Before you go fishing Saturday, make sure you have a new license. The 2017-18 license year begins April 1. State officials remind people to allow a little more time for getting a license because the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has switched to a new licensing system. You can buy licenses online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, or at vendors around the state.
American: The action has been slow overall. People are catching a few rainbows by trolling Pop Gear trailed by a spinner and tipped with a nightcrawler.
Black: The state put 8,025 rainbow trout in the lake on Tuesday. Each fish weighed about 0.4 pounds.
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Bradley: The lake was stocked with 900 rainbow trout, with each fish weighing about 0.4 pounds.
Long: There were 7,200 rainbows placed in the lake Wednesday. The fish weighed about 0.45 pounds each.
Long’s Pond: The state put 1,740 trout in the lake, each weighing about 0.45 pounds.
Potholes: Walleye anglers have concentrated on Crab Creek or the channel along the west side of the high sand dunes. Bass anglers have focused on the sand dune area.
Seep lakes: All the lakes below O’Sullivan Dam and the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge lakes will open Saturday, except for Warden Lake, which opens April 29. Of the year-round lakes in the area, Upper Goose Lake has been the most productive, with people catching limits of 14- to 16-inch trout fairly quickly.
Spanaway: The lake was stocked with 7,900 rainbow trout on Tuesday and Wednesday, with each fish weighing about one-third of a pound.
Columbia: The spring chinook fishery on the lower river will run through April 10, instead of Thursday. Catch estimates show that Washington anglers have caught 24 upriver spring chinook salmon, a tiny fraction of the expected harvest of 6,905 upriver chinook through Thursday. Record-setting water flows have been making fishing dangerous, leading to the low catch numbers. The John Day Pool closed Thursday to the retention of sturgeon. Through March 25, there were 12 adult spring chinook counted at Bonneville Dam, the sixth-lowest total since at least 1938. River flows at Bonneville Dam are the highest since at least 1950.
Cowlitz: Steelhead anglers might want to consider the Cowlitz as a weekend option. Although the fishing got off to a slow start this season, the action lately has been good to very good. High water levels are making fishing more difficult for bank and boat anglers.
Skookumchuck: The steelhead fishing has been fair to good, especially near the hatchery. One angler reported having success with a white corkie and red yarn.
Yakima: River conditions are not ideal, with flows high for this time of year and visibility fairly low. Look for the trout holding in pockets of slow-moving water. There has been some dry fly action with skwala patterns, but nothing consistent.
Clams: A razor clam dig on morning low tides continues at Copalis and Mocrocks. Mocrocks will be open Saturday and Copalis will be open Sunday. Low tides are at 10:40 a.m. Saturday (minus 0.5 feet) and 11:39 a.m. Sunday (minus 0.1 feet).
North Sound: Mid-Channel Bank remains a good location for hooking chinook salmon. Look for fish in water 180-220 feet deep. Flashers trailed by 3 1/2-inch spoons on a long leader have been an effective setup. Possession Bar remains another option.
South Sound: Fishing success has been low in large part because there have been few people on the water thanks to the lousy weather. People trolling a flasher with a spoon or artificial squid are hooking some fish between the slag pile and Owen Beach.
Contributors: State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Red’s Fly Shop, Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center, salmonuniversity.com, Art Tachell at Point Defiance Boathouse, Annie Meseberg at MarDon Resort, northwestfishingreports.com.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640