SW Washington Fishing: New Fishing Pamphlet: The Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for 2017-18 will be available online and at license vendors around the state starting in late June. As always, WDFW will post changes to those rules on the Emergency Rules webpage.
Free Fishing Weekend: June 10-11 no license is required to fish in any waters open to fishing statewide. No vehicle access pass (which comes with a fishing license) or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by WDFW. This is a great time for experienced anglers to introduce friends or family to this great outdoor activity, or for those who used to fish to get back into the sport. All fishing regulations still apply during Free Fishing Weekend, so be sure to read the Washington Sport Fishing Rules.
Columbia River salmon: The summer salmon season begins June 16 as hefty upriver summer chinook salmon and sockeye salmon begin moving into the Columbia River in increasing numbers. Known as "June hogs," summer chinook can weigh 40 pounds or more, providing plenty of action for anglers throughout the river. Sockeye salmon are also great on the grill, but can be challenging to catch.
The fishery for both species runs through July 31 on the mainstem Columbia River from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge in Pasco.
According to the preseason forecast, approximately 63,100 summer chinook salmon will return to the Columbia River this year, down about one-third from 2016. Sockeye are also expected to return in lower numbers than last year (the fifth highest on record), but will still provide some good fishing opportunities. Shad, which can be taken without limits during the summer fishery, are crossing Bonneville Dam in larger numbers after a slow start in May.
Anglers can take a total of six salmonids, including two adult hatchery chinook, two adult sockeye, or one of each. Barbless hooks are required, and anglers must release any summer chinook with an intact adipose fin.
Summer steelhead restrictions: Hatchery steelhead also count toward daily salmonid limits, but fishery managers have proposed new restrictions on those runs due to poor returns anticipated this year. Washington and Oregon expect to announce new rules for summer steelhead fisheries prior to the June 16 opening.
Fishing the tributaries: Although returns of both spring chinook salmon and summer-run steelhead may be down this year, anglers still have a good chance to catch both species in tributaries flowing into the Columbia Rivers.
The Cowlitz and Kalama rivers are a good bet for springers below Bonneville Dam. The Lewis River also opens for spring chinook June 1 from the mouth upstream to the overhead powerlines below Merwin Dam. The limit there is one hatchery adult chinook per day.
As the spring chinook run winds down, summer-run steelhead will arrive to pick up the slack on the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, and Washougal rivers in June. Above the dam, the spotlight will be on Drano Lake and the Wind and Klickitat rivers. As on the mainstem Columbia, watch for emergency rules affecting the steelhead fishery.
Sturgeon: Starting June 5, anglers can catch and keep white sturgeon in the lower Columbia River for the first time in three years, thanks to the growing population of legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam. The fishery will be open for six days from the mouth of the river to the Wauna power lines (downstream from Longview) on the following schedule:
Monday, June 5; Wednesday, June 7; Saturday, June 10
Monday, June 12; Wednesday, June 14; Saturday, June 17
Anglers will not be allowed to retain sturgeon after 2 p.m. on any of those days.
Anglers will have a daily limit of one fish measuring 44 to 50 inches from its snout to the fork in its tail. An annual limit of two white sturgeon, regardless of where they are caught, will also be in effect.
In a separate action, both states also approved a one-day sturgeon fishery for Saturday, June 10 in the Bonneville Pool, where 229 fish are available for harvest under current harvest guidelines. The legal size limit for that fishery is 38 to 54 inches.
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 3 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.
Kokanee are biting at both Merwin sand Yale reservoirs on the Lewis.
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. Due to a road washout this past winter, Canyon Creek out of Chelatchie is not being planted this year. The catchable rainbow trout planned for the creek will instead be planted into some other lakes in the region.
Don't forget: Although "opening day" of the lowland lakes season has come and gone, WDFW's fishing derby goes on. Anglers who catch tagged fish in more than 20 lakes throughout the region can claim prizes ranging from fishing gear to gift cards offered by license dealers around the state.
Merwin Special Kids Day: Children with disabilities will have a chance to reel in some big trout during a special fishing event July 8 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.
Prior to the event, WDFW will plant the wheelchair-accessible hatchery waters with up to 3,000 trout ranging in size from one to four pounds. Volunteers will then serve as one-on-one fishing coaches, assisting youngsters throughout the day. The event is sponsored by WDFW and Pacific Power. For more information call (360) 225-4391.