Open Smelt

Cowlitz River - (Cowlitz County)

We split the fish with our new friend who let us use his net.

by John Pelster

Today was a one day open smelt season for a portion of the Cowlitz River.  People were up and down the river with their dip nets, catching up to 10 lbs of smelt per person.  I expected to get a few pictures and check out the scene, but it was a festive atmosphere and a friendly fisherman offered me the use of his net and I was able to join in on the fun.  Some people make it look easy, but working the net was hard work.  There were plenty of good pointers and tips from the more experienced fishermen.   I was told to make sure the net was open and move it with the current, dragging it along the bottom.  Moving the net quickly in the water seemed to yield the best results.