HOOK AND FUR
By Bob Brown
After weeks of mediocre fishing, there are signs that fishing is on the upswing on the Cowlitz.
Although not red hot, there has been improvement. A recent sampling showed 20 bank anglers kept 19 mini-jack chinook and one cutthroat. Seventy-four boat anglers kept 43 steelhead and released one cutthroat. Shrimp and eggs, jig and bobber have been the baits of choice.
Joe Hymer, supervisory fish biologist for Pacific States Marine Fishery, said, “Fishing has not been as good as it should be, but it is improving and expected to get better.”
During July 15-19, Tacoma Power recovered 400 summer steelhead, 132 spring chinook, 29 jacks, 379 mini-jacks, two sockeye and one cutthroat during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Hatchery.
Elsewhere on the rivers:
• Anglers will see additional opportunities beginning Aug. 1. The Green, Kalama, Toutle (including the North Fork) and Washougal rivers open to fishing for salmon. Hatchery fall chinook and hatchery coho may be retained. On the Kalama and Washougal, stationary gear rules will no longer be in effect, and like last year, anglers will be allowed to retain up to six adult hatchery coho on all tributaries to the lower Columbia with hatchery programs. Also, Buoy 10 will open for chinook and hatchery coho Aug. 1 through Sept. 1.
• Locally, the Nisqually is not producing anything worth mentioning, but on the plus side, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Puyallup Tribe have finally come to terms on recreational fishing in the Puyallup River. Sport fishing on the upper portion of the Puyallup will get under way Aug. 1, while the lower stretch will open Aug. 16.
• Recreational fishing from the city of Puyallup outfall structure across the river from the junction of Freeman Road and North Levee Road upstream to the mouth of the White River will be open on the following dates: Aug. 1 through 10 and Aug. 12 through 31, and Sept. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28.
Recreational fishing from the 11th Street Bridge upstream to the outfall structure across the river from the junction of Freeman Road and North Levee Road will open on the following dates: Aug. 16-31 and Sept. 3-7, 11-14, 18-21 and 26-28.
• Developing orderly salmon fisheries where anglers and gill netters share narrow waterways, such as the Puyallup River, is always a difficult task, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for WDFW, who added, “The safety of everyone on the river is paramount. So opening the sport and treaty commercial fishers will be separated in August and September to ensure everyone has a safe and fair opportunity to catch salmon.The sport fishing timetable in August and September was consistent with the tribe’s proposal. However, further work in necessary to complete the fishing schedule for October through December.”
In all areas, anglers will have a daily limit of six salmon (minimum size 12 inches). Anglers may keep up to four adult salmon, of which only two my be any combination of chinook, coho and chum. All wild adult chinook must be released.
This job is a croc
Looking for a career change? Those who are might want to consider the job recently advertised by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The agency is looking for crocodile response agents. The job involves assisting in the capture of wayward crocs, coming to the aid when there are human-croc conflicts, and recovering croc carcasses, among other uncommon duties. Experience is preferred, but not required. The job pays $25 an hour.
According to Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman for the commission, the danger is minimal because the successful applicant will receive thorough training.