The Cowlitz River is considered
Washington State’s most popular steelhead and salmon-fishing
river in the Pacific NW. The Cowlitz River is located in
SW Washington along the I-5 corridor and roughly one hour
and twenty minutes from Tacoma, just under two hours from
downtown Seattle, forty-five minutes from Olympia, one and
a half hours from Portland, Oregon, and one hour and forty
minutes from Sea-Tac airport. The Cowlitz River is
southwest of Tacoma and Seattle and definitely a destination
river for steelhead enthusiasts.
Taking a guided trip is a great way to enjoy the outdoors,
learn the river, or spend time with friends, loved ones, or
business associates. We have husband, wife and kids, and groups
of all types that fish with us each year. If I were to pick
a river in Washington State for the abundance of steelhead, king salmon, coho salmon, sturgeon, and harvest
trout then the Cowlitz River would be my
river of choice. There are fish in the Cowlitz River all year.
The Cowlitz River is the headquarters for most SW Washington
fishing and homes to some of the best runs of salmon and steelhead in Washington
State. This is where you can work stretches of the river
from our comfortable Alumaweld jet boat and experience constant
hook-ups of the summer hatchery steelhead, the winter hatchery steelhead, the
king and or coho salmon. This river starts it’s
flow on the south slopes of Mount Rainier and is formed where
the clear fork and the muddy fork come together near the town
of Packwood. It meanders and flows along highway 12 and goes
under I-5 and then enters the Columbia River by the towns of
Kelso and Longview. On occasion you can marvel at a spectacular
foggy sunrise, watch bald eagles, osprey, Deer and Elk as
they all come to this river in the winter months.
Some Washington anglers consider the Cowlitz River,
as Washington’s most productive salmon and steelhead fishing waters. This
spectacular river hosts one of our healthiest runs of hatchery
steelhead (sea-going rainbow trout); both summer and winter
in Washington State. The spring chinook is a mighty fish that will
also test a fisherman and his equipment but they are hard
to catch in May and June. They will range from 10 to 25 pounds,
but on occasion will exceed 30 pounds. Coho will range from
6 pounds to over 20 pounds. Fall salmon season begins with the
onset of the fall rains and runs from September through November.
There is an overlap of salmon and steelhead in the month of November.
Summer hatchery steelhead will provide good fishing from June
through August and again from November through January. The
spring kings arrive in May and June after they have made their
way up the Columbia River. They are the earliest
of the king salmon to arrive and the best eating. The fall
kings and fall coho start to arrive in august and continue
through November and then a later run of coho are also present
while fishing for the winter hatchery steelhead. Take
a look at our chart for the best times to fish for spring
salmon, fall salmon, summer steelhead and winter steelhead.
We fish the Cowlitz river out of a well-equipped
23’- 6” Alumaweld super-vee jet sled powered by a 200 hp mercury
outboard jet. We can accommodate up to six clients for the
Cowlitz River trips.
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