Well, crowded isn't even the word. Matt, we're having our yearly "Cowtilla" down there this coming weekend from the other board. I mostly go to meet and BS with friends off the board. Fishing will be CRAZY. I will be bringing fly and gear rods and may do some fishing. But not 100% sure yet if I even want to tackle fishing there again (especially with my injury). I'll just load up my tactical PFD, grab a couple guns (oh, and my rods too) and hit the combat zone.
Personally, I don't fish "meat holes" like BC on the Cowlitz. Hell, the whole Cowlitz is pretty much a meat hole. Why I never fish it. I prefer to fish more remote places. Not as much chances to catch fish, but much more enjoyable. But from friends I know who guide on that river, it's really picking up.
I can vouch for myself. I am no threat to the limit. I am a threat to myself but that's different thing altogether.
As for gear fishing? A lot of those guys have a lot of us fly guys/gals beat. I rarely if ever hear or read how "fly fishermen suck" or "those fly flingers, they sure are a bunch of jerks" or whatever.
Hmmm!? Just an observation on my part but I think that makes our sport look pretty staunchy, proud and rude.
I see this because that is what many of them have told me, asking me why the he!! we think and talk that way when they for the most part, think our sport is pretty cool.
Last week I floated from Barrier Dam to BC thinking we were the only ones on the river, I literally saw only 1 person in a boat that whole stretch til I got to BC, holy moley! 10 boats anchored 20 yds down from BC and 200 dudes lined up on the cliff side slingin' and chuckin'. I witnessed this "kid" crank in a 15lbr' ! Dude I was droolin'...
Fish the flats to the left of BC, right of the boat launch, you might hook into some strays.
I might hit it sometime next week or so, I haven't hooked into Steel in almost a year...
PS: Thanks again Matt for the great pics and instructions on your fly creation, it definately is an awesome fly! Now all I have to do is get out to see if it catches better than it looks!
Blue creek is a meat hole, that is true. There are also a ton of fish there. Last week a buddy of mine and two friends got 22 fish between them. They were in a sled fishing with eggs just below Blue Creek. The best spots to avoid the crowds are from the barrier dam to Blue Creek and from Mission Bar to I-5.
The Cowlitz also has a great searun cutt fishery. The year before last they had 23,000 searuns return to the hatchery. I believe they stopped the hatchery program, but there will still be plenty of cutts this year.
The Cowlitz is not for everyone. If you can float it and get away from the crowds, it can be a lot of fun to fish. If you like to fish by your lonesome, its best to look for other waters.