Cowlitz River fishing has been a destination for anglers from all over the world. It provides excellent steelhead, coho and chinook salmon fishing.
Cowlitz River Specifics
Boat: 20’ Willie Jet Sled: 2-4 people
Salmon: October – November
Rate: $225 per person
Meet up location: Blue Creek, 165 Osprey Ln. Toledo, WA 98591
Needed items for Cowlitz River trips: Full body rain gear and layered clothing. For other items please see our “What To Bring” page.
Needed items for a Cowlitz Fishing trip
- Full body rain gear with rubber boots or waders
- Warm layered clothing
- Please bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
For a complete list of recommended items to bring on fishing trips please see our “What To Bring” page.
The Cowlitz River has several salmon and steelhead runs to offer for fishing.
The River is well known for its run of late Winter Steelhead. Several years ago, WDFW combined the early timed winter run with the late winter run. It has taken a few years for the fishing to pick up since this happened.
We are now seeing good numbers of steelhead return to the Cowlitz River. This fishery gives us a great opportunity to catch steelhead during winter and early spring. By mid-February there are enough fish around to start this fishery. The peak of the run comes in March, however the biggest fish arrive first.
Using our Willie Boats Predator sled, we have the mobility to cover miles of river in either direction from the boat launch. When we find the fish, we are able to re-work the water and stay on a school of fish to maximize our efforts.
The technique that we most commonly use to target Steelhead on the Cowlitz River is bobber-dogging bait or beads.
In mid to late October, the river gets a return of coho salmon. By the time the fish enter the Columbia River and make their way up and to the Cowlitz, they are ready for a rest.
We target these fish in the slowest parts of the river, like soft pools and edges. We typically cast lures, jigs and other hardware at the fish to instigate reaction bite.
At this point in their life cycle, the fish have stopped feeding and only react in aggression. This type of bite always makes for a great fight.
The Cowlitz River is a river in the state of Washington in the United States, a tributary of the Columbia River. Its tributaries drain a large region including the slopes of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens.
The Cowlitz is located between the Cascade Range in eastern Lewis County, Washington and the cities of Kelso and Longview. The river is roughly 105 miles long, not counting tributaries.
Major tributaries of the Cowlitz River include the Cispus River and the Toutle River, which was overtaken by volcanic mudflows during the May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
When the smelt spawn in the Cowlitz River, the sea-gulls go crazy for the easy meal. Kelso, Washington is known as the “Smelt Capital of the World”.
Need a fishing license? Visit WDFW and purchase your license online.