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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just looking to get some information about floating the Cowlitz river; never floated it but would like to in the next month or so.

Questions:
  1. What river level?
  2. Launches?
  3. Takes outs?
  4. Hazards?
  5. What to look for?

Thanks, James.
 
G

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That river sucks to drift - toss flies. Its great for a sled with a crew of bait- casters. And get there early-long line. I preferred the Kalama next door.
 

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You can put in at Salmon Hatchery and take out at Blue Creek. Put in at Blue Creek take out at Mission. Put in at Mission take out at Toledo. Put in at Toledo take out at I-5 Bridge. In at I-5 out at Olyqua (don't know how to spell). All drifts are about the same length except Toledo to I-5 is shorter. Plenty of water not many fish. You can go to Blue Creek and wade downstream from launch and have just as much luck as dragging a boat along. Happy trails.
 

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FishyJere
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For fly fishing, I prefer the drift from Blue Creek to Misson Bar. It is a nice day's fishing, about 7 miles. Once you are passed the clay banks (about 1/2 mile from the put in), you will have the river to yourself. It can be kind of busy with power boats around Blue creek and the clay banks, I sometimes just bypass it completely although there is good fly water. Flows below about 4,000 are pretty good. Summer flows run around 2,000 to 2,500. It gets tough to fish over 6,000 and you will be up against the willows. The river is an easy float, not technical at all. Many do it in a pontoon and it is a very comfortable drift boat float.

It is a big place and a spey rod is the tool of choice.

Winter pickings are slim but there are fish. There is a run of winter fish but summer run fishing is usually much better. Look at Steve Buckner's web site http://www.northwestflyfisherman.com/index.htm. He has a lot to say about the river that would help you. Trudy is my personal favorite for a shuttle, she is a retired school teacher and a cool lady. I have used Steve as a guide and highly recommend him.

Jerry
 

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James,

GStange and Jerry covered the launches and preferred flow levels. The problem with fly fishing it during the winter months is that the flows are frequently higher than 8,000 cfs (currently 10,000). I like it at 5,500 or lower, so I don't fish it much during the winter.

Sg
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess I'll keep to the washougal and other local rivers until summer. Thanks everyone for the launch information and flows. Well, can't wait for summer than, I hear the cowlitz has a great run of sea run cuts.

thanks, James
 
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