Steelhead fishing although closed in all the local rivers and a handful of the coastal systems remains open in many of the Olympic Peninsula Rivers as well as the Cowlitz River. Fishing has been fair on the Cowlitz with a few fish being caught here and there with that being said the quality of the fish has been impressive with reports of 12-18lb hatchery steelhead in the mix. Anglers that have been having success have been side drifting beads as well as bait.
The Olympic Peninsula rivers have been fishing a little bit better than the Cowlitz with a handful of nice natives being caught through a variety of systems. Some late hatchery fish still remain but the closer we get to spring the more the hatchery steelhead dwindle and the native steelhead increase. Popular techniques for the people fishing the Olympic Peninsula rivers have been fishing a WFO worm in a variety of sizes and colors either drift fished or fished on a jig head under a float. Bead fishing has become increasingly popular on the Peninsula now with BNR soft beads being a very popular choice as well as hard beads such as steelhead beads. Those who prefer to fish hardware can do that as well casting around spoons to try and tempt the aggressive nature of the steelhead!
Blackmouth fishing is open in all local areas now and the fishing has been good. The San Juan Islands has been the best producer for not only numbers but size as well. Blackmouth in the San Juans have been caught up to 19+lbs in the recent derbies. Fishing in the rest of the sound has been decent as of late, those that have been able to find the bait balls have been able to scratch out a fish here and there. The top producing lures have been coho killers in herring aide, white lightning and cookies and cream. Kingfisher 2.5″ and 3″ in the same colors have been producing fish as well! Tomic plugs in color 602 and 603 are a great producer to upsizing your catch and reducing your amount of undersized fish. If fishing lures isn’t your preference fishing a red label herring is a great way to match the bait the Blackmouth forage on and catch a few to fill your freezer!
Kokanee fishing has been great around the state with plenty of anglers focusing their attention on the Eastern Washington fisheries of Lake Chelan and Lake Roosevelt. Anglers fishing those lakes have been fishing dodgers such as the macks double d or the dick nite dodger. On the business end of the presentation anglers have been running kokabow products such as the squid spinners or the beaded spinners tipped with shoepeg corn that has been cured in some sort of kokanee cure. It is best to make up a few different cures on your corn to have multiple options to present to the fish on any given day! Those fishing Lake Roosevelt may want to experiment with the brads kokanee cut plug as the bait is a little bit bigger and can provide a chance at some of the bigger kokanee that swim around Lake Roosevelt.
The local kokanee fishery Lake Stevens has been slow right now but should start to pick up every single day as we get closer and closer to spring. Lake Stevens year in and year out is one of the best producing kokanee fisheries in the state and this year should be no different. Kokabow products are very popular on this local fishery as well as wedding ring spinners. The brads kokanee cutplugs are another popular option on the local fishery. Remember to tip all your spinners with some sort of cured shoepeg corn.
Local bass fishing will be picking up for largemouth as the water temperatures begin to rise while anglers have been able to chase smallmouth on lake Washington using football head jigs with keitech fat swing impacts in 3.8 size in any darker natural color. Dropshotting some sort of small minnow or small swimbait has accounted for a fair share of fish as well.
If you are looking to learn more about the states bass fishing please come to our annual bass seminar March 7th here at 3 Rivers Marine & Tackle to learn from local bass fisherman talking about everything bass fishing!!