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Smelt Reports 2003

Smelt Report's for 2003

Smelt

Effective January 1 through March 31, open to fishing for smelt in the mainstem Columbia and Washington Columbia River tributaries below Bonneville Dam. The mainstem Columbia will be open 7 days/week, 24 hours/day. Tributaries will be open 7 days/week between 6 AM and 10 PM each day. Daily limit is 10 pounds and no license is required. For current sport fishing regulations and fishing updates, please call the WDFW Region 5 office message at 360-696-6211and press *1010.
A few smelt have been reported caught from the mainstem Columbia commercial fishery.

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01/08/2003

Fishing: Smelt dipping, which opened on New Year's Day, is producing some early results in the Cowlitz River. Possibly a pilot run, fish have been found from the Kelso Railroad bridge upstream to Rocky Point, reports Joe Hymer, regional fish biologist. For recorded updates on where the smelt are showing up, call 360-696-6211 and press *1010. Dipping is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a 10-pound daily limit (about one-third of a five-gallon bucket). No fishing license is required. Fishers are reminded to respect landowners property, including parking areas.

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1/08/2003

The Department of Fish and Wildlife said a few smelt were present from the Kelso railroad bridge upstream to Rocky Point. Dipping was slow.

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01/15/2003

Smelt - Recreational dippers took as much as a pound per dip last week near Riverside and Lexington on the Cowlitz, and 10-pound limits were possible in less than half an hour in the right spot, said Joe Hymer of the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Vancouver office.

Downstream, at the Carnival Market-Rocky Point area, dipping was less than a fish per dip. Monday evening, commercial fishermen on the Cowlitz landed 3,200 pounds between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.,with most of the catch occurring from Riverside-Lexington upstream.

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01/23/2003

Fishing: The smelt that made an appearance earlier this month in the Cowlitz River seem to have vanished from there for the time being, according to Joe Hymer, regional fish biologist. At last report, some fish were in the Grays River this past weekend while some had appeared earlier last week in the Lewis River. In the mainstem Columbia, where dipping is difficult, smelt were present at least up to Camas -Washougal area. "Now it's a waiting game to see what happens next," said Hymer. "They could re-appear in the tributaries at any time." For the latest reports, call the WDFW Region 5 office in Vancouver. Dial (360) 696-6211 and press *1010.

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01/24/2003

Smelt: Action for smelt dippers in the lower Cowlitz fell off after some pretty good early fish populations pushed in from the Columbia. A spokeswoman at Carnival Market in Kelso (360-425-6622) said dipping has been slow recently, but that indications are there are still large schools in the Columbia. The market rents dipnets for $4 per hour, and also sells them, along with free advice on where and how to use them.

Smelt jigging continues off and on at Cornet Bay and in the north marina at La Conner, but Oak Harbor seems to be the latest hot spot. Word is that 10-pound limits were falling in about an hour last week.

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02/04/2003

Fishing: The smelt that made an appearance earlier this month in the Cowlitz River seem to have vanished from there for the time being, according to Joe Hymer, regional fish biologist. At last report, some fish were in the Grays River this past weekend while some had appeared earlier last week in the Lewis River. In the mainstem Columbia, where dipping is difficult, smelt were present at least up to Camas -Washougal area. "Now it's a waiting game to see what happens next," said Hymer. "They could re-appear in the tributaries at any time." For the latest reports, call the WDFW Region 5 office in Vancouver. Dial (360) 696-6211 and press *1010.

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02/03/2003

Smelt -

Cowlitz River - On Monday (Feb. 3), the report from the mouth upstream was:

Gearhart Park 0-3 fish/dip; Kelso Bridge 0-30 fish/dip; Carnival Market 0-10 fish/dip; Rocky Point 0-15 fish/dip; Lexington 0-10 fish/dip River was very high but dropping. Cowlitz River flows measured at Castle Rock were 21,500 cfs this morning (Feb. 4). This compares to 64,900 cfs late Friday night (Jan. 31).

Columbia - Some unspawned smelt still present near Cathlamet.

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Results through Thursday February 13, 2003

Conditions:
The next push of smelt are out in the main stem Columbia River.

Catches:

Cowlitz River:

Sport - GOOD DIPPING Gearhart to Rocky Point -

02/09/03 Kelso to Lexington 0 to 30 per dip 02/11/03 Castle Rock area 5 min limits

Commercial:

02/12/03 1 Delivery 1,850 lbs

Lewis River:

Sport GOOD DIPPING - Near the Woodland, WA Texaco Station

02/11/03 15 min limits 02/12/03 10 min limits

Commercial:

02/12/03 59,913 lbs 02/13/03 50,184 lbs

Sport Seasons/Regulations:

Effective February 12, 2003, the daily limit increased to 20 lbs per person per day and the fishery is open 7 days a week from 6 AM to 10 PM through March 31st, all Washington Columbia River tributaries.

Effective February 12, 2003 the Main Stem Columbia river daily limit increased to 20 lbs per person per day and the fishery is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Commercial Seasons/Regulations (Washington tributaries):

Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights: 6 PM 6 AM. Cowlitz, Kalama, and Lewis rivers.

Updates are also available by calling (360) 696-6211, then press *1010

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02/28/2003

Smelt

Some new smelt have been reported in the Cowlitz River. Last week, dippers netted up to 10 fish per dip from the Kelso Bridge to Castle Rock.

Smelt fishing has been slow on the Lewis River during daylight hours. The fish reportedly are getting spawned out.

Commercial fishers reported they are having no problem filling their orders at night.

Dipping has been good on the Sandy River.

For smelt updates, call 360-696-6211, then press star, 1010.

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03/26/2003

Smelt - Sport dipping in the Cowlitz is "pretty well over," said Gary Wallace of the Four Corners Grocery in Castle Rock. Virtually no one dipping. However, commercial dippers landed 2,000 to 4,000 pounds per night between Thursday and Sunday, the Department of Fish and Wildlife said. The mainstem Columbia and its Washington tributaries close to smelt dipping on Monday.

The Smelt Season ends on March 31st, 2003