River anglers handling high water

11:45 am April 8th, 2014

By Bob Brown
During winter and early-spring, high flows and off-colored water are common realities in western Washington Rivers. For novice fishermen, those conditions can be quite intimidating and usually curtail any thoughts of fishing. However, to knowledgeable and experienced anglers, those conditions are looked upon as challenges to be overcome, and that seems to have been the case on the Cowlitz during the week March 17- 23. Flows that week ranged between 10,000 and 12,000 cubic feet per second with a visibility of about six feet. As it turned out, fishing was better than expected.
Fish samplers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife tallied 161 boat anglers with 115 steelhead kept and three released. One hundred and twenty-two bank anglers kept three chinook; released one and kept 25 steelhead and released two. Boat anglers were mainly catching fish by the trout hatchery, while the bank angler catch was spread out throughout the river. During that week 335 winter steelhead and one spring chinook were recovered at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery
Jarrod Ligh of 4 Corners Store in Castle Rock said salmon fishing has been pretty good in the lower river, and everything thing seems to be working with regards to bait. The bite has been on as long as water levels continue to be decent. Ligh’s statement goes along with Karen Glaser of Barrier Dam Campground, who said a lot of anglers are targeting steelhead and doing quite well using mostly sand shrimp. Late afternoon has been the best bite period.

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