Hohdown, March 19

At the risk of tainting the spiritual quality of a Hohdown, if the river is punched on 3/17 with no hope of being fishable by 3/20, may I suggest a compass direction adjustment to an alternative river that more likely than not will be fishable that weekend?

The revered and reviled Cowlitz, for better or worse, is controlled by dams. Today it's running a little over 5 kcfs, which is very fly fishable. It is likely to stay around 5 or 6 kcfs, except on smolt migration Tuesdays when it jumps up to 8 kcfs. The Cowlitz winter steelhead run has shifted away from Dec.-Jan. returning Chambers Ck fish to late returning native Cowlitz brood hatchery steelhead that peak in March. It's not the Hoh nor any of the highly desireable qualities of the coastal rivers, but it would allow us to camp in the rain, eat Jerry's cooking, drink Evan and Matt's beer, AND fish water that is in shape. Downsides include most of the fish being hatchery not wild and you pretty much need a boat to access the Cowltiz.

I'm just throwing this out there because postponing the Hohdown is not feasible for too many, and cancelation isn't practical once Jerry buys groceries.

Sg
I actually quite like this idea. Hell, hatchery fish is just fine! We could put the beatdown on them and take some meat home! I vote for this idea if things look bleak on the coast. It's better than cancelling, and better than a bust of a trip to the coast.
 

Matt Smith

On the river Noyb
I agree, that sounds like a good back up plan. I just want to fish and play with my new spey. Whatever river gives me the best chance of that I'm game. Have beer will travel
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Is the Cowlitz fishing from a boat the whole time or is there boat accessible bank area/bars that are wade, swing and spey cast capable? I've only gear fished the Blue Creek area, beyond that I don't know squat (big surprise there). I am the kind of guy that likes to have a backup plan. I'm not sure that I'm going for a backup plan though.
 
Is the Cowlitz fishing from a boat the whole time or is there boat accessible bank area/bars that are wade, swing and spey cast capable? I've only gear fished the Blue Creek area, beyond that I don't know squat (big surprise there). I am the kind of guy that likes to have a backup plan. I'm not sure that I'm going for a backup plan though.
I hear Cowlitz has lots of great swing water.
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
You hear or you know? See, I don't know, nor have I heard much. What I have heard is guy rowing boat rows the freaking boat while two pals fish their asses off on the move and the guy rowing the boat has a grand time. So, for anyone in the know willing to say, my question stands. It likely stands as the stupidest question asked today, maybe all year so far, but this is a river that I know very little about.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
Mumbles,

At 5 kcfs the Cowlitz has an abundance of swingable fly water, but you need some kind of floating device to access it. The most popular floats are from Barrier dam to Blue Ck, Blue Ck to Mission, Mission to Toledo or I-5, and less so for I-5 to Olequa. As flows increase above 6 kcfs, the amount of fly water, IMO, decreases significantly. I've fished it mostly during the summer and fall at flows ranging from 2,500 cfs to 5,500 cfs. If Tacoma needs to release higher flows, then the backup plan isn't a backup plan. At that point I'll just hang out near wherever Jerry's cook tent is and drink and eat all day and wind my spring and pawl reels just to hear the sound of something good that is steelhead fishing related.

Sg
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Sg, once again you deliver the goods for this guy void of knowledge, thank you. The floating device is one that I have several suitable options to fill the need. Having never seen it I was just concerned that it would be a float on the go go go. If my camp host Jeff Bandy and camp chef Jerry Dashofsky tell me that my plans have changed then so be it. I'll await their input and again, thank you greatly for a great answer. Ed
 
Id definitely be down to make the cowlitz an alternate location. It wouldnt be as magical, but we would have a much better chance of bonking some meat.
Mumbles, theres good swingable water at barrier dam, I have caught chinook and coho on the swing there. The cow also has a TON of hatchery SRC's to keep you busy

Would people want to camp in the parking lot of the hatchery? Im not sure I know another place to camp near there. Theres not much for amenities, but who cares? its lat, and a lot of space for tents, tarps, whatr have you
 
Sounds like as good a plan as any. It's not going to be as "special," but we will still have a camp fire, good beer, better food, and water to fish. Plus, we'll spend much less in travel expenses, so that'll make up for the less spectacular location.

Let's decide on Monday or so based on conditions. Things still could clear up on the coast.
 
I must say that 'camping' at Blue Creek doesn't sound so lovely. And one would be pretty much at the whim of finding someone who has a boat to float in, or not have a whole lot of swinging water to share with a ton of others. Plus that river has not been kind to me for some reason.
But that being said, if all the rivers on the OP are gone, then it's better than nothing. Plus there are a couple other options that aren't terribly far away if one wanted to get away from Blue Creek and the combat spey zone and jet sleds. :)
 

Jerry Daschofsky

Moderator
Staff member
Cow is super easy to float and lots of places to swing. A few places at Blue Creek to swing away from the meat hole.

Lots of room at BC campground BUT last I knew there are no fires allowed. Why we moved our Cowtilla for my Steelheader board. I WILL NOT stay at Barrier Dam Campground again after last years SGMtilla. Long story but if you guys opt for there I won't go (you'll have to come to BC to eat). I possibly could get a propane firepit from Camp Chef. Looks real and puts out heat. Just runs on propane (has ceramic logs). Not sure if I could get it by Wednesday though. But TPU had a fireban at BC.

I'll be disappointed if its not at the Hoh. But I'm a realist here. SG had a stellar idea. I'm all for making the call on Monday possibly Tuesday on location.

Ok boys and girls I'll plan on doing the buy up of the grub then. :)