A 06:00 departure from Bellevue under cool and windy skies had us worried a little as rain was in the forecast. After a brief stop in Lakewood to fuel up the body we hit the interstate with hopes high on dipping up some Euchalon aka smelt.
The sunrise was beautiful as we passed by the LDS temple. Our sights set for Castle Rock and the banks of the Cowlitz river. WDFW had announced a 1-day opener between 07:00 to 13:00. I extended the invite to Tom E. and Ching W. as they’ve never dipped for smelt before. I also got my youngest son to come along. Waking up at 05:45 was an early one but like a champ he rose and was excited at the opportunity to fish with dad.
It was a 2 hour 20 minute drive to the banks and found already many cars and folks already wrapped up with their limits. Tom was concerned that the smelt weren’t up towards Castle Rock but seeing limits on the bank and net fulls of smelt turn his skepticism to optimism.
Jonah got in, down and dirty, touching, playing, and was smiles all morning.
It didn’t take long to limit out, although the numbers weren’t crazy like last year. Some dips would yield 1-2 smelt, others woukd bring 6-10. The limit.of smelt is 10# per person and approximately is 1/4 of a 5 gallon bucket.
It took a little over an hour to dip up 4 limits and we packed up and headed back. After a brief stop at the Bass pro shops, it was now the task of cleaning up the gear, and the smelt.
I counted 135 for one limit, and likely it was slightly more than 10#. I’ll have to carry a scale for any future outings as enforcement was out busting folks for a variety of reasons. We did see many violations such as not separating limits, over limits, and one person dipping for several individuals. Surprisingly, a fishing license is not required for smelt, so you can imagine the revenue for the state in fines.