Cowlitz Sea-runs and Steelhead Report

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Steve Buckner, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. Steve Buckner Mother Nature's Son

    After a long summer in Alaska, it was good to get back to Washington and do some fishing on the Cowlitz this morning. The river is stacked with Steelhead, I must have seen 20 fish roll this morning. I hooked 2 fish, landed one, a nice 7 lb. hen. Along with the Steelhead, I hooked 9 Sea-run cutts that ranged between 14-17 inches. It looks like we're having another great return of both species on the Cowlitz. If you're looking for fiesty fish, it's a great option.
  2. Randy Knapp Active Member

    Posts: 1,132
    Warm Springs, Virginia, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    I have never fished down there. Is there a place suitable for a banker/wader? Don't have a boat.

  3. Jay Allyn The Poor-Student Fly Fisher

    Posts: 852
    Bellingham/Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Where were you?

    I was wondering that too. If it's a super secret spot then that's ok. I was just wondering were SRCs hold in the Cowlitz. If you won't give area, what type of water do you fish?
  4. Steve Buckner Mother Nature's Son

    The Cowlitz is best fished using a boat to get from one gravel bar to the next but there is some great water to be fished around the boat ramps such as the Mission, Blue Creek, I-5, and Olequa.

    From my experience, SRC's are usually found in semi-deep water, or near to it. They seem to like transitions, places where the water flows shallow, like near the end of a run, and around the side channels and eddies created by them, and adjacent to deep water, 4-10 feet deep. They can find food and shelter in such places. The Cowlitz is home to a number of Osprey and those SRC's that don't hang out in semi-deep water soon become prey.

    Just like in the salt, SRC's can be highly migratory so it pays to learn the types of water that they like to hang out in. Just like steelheading, once you learn that type of water, keep moving down the river until you find a pod of fish.

    As everybody in the Northwest knows, SRC's are great sportfish and the Cowlitz is one river that I believe needs to maintain their hatchery system because there is no means for fish to make it above the dams. Apparently, historically the annual run of SRC's to the upper watershed was 40,000 fish. With the hatchery program, around 8,000 fish return, and none of them have access to the river above the dams. There are only a couple of tributaries in the lower river and they hold the only promise for these fish to sustain any numbers at all.

    Get out and enjoy these fiesty little devils!!! They are chrome bright and full of vigor.
  5. mike doughty Honorary Member

    Posts: 10,179
    the uinta's
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    There is good wadeable water if parking at the trout hatchery when the water is about 3500cfs. i was there last week and had no problem wadeing and fishing from sure. sometimes you might have to cross, but oh well. only problem with this area is all the other fisherman.
  6. Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

    Posts: 753
    Western WA, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Gotta Love the Cow!

    Thanks for the report Steve! Looks like the Cowlitz might have missed you a little bit since you were gone all summer. Glad to hear the mighty river is still full of gifts and suprises. I'll be there in a few days and look forward to throwing "Big Bertha" and an XLT. :beer1: