The time between Christmas and New Year’s Day often kicks off some of the best winter steelhead fishing in Southwest Washington.
Water flows were a bit high, but not awful on Wednesday thanks to a low freezing level.
The East Fork of the Lewis River was flowing at 1,720 cubic feet per second on Wednesday afternoon.
The Washougal was a bit high at about 2,200 cubic feet per second. At Ariel, the North Fork of the Lewis was flowing 9,790 cubic feet per second, compared to an average of 7,100.
Winter steelhead returns are behind 2011’s pace.
At the North Fork of the Lewis River traps, 113 fish were back compared to 294 at the about the same date a year ago. At Cowlitz Trout Hatchery, the return of 299 compared to 823 a year ago.
The return at Skamania Hatchery on the Washougal River was 136 winter steelhead compared to 155 a year ago.
Cowlitz — Fifty boaters with 17 steelhead kept and one released; 145 bank rods with 29 steelhead kept and six released. (WDFW)
Kalama — Eighty bank rods with two steelhead kept plus three steelhead and two coho adults released; nine boaters with no catch. (WDFW)
Lewis — Thirty-six bank rods and five boaters with no catch. (WDFW)
North Fork Lewis — Sixteen boaters with three adult fall chinook and one steelhead kept plus one adult chinook and one cutthroat trout released; 57 bank rods with eight steelhead kept plus four steelhead and two adult coho released. (WDFW)
Washougal — Sixty bank rods with one steelhead kept and four released; 58 boaters with three steelhead kept and five released. (WDFW)