Cowlitz River guides?

Add Steve Buckner to the list of Cowlitz fly guides.
Thanks Salmo. Do you agree with his catch and release only policy even for hatchery fish? I was hoping to take my first home as long as its hatchery.

Catch & Release Only

Even on those systems where hatchery fish exist, I require catch and release only. Why? The short answer is because those fish that are apt to take a fly ought to have their genetics kept so that future generations of fish have these same attributes. Historically, there are/were some races of steelhead that tend to take flies and others that do not. As an angler, I'd like to do what I can to keep the genetics of those fish that will chase a fly in the river. And secondly, as Lee Wulff said, "Game fish are to valuable to be caught only once".


5-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
That's retarded. He's saying let good biting hatchery tards spread their genes and potentially ruin wild fish in the process due to interbreeding? Then the next generation of wild fish come back and bite everything so they die.

If I wanted better biting fish I'd trout fish all day.


Well-Known Member
Didn't know about Steve's hatchery CNR policy. I release hatchery steelhead on the Cowlitz when I don't want to bother with taking them home. I'm skeptical about the prospects of only breeding non-biters by keeping fish that are hooked and landed. Most of the fish that end up as broodstock at barrier dam don't get caught because they came in when river flows were up, and they just jetted straight to the hatchery. Hard to catch a fish that was no longer in the river when flows came down and I went fishing.

Golfman44, I'm also not worried about these hatchery summer runs interbreeding with wild Cowlitz steelhead, because there is no native wild Cowlitz summer run, and a fairly recent Cowlitz steelhead genetics study showed, similar to the Skagit and other rivers, that the amount of introgression is small. It is incredibly small when one considers the milliions of hatchery smolts stocked and hundreds of thousands of hatchery adults that have returned, where remaining native wild steelhead are very small in relative and absolute numbers. It's not on the list of problems I'm concerned about.