SW Washington Fishing: Spring chinook salmon: The lower Columbia River will be open to fishing for spring chinook salmon on a daily basis June 3-15, or until the harvest guideline is met for the 2016 season. The extension, approved by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon, was designed to dovetail with the summer salmon season, which gets underway June 16.
Waters open to spring chinook fishing stretch from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Beacon Rock for boat anglers, with bank fishing allowed up to the deadline below the dam.
Anglers are limited to one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two adult fish. The fishery for hatchery steelhead will also be open concurrent with the salmon fishery. Any chinook or steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed. All sockeye salmon incepted before June 16 must also be released.
This year's fishing season is based on a projected return of 180,000 upriver adult spring chinook and an annual catch guideline of 10,370 fish below Bonneville Dam.
Summer chinook salmon: Starting June 16, the summer salmon season picks up where the spring chinook season left off as summer chinook and sockeye salmon begin moving up the Columbia River.
Known as "June hogs," summer chinook can weigh 40 pounds or more, providing plenty of action for anglers on their way to hatcheries in the upper Columbia. Sockeye salmon are great on the grill, but can be challenging to catch.
The preseason forecast for summer chinook is 93,300 fish. By comparison, last year's preseason forecast was 73,000 fish, with an actual return of 126,900.
Only about 101,600 sockeye are expected to return this year, compared to a preseason forecast of 394,000 fish in 2015. Last year's actual sockeye return was 512,500 fish, the third largest on record.
Fishing the tributaries: The Cowlitz and Kalama rivers are the best bet to catch springers below Bonneville Dam. The upper Klickitat River is the place to be above the dam. And as spring chinook returns fade, summer-run steelhead will arrive to pick up the slack. Fishing for summer-run steelhead should be good on the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, Washougal and Klickitat rivers in June.
Anglers fishing the Cowlitz River from the Lexington (Sparks) Road Bridge upstream to the barrier dam may use barbed hooks for salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout in June and July. Anglers with a two-pole endorsement may also use two poles in that stretch of the Cowlitz year-round.
Sturgeon: Anglers fishing the Bonneville Pool can catch and keep white sturgeon Saturday, June 18, with a second day of retention fishing scheduled July 1. Only legal-size sturgeon measuring 38 to 54 inches from the fork of their tail to the tip of their snout may be retained.
Shad: June is prime time to catch shad, the largest member of the herring family. Weighing up to 8 pounds apiece, millions of them have begun moving up the Columbia River. They're fairly easy to catch and there are no catch limits.
Trout: Anglers looking to catch trout should check the region's trout stocking schedule for good spots to go in June. Klineline Pond, Rowland Lake and Spearfish Lake are some of the waters scheduled to receive fish this month. Swift Reservoir in Skamania County opens June 4, and fishing should be very good. WDFW is planting 45,000 catchable-size rainbow trout for the June opener, but anglers are required to release any wild steelhead and bull trout they intercept. An additional 2,500 extra catchable rainbows are also being planted for June into the Swift Power Canal, which is currently open.
Access to the high lakes in Southwest Washington is slowly opening as the snow pack receeds. Goose Lake in Skamania County will be planted soon with thousands of catchable-size rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout. Excellent fishing should be available both shore and boat anglers.
Merwin Special Kids Day: Children with disabilities will have a chance to reel in some big trout during a special fishing event July 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Merwin Fish Hatchery, east of Woodland. Sponsors of this year's event will be pre-registering participants through June 30 at 1-800-899-4421.