In our region, anglers have an opportunity to tap into three fresh water fisheries at this time of year.
The most obvious fishing that is available is lake fishing, which opened recently. This fishery is still quite popular and anglers are taking home some nice trout. Actually, this fishery should remain strong for several weeks before we experience a decline. Lake Sylvia should get a boost of fish from time to time since it draws anglers for at least a couple reasons.
First of all, it is situated at a state park and campers would appreciate when fish are available to be caught. Secondly, it is a year-round fishery and therefore a steady plant of fish are needed to sustain this feature. It is probably one of our deepest lakes which can accommodate trout when summer temperatures warm lake water.
Next, anglers are currently pursuing sturgeon in the Chehalis River. This is a year-round fishery which gets a lot of attention in May.
Of course, there are some perimeters when it comes to retaining this species. There is a daily limit of one fish with size considerations. The minimum fork length is 38 inches and the maximum fork length is 54 inches. Sturgeon fishing on the Chehalis River is permitted 24 hours a day.
There are location restrictions regarding this fishery. Anglers need to consult with the fishing rules pamphlet to ascertain where it is legal to fish for sturgeon on the Chehalis.
Finally, some anglers are pursing spring Chinook salmon. Our nearest opportunity is once more in the Chehalis River. Again, anglers will need to confer with the regulations since this fishery is quite limited. It is limited in terms of fishing locations and the actual size of the run which ultimately affects productivity.
Most of the springer interests take anglers on a road trip. Some of the rivers to the north of us tend to yield fish for those making the trip. However, the bulk of the interest in spring Chinook lies to the south of our region.
The Cowlitz River is where many go to get a spring Chinook. There is favorable access as well as good boating opportunities when it comes to fishing this river. I might add that the crowds of people converge at the barrier dam and combat fishing can get a bit crazy in that location.
Anglers, with boats, prefer the Columbia River. This river accommodates the strongest run of springers. One must keep in mind, the Columbia River plays host to virtually every major river in central Oregon and Washington.
These rivers provide a home for salmon to spawn and therefore, the Columbia feeds these streams. At this time of year, it is not uncommon to find plunkers lining the banks of the Columbia and also, to experience reasonable boat traffic.
When fishing anywhere from Kalama downstream, anglers can expect to pick up fresh strong fish. I have a friend who landed a beauty at the mouth of the Cowlitz River. When equipped properly, it is a great fishery to get aligned with.
Bear in mind, all anglers 15 and older fishing salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River or its tributaries must have a Columbia River salmon and steelhead endorsement. This extra license will add some additional cost to your fishing overhead.