SW Washington Fishing: Trout: A number of lakes will close to trout fishing in late February, so now is the time to catch some trout if the spirit moves you. To support the winter fishery, WDFW recently planted catchable-size rainbow trout in lakes around the region. Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake are the frontrunners in the harvest of those fish, although Kress Lake is also producing some nice catches
Meanwhile, Merwin Reservoir has been giving up a lot of good-size kokanee. Due to recent rains, the reservoir has been touch-and-go in terms of clarity, so make sure you check on water conditions before you go.
Winter steelhead: Fishing has generally been slow on Columbia River tributaries. The daily limit for adult steelhead on most area rivers is three marked hatchery fish. Barbless hooks are required, and any steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released. In addition, anglers must keep the first three hatchery steelhead they catch.
Sturgeon: Anglers have a limited number of days to catch and keep white sturgeon on the Columbia River this month. The retention fishery is set to close effective Feb. 4 from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam. Retention fishing will also end Feb. 12 from the John Day Dam to McNary Dam. Those and other waters of the Columbia will remain open for catch-and-release fishing.
Smelt: State fishery managers have delayed setting a recreational smelt-fishing season on the Cowlitz River until they can better gauge the size of this years run. Current projections indicate that the 2018 run will be smaller than last years run, but a limited gillnet research survey scheduled this month could show otherwise. If commercial catch figures average 250 pounds per delivery, fishery managers may consider opening a recreational fishery.
Spring chinook: The fishery is now open below the Interstate 5 Bridge, with a daily limit of two hatchery adult chinook per day. Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon will meet Feb. 21 to set the fishing season after March, when the fishery really comes alive. Now is a good time to dust off your gear, order your bait, prepare your boat, and maybe do a little prospecting, said Joe Hymer, a WDFW fish biologist.
Kalama boat launch: Anglers should be aware that the Port of Kalama will begin a major renovation project at the marina this month that will eventually affect use of the facility. The port expects to close the boat launch and fuel dock from mid-April until the end of May.
Warmwater fish: The bite is picking up for walleye preparing to spawn in The Dalles and John Day pools. Lake Sacajawea has been producing some nice panfish, and Silver Lake is doing great for yellow perch east of the WDFW boat launch.