(Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Lewis, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties)
Fishing: Anglers can fish for salmon, steelhead and shad every day in June on the lower Columbia River, with new fishing opportunities for salmon starting at mid-month. A number of area tributaries are also open for salmon, steelhead or both, and retention fisheries for white sturgeon will be open on various days above and below Bonneville Dam.
“There’s plenty to keep anglers busy in June, and the fishing opportunities expand throughout the month as we move into the summer season,” said Joe Hymer, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Through June 15, hatchery spring chinook salmon and hatchery steelhead are the main attraction for anglers fishing the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam. The extended fishing season is open from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line near the mouth of the big river to the deadline below the dam. For boat anglers, the upriver boundary is Beacon Rock.
The daily limit is six fish, no more than two of which may be adults and only one of which can be an adult chinook salmon. Anglers those waters are required to use barbless hooks and release all chinook salmon and steelhead not marked with a clipped adipose fin.
Starting June 16, daily limits and fishing areas change on the Columbia River when the summer chinook fishery gets under way from the Megler Astoria Bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam. Barbless hooks are required. The six-fish daily limit can include two adult hatchery salmon, or two adult hatchery steelhead, or one of each. Anglers fishing below the 395 Bridge in Pasco may also retain sockeye salmon, which count as part of the adult daily limit.
The selective fishery for adult summer chinook salmon is open June 16-30 in lower Columbia River, but extends through July 31 above Bonneville Dam. The pre-season forecast anticipates an above-average run of 73,500 summer chinook, some weighing up to 40 pounds apiece.
“There’s a reason why these fish are known as ‘June hogs,’ Hymer said. “Reeling in one of these fish can really brighten up your day.”
Anglers can also catch shad, which have been available for harvest without size or catch limits since mid-May. Bank anglers have been catching shad in good numbers just below Bonneville Dam and at the public dock in Washougal. Boat anglers can do well in shallower water from Longview upstream.
In tributaries to the big river, anglers can catch and keep salmon and steelhead on the Cowlitz, Wind and Klickitat rivers, plus Drano Lake. Hymer advises anglers planning to fish those waters to check WDFW’s emergency rule website for any updates to the regulations.
On the Wind River, for example, the daily limit has been increased to two chinook or two hatchery steelhead, or one of each through June 30. The river upstream from Shipherd Falls is now open for salmon and hatchery steelhead, but anglers must release all wild chinook downstream from the falls.
Starting June 1, the Klickitat River from the mouth to the Fisher Hill Bridge is open to fishing seven days per week with a six-salmon daily limit, of which no more than two may be adults. Wild chinook must be released. Fishing for hatchery steelhead and hatchery chinook jacks also opens June 1 from 400 feet above fishway #5 to the boundary markers below the salmon hatchery.
Anglers must release all spring chinook salmon on the Kalama and Lewis rivers, although fishing remains open for hatchery steelhead on both systems. Starting June 1, the North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek upstream opens to fishing for hatchery steelhead as does Blue Creek – a tributary of the Cowlitz River – where anglers can also catch sea run cutthroats.
Also starting June 1, anglers may use bait on the lower sections of the South Fork Toutle, Green, Washougal, and East Fork Lewis rivers.
As noted in the Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, anglers with a two-pole endorsement can use two rods to fish for spring chinook salmon and other species on sections of the Cowlitz and Lewis rivers and at Drano Lake.