Shoals. Lingcod fishing is open through June 15 from Sekiu to Port Angeles, San Juan Islands and all of Puget Sound (closed in Hood Canal). Razor clam digging is allowed at Mocrocks on Thursday until noon, and more digs are tentatively planned on May 20-22 at Mocrocks, and May 20-21 at Copalis. Final approval will be made once marine toxin test results show clams are safe to eat.
Biting: YesRating: ★★★  
Statewide rivers The Icicle River opens Monday until further notice for spring chinook. Fair for steelhead and spring chinook in Kalama. Slow for spring chinook in Yakima. Good for walleye and bass in The Dalles Pool and John Day Pool of Columbia River. Spring chinook fishing was fair to good on Willamette in Oregon. Steelhead fishing is closed on the northern coast in Calawah, Bogachiel, Sol Duc and Hoh, but spring chinook remains open on Sol Duc.
Biting: YesRating: ★★  
Statewide lakes

Fair to good for trout at Pine, Cottage, Wilderness, Green, Deer, Cain, Bosworth, Margaret, American (planted with a whopping 30,000 trout on April 16), Bitter, Lone, Cranberry, Mineral, Geneva, Serene, Rattlesnake, Riley North and Stickney. In Lewis County, Fort Borst Pond was planted with 2,080 trout on May 2. In Grays Harbor County, Duck was planted last week with 2,200 trout. Good for walleye, bass and perch in Potholes Reservoir. Fair to good for lake trout and kokanee in Lake Chelan. Good at Lake Roosevelt for kokanee and trout. Lakes closed to all fishing due to the salmon season impasse include Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish in King County; Monte Cristo Lake in Snohomish County; Lake Cushman in Mason County; and Barney Lake in Skagit County.

Biting: YesRating: ★★★