It’s too early for many winter steelhead to be in Southwest Washington tributaries, plus that fishery is a pittance of what is was a couple of decades ago.
The Cowlitz River used to be a big producer in December, but no more with the switch to a winter steelhead stock that peaks in March and April.
Streamflow at Mayfield Dam on Wednesday was 10,400 cubic feet per second, a typical winter level.
The flow on Wednesday at Ariel on the North Fork of the Lewis was a high 11,200 cubic feet per second. At Heisson on the East Fork of the Lewis, streamflow was 2,140 cubic feet per second. A flow of 1,100 to 1,400 cubic feet per second is ideal for floating the East Fork Lewis.
The Washougal was a moderately high 2,400 cubic feet per second at Hathaway Park on Wednesday. Flows of 1,500 to 1,900 cubic feet per second are better for fishing.
Although no catch numbers are available, there are several reports of decent kokanee fishing at Merwin Reservoir, especially considering the time of year.
Walleye catches remain exceptional in the upper end of The Dalles pool of the Columbia River.
Angler sampling from the Washington (WDFW) and Oregon (ODFW) departments of Fish and Wildlife:
Cowlitz — Two boaters with no catch; 68 bank rods with 11 adult coho, one jack coho and one steelhead kept plus two adult coho, one cutthroat trout and one chum salmon released. Five winter steelhead returned to the hatchery last week. (WDFW)
Coweeman — One bank rod with no catch. (WDFW)
Kalama — Nine boaters with one wild chinook released; 19 bank rods with two hatchery steelhead kept. (WDFW)
East Fork Lewis — Four bank rods with no catch. (WDFW)
Mid-Columbia — Bonneville pool, 11 boaters with one adult coho kept; three boaters with four oversize and 11 sublegal sturgeon released; two bank rods with eight sublegal sturgeon released. (ODFW)
• The Dalles pool, six boaters with one steelhead kept and six released; five bank rods with no catch; two boaters with one legal and two sublegal sturgeon released; 36 boaters with 262 walleye kept and 50 released. (ODFW)
• John Day pool, 21 boaters with 10 steelhead and one jack coho kept plus 15 steelhead released; 17 bank rods with one adult coho and four steelhead kept plus four steelhead released; 17 boaters with eight legal and 32 sublegal sturgeon released; three bank rods with no sturgeon; 46 boaters with 26 walleye kept and three released. (ODFW)