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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