Southwest Washington (Region 5) Fishing Hotline

The following is a brief summary of emergency and permanent sport fishing regulations for smelt, sturgeon, and salmon on the mainstem Columbia River and its tributaries plus trout fishing at Swift Reservoir.  

Complete information contained in this hotline message can be found in the Fishing in Washington pamphlet.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

RAZOR CLAMS

Razor clam diggers can look forward to more than a month of razor clam digging opportunities at Long Beach on the Washington coast. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig, which runs from Feb. 4 through March 10, at Long Beach after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. All other beaches remain closed to recreational razor clam digging.

The dig at Long Beach is on evening tides. No digging will be allowed before noon any day. The best digging usually occurs one to two hours prior to low tide.

The first week of the upcoming dig at Long Beach is scheduled on the following dates and low tides:

  • Feb. 4, Thursday, 3:41 p.m.; 0.8 feet, Long Beach,
  • Feb. 5, Friday, 4:28 p.m.; 0.2 feet, Long Beach
  • Feb. 6, Saturday, 5:11 p.m.; -0.3 feet, Long Beach
  • Feb. 7, Sunday, 5:52 p.m.; -0.7 feet, Long Beach
  • Feb. 8, Monday, 6:32 p.m.; -1.0 feet, Long Beach
  • Feb. 9, Tuesday, 7:12 p.m.; -0.9 feet, Long Beach
  • Feb. 10, Wednesday, 7:52 p.m.; -0.7 feet, Long Beach

For tidal information at Long Beach beginning Feb. 11, diggers should check the tide charts listed on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's webpage at http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/map/. Additionally, a list of tides will be posted on WDFW's razor clam webpage http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/. Diggers should check tide charts before heading out since tides of one foot or above aren't conducive to digging.

Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2015-16 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW's website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Diggers should also check the website for announcements about openings at other Washington beaches.

SMELT

Cowlitz River – As of Wednesday Feb. 3 pm, smelt were confirmed in the Kelso area.  No fish were observed near Castle Rock. 

Smelt fishing with dip nets from the riverbank will be allowed ONLY from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday February 6.  Each dip-netter may retain 10 pounds of smelt (about ¼ of a five-gallon bucket) per day with no more than one day's limit in possession.  No dipping is allowed from boats.  No license is required. 

All other waters in the state of Washington remain closed.

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Deep River – Effective March 1 through June 15, the salmonid daily limit in Deep River will be the same as mainstem Columbia River when the mainstem Columbia below Bonneville Dam is open for hatchery Chinook retention.   On days when the mainstem Columbia River is closed to Chinook retention, permanent salmonid daily limits for Deep River apply.

Lower Cowlitz River – The hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho daily limit is 6 fish of which no more than 2 may be adults.   

Lewis and Kalama rivers – The hatchery Chinook daily limit is 6 fish of which only 1 may be an adult.

Mainstem Columbia from Buoy 10 upstream to the I-5 Bridge – Open to fishing for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead through April 9 (except closed Tuesdays March 29 and April 5). Through February, the salmonid daily limit is 6 fish.  Up to 2 may be hatchery steelhead or adult hatchery Chinook or 1 of each.  Effective March 1, only 1 may be a hatchery adult Chinook. 

Mainstem Columbia from the I-5 Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam – Effective March 1 through April 9 (except closed Tuesdays March 29 and April 5), open to fishing for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead.  No boats (bank only) from Beacon Rock upstream.  The salmonid daily limit will be 6 fish.  Up to 2 may be hatchery steelhead or 1 hatchery adult Chinook and 1 hatchery steelhead.      

Mainstem Columbia from Bonneville Dam upstream to Washington/Oregon Border – Effective March 16 through May 6, open to fishing for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead. Bank fishing only using hand-casted lines (no floating device to set lines) from Bonneville Dam to Tower Island power lines located about 6 miles below The Dalles Dam.  The salmonid daily limit will be 6 fish.  Up to 2 may be hatchery steelhead or 1 hatchery adult Chinook and 1 hatchery steelhead.      

Mainstem Columbia from Buoy 10 upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge – Effective March 16 through May 15, the mainstem Columbia River will be open for retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead ONLY during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook.

Mainstem Columbia from The Dalles Dam upstream to McNary Dam – When open from March 16 through June 15, anglers may possess up to 4 hatchery adult Chinook salmon in fresh form.  Anglers aboard a boat may only possess one daily limit of salmon in fresh form.

STURGEON

The daily white sturgeon limit is 1 fish and the annual limit is 2 fish even if the angler holds both a Washington and Oregon license.

Lower Columbia mainstem and its tributaries below Bonneville Dam – Catch-and-release fishing only.

Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam including adjacent tributaries – Through

February 7, sturgeon may be retained seven days per week.  The daily limit is 1 fish, min. size 38" fork length and max. size 54" fork length. Effective February 8 until further notice, catch-and-release only. 

However, a 1-2 day retention fishery is possible in mid-June.

The Dalles Dam upstream to McNary Dam including adjacent tributaries – Retention fishing for sturgeon is open seven days a week until harvest guidelines are reached. The daily limit is one white sturgeon per person. Minimum size is 43 inches fork length; maximum size is 54 inches fork length.

Staff will be closely tracking catch in The Dalles Pool. Assuming the current rate of retention continues, a closure date may be announced by mid-February.

SHAD

Mainstem Columbia from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam – Effective March 16 through May 15, the mainstem Columbia River will be open for retention of shad ONLY during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook.


State fishing and hunting licenses:

2016 Licenses available now!

State fishing and hunting licenses are available for the new season (begins April 1, 2016) by phone (866-246-9453), online https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), and from licensing dealers around the state (http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/). A Vehicle Access Pass to lands owned by WDFW is free with most types of fishing and hunting licenses.

Two-Pole Endorsement:
This endorsement allows you to use two fishing poles on most freshwater lakes, ponds, a few sections of certain rivers, and a few marine areas. You must have a fishing license in addition to the two pole endorsement.

Discover Pass:
This endorsement allows you to use two fishing poles on most freshwater lakes, ponds, a few sections of certain rivers, and a few marine areas. Youth and adult anglers must have a fishing license in addition to the two pole endorsement. 

For details on purchasing a Discover Pass, see http://discoverpass.wa.gov/