Cowlitz River Reports
The Cowlitz is planted heavily with summer and winter steelhead, and typically provides excellent angling for these fish. Plentiful sea-run cutthroat plants also provide good fishing. All wild cutthroat and steelhead must be released. Also, all right-ventral clipped steelhead must be released in the lower Cowlitz (below the Barrier Dam); these fish provide natural production and enhance fishing opportunities in the upper river. With an improved run of 4,900 spring chinook expected in 2003, the daily limit is six salmon, with no more than two adults. All chinook with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed from January 1 through July 31. Fall chinook abundance is expected to be down slightly, while coho should be up from last year. All chum and wild coho salmon must be released. Some sturgeon fishing takes place in the lower river; sturgeon regulations are the same as in the Columbia. A smelt (eulachon) fishery is available based on improved runs. For updated smelt information, call the WDFW office in Vancouver at (360) 696-6211 and press *1010. For river flows, visit NOAA's web site at http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/data/streamflow/nwrfc/cowlitz.html or call Tacoma Power's toll-free fishing hotline at (888) 502-8690. Boat launching facilities include Gerhart Gardens, operated by Longview Parks and Recreation Department; Hog Island, managed by Cowlitz County Parks and Recreation; and Olequa ramp, managed by WDFW. For boat launch directions and information on the internet, go to http://boat.iac.wa.gov. Refer to the Lewis County listing for additional Cowlitz River information.