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3,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cowlitz was being blown out by the Toutle yesterday afternoon as we arived there.
Forget the lower Cow as it will probably be blown out for approx. a week if not the rest of the season.
You can fish above the Toutle in a boat or limited bank fishing like at the mouth of the Olequa (spelling?)

The Cowlitz has been a big major dissapointment this season for lates. I don't believe the numbers are there and it saw less than 4,000 fish last week and only 4,500 each of the two weeks prior and if I remember right 2,500 the week before and 1,200 before that and a measly 300 when they first started coming.
That's only about 17,000 coho!
Pretty dismal I would think.
I'm not sure because I never fished the Cow much before last year and I was too busy catching to woory about numbers. :grin:
But I would think closer to 50,000 coho for the season would be the norm and around 10,000 a week during the peak.
It's not over yet but as far as I'm concerned it is.

Kalama get's a good shot of fish yesterday with the rain and the river probably raised a foot or so which we really desperately needed.
There's the place to go for late strain coho and you have a good chance of bagging an early run winter which I have seen and heard of quite a few caught already this year going back to the beginning of November.
Tidewater all the way up the Kalama for the lates that are scattered all throughout the river and will bite better now that the low clear senario is momentarily gone.

Coho have been scattered througout the system now for a week or so but have been tough to get to bite with the water conditiond as of late.
Some of the fish were turning/turned and there was some blatant snagging going on both in upper tidewater and the river itself.
I kicked some gigger's out of Art's hole (just below the lower Prichard's store) Saturday and had a talk with a very nice 10 year old boy that was ripping when I got there and come to find out he usually fishes the legit method but all the Big kids (adults) were gigging/snagging and, well...
He was a very well manored kid and he switched back to the right way of fishing and I had a very "nice" talk with him about ethic's and told him he will catch plenty of fish the right way and he will be proud of his catch that way.
Anyway, it's a long story my experiences with the snagger's on Saturday but now some of them seem to leave as I arrive. :wink:

Elocoman suffered an inch of rain without any damage :shrug: and apparently the river didn't rise more than an inch or two and only gained leaves instead of fish.
Don't waste your time driving there.
It will probably get it's last big shot of "late's" this weekend or early next week with the wet stuff.

The Kalama is the place to go for chrome silvers that don't suffer "lock jaw" disease and eggs, spinners and plugs are the way to go there.

Leave the corkie's at home!

(Formerly DopeyBayDan)

[ 11-12-2003, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: skein ]

501 Posts
Thanks for the great report Dan. I might try and give the Kalama a try on Saturday. I going to try and get in a day of crabbing on Friday.


4 Posts
did you actually fish and catch on the Kalama? I stopped by there yesterday evening and talked to some folks fishing at various spots and it sure seemed dead to me. I also spent some time down at Modrow bridge and at tide water watching for rollers and saw not a fish. I have a buddy that's been hitting the Kalama regularly and its been worse than the Cow for lates so far.
Also, don't give up on the Cow yet. I floated the river above the Toutle and put two lates in the boat yesterday.

25 Posts
Me and jokester went to the Elochoman this last weekend, and the river was low and clear. The only fish that were in there were darkies, and there were no bright ones. Corkie and eggs did get us a few on. :wink:

277 Posts

Where do you get your fish count information ?
I live in Scappoose and I semms like I always rub the crystal ball every weekend to see if I want to fish the Cowlitz, Kalama, or Lewis.
just curious.

pan fry

3,904 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cowlitz Fish Report

All the weeks prior to the last one you will see on that report I just have memorized and can't guarantee their accuracy.
But I believe they are in that ball park.
I also did a rough talley in my head and did not use a calculator.

I will call a biologist tomorrow and find out what's going on with the total picture.
They should have a pretty good picture of what has taken place with the earlies by now and it is too early to know what the outcome is for the lates since they will return right on through December.
But they should have an idea if we are on course with the run they anticipated we would have or larger or smaller.
Last year somewhere around the end of October WDFW upped the Cowlitz coho limit in-season to 4 fish a day because of the amount of fish returning up river by then.
There was a lot of fish!
It was rare for me not to get a 2 or 4 fish limit every time I fished and all the fishermen I turned on to the fishery were having about the same results.
This year is a total different story.

This year I haven't seen not one guide fishing the lower Cowlitz.
Last year I saw them every time I went whether fishing off the bank or boat.
This year a 2 fish limit took me an average of 20-40 minutes, this year I have gone 5 hours in a boat without a single bite and maybe only see 2 fish roll.

Yes their are fish going through and if you are in the right place at the right time you can catch fish.
But it is really a "scratch fishery" for the most part.

Yesterday at the Olequa boat ramp;
2 sleds, one that fished from below the Toutle before it blew out and all the way up to Toledo got blanked! This guy held a coho derby a while back and has been doing fair to good at times.
The other sled, 1 coho for his troubles.
This was about 3 in the afternoon.

The report I heard about the Kalama yesterday was second hand, but from a somewhat reliable source.
This morning I was there at day break only surprised to find compromised water color but plenty good for catching with about a foot vis.
By this afternoon it was probably around 3 foot vis.
The local Allen caught a chromer (late coho) last night in the tailout just above Art's hole and saw a lot of fish moving.
The river already had a lot of coho holding in the low clear water and that could have been some of them (the beginners hole was stuffed for example).

It is of my opinion that there were fresh fish moving through but not all that many.
I fished all day long off and on with a couple 2 hour breaks and I caught only one nate in tidewater and one fish on for about 3 seconds at Art's hole.
I did not see hardly any fish moving or rolling all day with the exception of a few when I first got there this morning.
I only covered from the red bridge down to the mouth.
The only other fish I heard of caught were 2 coho's in a drift boat that was taking out at Modrow bridge.
I didn't see them but the guy's that caught them said they weren't chrome but very bright.

Sorry if my report was mis leading but I was unpleasantly surprised this morning and throughout the day myself.
There are fish in there and perhaps a lot in the canyon.
The fish are on a mission this time of year and move rather quickly upriver in high water.
So I don't know.

It is in my opinion that ODFW/WDFW over estimated the hatchery coho returns this year but I haven't fished much until recently and don't know the numbers.
But from what I have seen and heard I think at least the late coho returns are not impressive.
I missed the earlies this season due to moving.
I did fish earlies once in mid September on the Cowlitz (15th&16th) and caught both days and saw a lot of the Toutle fish on the move those two days.

The gill nets didn't get them all as you can see by returning numbers and I had some real easy days on the Elocoman but if the hatchery fish were over estimated and the gill netters were given extra time accordiningly (which I think probably happened) then that is a downer.
Every year I have no problem catching more than enough coho when the nets are in.
They have been out for nearly 2 weeks now and there should have been a lot of late strain coming through unmolested but for some reason, there haven't been.
Don't get me wrong because I can't understand that gillnets are allowed in a river in modern times especially with all the wild fish problems and they indiscriminately killing them.

But every year the nets are in and every year there are thousands of excess hatchery fish (with the exception of El 'Nino years, etc.) and I find it almost too easy at times to catch a limit of chromers.

Got to go help someone with PC problems so that is all I know for now and is my opinion.
It ain't over by no means but I believe this is going to be a real dissapointing Cowlitz late coho return and it was grosly over estimated.

And before you black helo folks jump on that bandwagon, last year they were underestimated big time.
They do the best they can and that's all they can do when it comes to preseason predictions.


4 Posts
Thanks for the Kalama report. We had to work very hard for the two fish we caught on the cow yesterday. I agree that up to this point its been pretty disappointing. I still am keeping my fingers crossed that the late run coho are just delayed by a month and will still make a strong showing here shortly. Let us know what the WDFW biologist has to say that you're going to contact.

596 Posts
I wonder if the gillnetters had something to do with the Low numbers this year In most of the columbia tribs. :mad: :berry:Up river near the washougal there wasnt even a run this year.

419 Posts
Hey! No Limit, You would have to fish below the
Modrow bridge,no powered boats above that point.
yet, there is some holes below, best to launch
below the freeway.If you get off the freeway,
head toward the Columbia, the launch is on the
left, after the rr tracks. :dance: :dance:
Good Luck.
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