A nice mix of late spring chinook and early summer steelhead is on tap for anglers working the Cowlitz River, according to Marshall Borsom at Fish Country Sports in Ethel (360-985-2090), and you won’t have to fight the crowds.
State Department of Fish and Wildlife creel checks last week showed 89 bank fishermen with 14 steelhead and nine chinook, while 107 boaters had 48 steelhead. Best fishing for both species has been below the barrier dam, Borsom said. “They’re picking up fish, too, at Blue Creek, but there hasn’t been much fishing pressure down that way, so it’s hard to get a line on just how well they’re doing,” he said.
The springers are running 8 to 12 pounds, and the steelhead are going 6 to 8 pounds.
Anglers are using a wide range of baits and lures, Borsom said. A number of those looking for salmon are free-drifting eggs and a sand shrimp tail, but spoons also have been taking fish. Many steelheaders are going with a bobber-jig rig, he said.
The numbers of steelhead entering hatchery traps indicate a lot of fish in the river, and the numbers are increasing weekly.