Fishing guide

Finish the chores quickly, the rain and the fish are about to arrive

Ian Carter The Guide’s Predictions

Better do the chores quickly, the rain is upon us. The Lewis River is the highest point in our immediate area as the other local rivers just don’t have the numbers yet.0

REMINDER: Please check regulations before fishing any body of water


North Fork Lewis River and outside the mouth of the Lewis on the main stem of the Columbia River.

Lewis Report

The river is busy and catches are improving. Jim Milanowski with Looney Coonies fished the Meat Hole earlier in the week with two friends. They managed to snag three Chinooks and brought two home.

“It’s hard to get jumpers to bite. I tried Pro-Troll, plugs and spinners. Eggs worked the best,” Milanowski said.

People also read…

Tuesday morning I watched two crowded boats working in the pool above the Hole in the Wall Island, just around the bend. For the 20 minutes I watched as they brought two very nice shiny coho onto the boat. They drifted slowly naturally in the gentle current casting various spinners.

Kalama Report

Nathan at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Kelso reminds everyone that the pipeline to the creek in the lower part of the river hatchery is open for fly fishing only.

When the dam is finally removed, the fishing will undoubtedly be excellent. Until then, it’s a game of waiting for the rain to come or the spillway to go away. It’s somewhat similar to what came first; The chicken or the egg. As you can see in the chart below, the coho run is taking its time getting started.

WDFW’s checks this week did not reveal much success or effort. There were only twenty verified bank rods that released a solo rainbow trout.

Cowlitz Report

Dave Mallahan with Dave’s Guide Service always experiences slow fishing. After throwing everything at them; jerking jigs, throwing spinners, floats and eggs, backing up with eggs and also dragging eggs failed to provide consistent bite.

WDFW Angler Checks reported the following: Cowlitz River I-5 Bridge Downstream – 24 bank rod held two coho, one coho jack and released two coho and one coho jack. Seven boats/14 rods held eight coho and released 12 coho. Cowlitz River Above the I-5 bridge – 24 bank rods held two coho and released five coho.

Naselle Report

Best fishing is below the boat launch area on Hwy 4 down to tidal water. The fish are crowded and there’s no reason they can’t go higher in the system with the coming rain.

The fishery opened Monday above the Highway 4 bridge. On the Naselle, you can currently keep two adults, one of which may be a wild coho. However, all wild chinook must be released.

It doesn’t look like there are many wild coho’s that have made it to the hatchery yet. I’m not entirely familiar with that logic for the regulations, because it’s not the same logic used for the Chinook on this river or on the lower Columbia.

Columbia Gorge and tributaries

Last Friday, Jim Milanowski with Looney Coonies fished Drano and caught several Black King Salmon. Drano is still at the center of gorge anglers. The success at Drano has faded a bit and the crowds are getting smaller. The WDFW creel verification report shows: Lake Drano – 70 bank rods held three Chinooks, five coho and released 20 Chinooks and three coho. 57 boats/156 rods kept 10 Chinooks, one Chinook jack, 75 coho, six steelhead and released 26 Chinook, three Chinook jack, 10 coho and five steelhead.

Merwin Reservoir slowed down a bit this week. Limits were available but it was work. The weather and lake conditions from a boating perspective were nothing short of epic. Finding the right depth is the biggest challenge as water temperature breaks become softer.

Ian Carter is an experienced angler and journalist for The Guide’s Forecast, hitting the road in search of the best bite and the latest fishing news. Additional reports from across the region can be found online at