Fringed temps across the NW has caused winter steelhead to go into hibernation mode. Some fishing areas were shut down due to extreme weather conditions which is rare here in the NW. So what you are going to hear on this podcast a ton is cold water temps which cause the bite to be very slow.
Columbia River: Water temps have plummeted to the low 30’s and the catch rates for sturgeon have slowed way down. Lewis River: water visibility is green with 3-4 feet of visibility, very cold water with a few Scrappy Winter Steelhead being caught by the hatchery. However the wild winter steelhead catch rates are definitely higher than the hatchery fish. Probably the most effective method of fishing float and jigs.
Kalama River: low clear and COLD… that’s the word on the creek. There is a occasional hatchery brat caught but at the same time there is not many fisherman.
Cowlitz River: Slow, Slow, Slow… remember this time 5 years ago when there was still winter steelhead in this system? Well you can thank Tacoma Power for messing this system up by not funding WDFW trout hatchery. But the only ones to actually blame would be WDFW for not making TP uphold the mandate for this river system. There is a few strays still coming back and being caught. Water levels are higher as they are getting ready for this Big system starting to move in.
Chehalis River system: water levels are getting low clear and cold. There is a decent number of hatchery and wilds in this system. Probably you best bet for the south Olympic coast. But that will soon change as this is the last river to go out and last to come back in. Remember that the Chehalis River system has very limited bank access so you must have a boat to get around. Side drifting eggs cured in Zilla Bait got this Winter Steelhead. Check out Zilla Bait.
Humptulips River: a very low and clear river, however this is a few hatchery brats around but good numbers of wilds are here. Remember to check your Regs as to per river on what you can do.
Wynoochee River: Very cold and clear… this is the first time in over 15 years that I have not been on this river this time of the year. There is a few fish being caught but if you are looking for any numbers I would stay away. There is Big changes coming this next week for this and several other river systems.
Satsop River: it’s hard to believe that this river is not packed out. I went by the boat ramp the other day and it was empty. So that tells me there are no fish.
Make sure you look for Zilla Bait at the upcoming NW Sportsman shows.
Swanny is booking for those Scrappy winter steelhead on the Chehalis system.