SW washington steelhead

Does anyone know when SW rivers (specifically the lewis or east fork of the lewis) start to 'really' pick-up for stealhead (about Dec 1?)and where are good places to bank it? I caught a 30inch hatchery buck last weekend on the east fork of the Lewis but I think that was kind of a fluke as the river was only running at 175cfs.

Also, any other rivers within an hour of Vancouver that have good bank access and good stealheading????


In search of Blinky...
SW washington stealhead

You live in steelheader's paradise!! I would say Thanksgiving is the 'opener' for winter steelhead in your area. Sounds like you picked up a summer run on the lewis. It's late in the run but sometimes you can find some fish in the upper rivers for the next 2-3 weeks or so. You can also bridge the gap in seasons with the salmon fishery down there (on the same rivers).

You should check out the Washougal, Kalama, and all sorts of rivers out towards the coast and you should find some action. Check out the WDFW's hatchery smolt stocking to see how many smolts get stocked in which rivers.
SW washington stealhead

You get a push of summers after the first real rean of the Fall. You should be able to find some of them and a few bright Fall fish until November. You might find a few winter hatchery fish in by Thanksgiving, , but the majority of hatchery fish come in mid Dec. Last year they blew through with the high water. You should see some Fall chinook in there as well right now. However you are no supposed to target them.

All our local runs are 40-60% down in escapement. That being said, the Washougal if you can find access, Kalama, and North Fork Lewis have some steelhead in them. The Clackamas in Oregon and the Kalama are probably your best bets though. Salmon Creek in town have a few winters as well if you want to fish around homes.

Rob Allen

Active Member
SW washington stealhead

to find fish with summer steelhead still in the system try rivers that have hatchery plants yet have no hatchery for the fish to rub back too... The washougal for instance will not have any fish because they all go back to the hatchery leaving the river empty. you cannot count on wild fish there either cause there just aren't that many.. Washougal will be better around christmas....


Piscatorial Engineer
SW washington stealhead

Klickitat, Wind (?), Washougal, E Fk Lewis, N Fk Lewis, Kalama, Newakum, Grays, Elochoman, Toutle...not to mention Columbia...When you can get out is a good time...

1/4 mile rule. If you walk 1/4 mile from the road, you will lose 90% of other fishermen, another 1/4 mi., another 90% of remainder, and so forth...The fish have to go through, so fish where you can, learn the water.

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