Where are the boat lanches for the Stilley?

Was wondering where the boat launches for the Stilly are?
I went and waded the N.F and Fortson Hole, there was alot of dudes there, only saw one hookup. I was told that the Steelies there have been hooked multiple times and just ignore peoples flies,etc. Reminded me of the Cowlitz; water ballet but with fly rods!
Any other rivers worth fishing with the same distance from Tacoma?



Active Member
There are only a few boat launches on the Stilly and most of them are more suitable for a raft than a drift boat. Of course the water level is coming down now to the point where a drift boat will be leaving lots of gelcoat (or splinters) on the bottom anyhow. Boats may only be used for transportation above the Cicero bridge, no fishing is allowed from floating devices.

Although there is no official launch there, you can probably put some sort of craft in at Seapost bridge, there is some fast, narrow, bouldery water just below the Mermaid to contend with. Whitman Road bridge is doable, be prepared to carry your vessel some distance to the water. WDFW will be developing a launch just downstream of the Cicero bridge when funds become available. At the present time, it would be possible to launch a raft there (maybe). There is another rough launch site at 127th Avenue, commonly known as the Lime Quarry; drive down 127th to the old railroad right-of-way, turn left and continue to the river. There's no place to launch, that I know of, from here to Arlington. Haller Park in Arlington has what must be the cobbliest "developed" ramp in the state (the foot of the ramp washed away years ago and was filled in with riprap boulders).

From Arlington down (you're on the mainstem Stilly now) there still aren't very many places to put in or take out. Blue Stilly Park requires that you drag or carry across a hundred yards of gravel bar (at least it seems that far at the end of a long day). There is a steep, crude site under the southbound lanes of I-5. There are a couple of possibilities at Sylvana, just remember that the cement plant locks its gate at quitting time. The site under the bridge at Struiksma's farm, across from the little white church on the hill, is closed now since transients took to living under the bridge. That's about it down to the Bodel bridge on the Warm Beach-Stanwood Road which is only about a quarter mile above the mouth. Whoops, there IS another access between Sylvana and the Bodel bridge that I've never used; it's not a launch but you can drive to the river and it has a flat, gravel beach.
That's what you should expect at Fortson. It's a terminal fishery just like Reiter or Blue Creek. The only practical place to put a drift boat in the North Fork is at the Lime Quarry near Trafton, then take out at Haller Park. I have seen people launch from a couple of private spots so it might pay to ask someone who owns a nice beach. The North Fork is too low now for a boat anyway. Best bet is a pontoon boat and you can put them in anywhere depending on how far you're willing to carry them.