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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good day everyone,
My name is Adam, I will be new to Washington soon. I have some questions about the fisheries around Raymond. My wife and myself are moving from Arkansas and are purchasing a house around Raymond. I was curious how the salmon and steelhead fishing is local?? We close on our house on July 21. I am a fishing and bird hunting addict; so I hope to have both with In reasonable distance?? I’m not looking for any specific locations, just getting a feel for the area. I have a drift boat, what I am curious about is how far upstream does one normally go before they get out of that tidal estuary to get to a “floatable, fishable area that is not influenced by the tides”? Any ideas on some rivers or tributaries to check out would be awesome.
Thanks,
Have a great day
 

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Welcome to Washington. Unfortunately, steelhead fishing in WA state is mostly a thing of the past. That doesn't mean there is no chance of fishing for them, just that the opportunities for success are very limited these days. Salmon fishing isn't far behind, but there remains a fair bit of opportunity in SW WA. Tributaries to Willapa Bay are small, and I have never seen a drift boat on any of them, although it should be feasible in tidal reaches. Willapa Bay gets a good run of hatchery coho salmon, offering good opportunities although I have to admit I have not fly fished for them. It used to get a very good run of hatchery Chinook salmon as well, but management changes have pretty well obliterated those returns.

You did not ask about sea run cutthroat, and since this is a fly fishing website, I'll mention that the Willapa Bay tributaries get decent runs of native wild cutthroat trout. I have fished for them successfully in the Willapa River, but they run to all the tributaries. Beware, the streams are brushy! That makes casting difficult, and I have caught more bushes and trees than trout.

As mentioned above, the Chehalis River is nearby and is plenty large enough for a drift boat. Drift boats and motorized jet sleds are commonly used on the Chehalis. The Chehalis often gets fairly good runs of coho salmon, including "jack" coho salmon, which are small, but take bait and lures readily. The Chehalis also gets good returns of sea run cutthroat trout that not many people fish for.

Last, but not least, you will be located not far from the mouth of the Columbia River. That's not a place for your drift boat, but you might want to board a guided charter boat and fish for salmon. Opportunity ranges from fair to very good for Chinook and coho salmon during their respective seasons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the information! I knew the steelhead weren’t what they used to be, but it sounds like I can keep myself busy with other species as well… I hope to get a power boat when I get settled In and figure out what I need. I like wade fishing as well. Sounds like there are a lot of places to try. Any luck with crab or shrimp in Willipa bay?
 

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Welcome to Washington. Unfortunately, steelhead fishing in WA state is mostly a thing of the past. That doesn't mean there is no chance of fishing for them, just that the opportunities for success are very limited these days. Salmon fishing isn't far behind, but there remains a fair bit of opportunity in SW WA. Tributaries to Willapa Bay are small, and I have never seen a drift boat on any of them, although it should be feasible in tidal reaches. Willapa Bay gets a good run of hatchery coho salmon, offering good opportunities although I have to admit I have not fly fished for them. It used to get a very good run of hatchery Chinook salmon as well, but management changes have pretty well obliterated those returns.

You did not ask about sea run cutthroat, and since this is a fly fishing website, I'll mention that the Willapa Bay tributaries get decent runs of native wild cutthroat trout. I have fished for them successfully in the Willapa River, but they run to all the tributaries. Beware, the streams are brushy! That makes casting difficult, and I have caught more bushes and trees than trout.

As mentioned above, the Chehalis River is nearby and is plenty large enough for a drift boat. Drift boats and motorized jet sleds are commonly used on the Chehalis. The Chehalis often gets fairly good runs of coho salmon, including "jack" coho salmon, which are small, but take bait and lures readily. The Chehalis also gets good returns of sea run cutthroat trout that not many people fish for.

Last, but not least, you will be located not far from the mouth of the Columbia River. That's not a place for your drift boat, but you might want to board a guided charter boat and fish for salmon. Opportunity ranges from fair to very good for Chinook and coho salmon during their respective seasons.
Thanks everyone for the information! I knew the steelhead weren’t what they used to be, but it sounds like I can keep myself busy with other species as well… I hope to get a power boat when I get settled In and figure out what I need. I like wade fishing as well. Sounds like there are a lot of places to try. Any luck with crab or shrimp in Willipa bay?
I second Salmo’s comments and Re the bushes and trees: if you don’t know how to spey cast it would be a worthwhile and satisfying use of your time that will improve your odds for various species in our coastal rivers/tribs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I second Salmo’s comments and Re the bushes and trees: if you don’t know how to spey cast it would be a worthwhile and satisfying use of your time that will improve your odds for various species in our coastal rivers/tribs.
I have been casting a single hand rod for years, but have always wanted to learn how to cast a two hander. That is definitely on the short list of things to buy for Washington. Does it improve your odds, by the large amount of water you can cover?
 

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I have been casting a single hand rod for years, but have always wanted to learn how to cast a two hander. That is definitely on the short list of things to buy for Washington. Does it improve your odds, by the large amount of water you can cover?
Not if y'aint got it. Look heres the deal washington its either ya got it or y'aint.
 

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I have been casting a single hand rod for years, but have always wanted to learn how to cast a two hander. That is definitely on the short list of things to buy for Washington. Does it improve your odds, by the large amount of water you can cover?
It accomplishes a few things. On many coastal rivers you have little backcast room so firstly, it allows you to fish where a single-hander would be either problematic or just outright unfun. Also we have many big rivers and most often for steelhead and salmon success depends upon covering as much water as possible. Consequently, (other than high water conditions) you want to cast somewhere beyond 65 feet. A single-hander, if you had the backcast room, takes work to do that--especially with heavy heads and flies. With a two hander an accomplished spey caster will send out 90+ feet of line effortlessly and efficiently (i.e. no repeated false casts). In addition, once you get your wet fly on the water you you need to sink it and present it properly: the two hander gives you much better control for presenting the fly. And the two-hander allows you to fish water that would otherwise be impossible. Also by eliminating the time it takes to false cast multiplied over the course of a day, combined with the extra distance per cast, you end up covering more water in a day. Given our few remaining fish, covering as much quality water as you can and presenting the fly well is what will improve your already poor odds.
 

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If you are going to invest in a spey rod, be sure to have a few lessons. Not everybody likes those things. I tried it and went back to a single handed rod. More fun to be had. On smaller river in my opinion it is over kill.
 
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