Recreational dipping for smelt in the Cowlitz River will be open from 6 a.m.-noon Feb. 7 and 14, part of an effort to gauge smelt population growth.
Fishery managers in Washington and Oregon on Wednesday approved the move, as well as a recreational fishery in Oregon’s Sandy River and a commerical fishery in the Columbia River. It is the second straight year limited dipping will be allowed because the species was listed in 2010 as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Each Cowlitz angler may keep 10 pounds of smelt per day, with no more than one day’s limit in possession. Ten pounds is about a quarter of a five-gallon bucket. No fishing license is required to dip for smelt in Washington.
In 2014, sport dippers caught an estimated 198,000 pounds of smelt in the Cowlitz during two days of good fishing in early March. The mainstem commercial fishery harvested an estimated 18,600 pounds of fish in February.
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SKYKOMISH: Poeple are catching steelhead now that river conditions have improved. Try using a pink jig under a float.
WYNOOCHEE: This river and others in the area are putting out good catches of steelhead, but be prepared to share the rivers with large crowds. Try side-drifting eggs or sand shrimp, or using a chartreuse jig under a float.
YAKIMA: The river has slowly been clearing this week, with the best clarity in the Cle Elum area. Looking for trout holding in slow-water pools. Nymphs will work best early in the day, but watch for midge hatches if the weather is warm enough.
HARTS: There have been few people fishing from the dock, and those using pink or yellow Power Eggs are catching some holdover rainbow trout weighing up to 2 pounds.
SPANAWAY: Dock anglers are catching some limits of rainbow trout, some measuring up to 18 inches long. Try using a worm and marshmallow on a 4-foot leader. Boat rentals are available at the boathouse.
NAHWATZEL: The action here, and at other area lakes, has been slow.
CLAMS: The current razor clam dig will run through Friday at various beaches. Here are the details: Saturday (Jan. 31), 4:32 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis; Sunday, 5:15 p.m., 0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks; Monday, 5:53 p.m., minus-0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors; Tuesday, 6:27 p.m., minus-0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors; Wednesday, 6:59 p.m., 0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors; Thursday, 7:30 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors; and Friday, 8 p.m., 0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors. Digging is best an hour or two before low tide.
NORTH SOUND: Anglers should note that salmon fishing in Marine Area 7 is now open Fridays-Sundays only. The reduction, and an earlier cut in the daily limit, are efforts by the state to keep the fishery open while reducing impacts on wild-chinook populations. The change means the Roche Harbor Salmon Derby will go ahead as planned beginning Thursday.
SOUTH SOUND: Salmon fishing in Marine Area 13 is producing some fish, but the vast majority are too small to be kept. Fox Island and Point Gibson are yielding some keeper fish. Fishing in Marine Area 11 (Tacoma) reopens Sunday.