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How to fish the Cowlitz river from the bank.

Types of fish encountered-

Depending on the time of the year, you will encounter cutthroat trout, steelhead, Chinook & Coho salmon.  Also in the fall when the salmon are in you will encounter Jack salmon, usually Chinook.  A "Jack" is anything under 24", they usually will be  about 18"+.   It has been reported of a sturgeon pulled at the mouth of the Toutle.

it's in the net!

Where to go

The most popular spot for bank fishing the Cowlitz is probably at the barrier dam.   Downstream accessed with a short walk from the Trout Hatchery site is the mouth of Blue Creek& is a good location if you like company.  Farther downstream there is a boat launch at the Mission bar. Then farther yet the mouth of Olequa Creek and farther yet would be the mouth of the Toutle.  All of these are accessible to the public.  As with any river it may be best to go there & take a look when the water is low in the summer.  Note the locations of the large rocks, gravel bars, holes, logs/stumps, etc.  This will give you some idea of where to fish later when the water is higher & the fish move into the river system.

Different types of fishing-
            Bobbers used with bait/jigs


Reels-  Most bank fishermen will probably use a spinning outfit, as it seems to be easier to cast farther that is needed in this larger river.  What ever reel you decide to use it should have a GOOD drag system, as you do not have the luxury of being in a boat that you can pick up & chase a large fish if it decides to run.

Rods- A 8' 6" medium weight salmon/steelhead rod will probably be seen mostly, as it can be used well for cutthroat, or Chinook.   Some of the dedicated jig fishermen use a 10-11' rod.

Line- Line will possibly vary depending the time of the year & what is in the river.  But normally a 12-15# mono will do.  If Chinook are the quarry, then maybe up to 20# could be used.

The above information was used with the permission LeeRoy Wisner of
LeeRoy Wisner had posted several EXTREMELY informative articles on the Puget Sound Anglers website and we strongly recommend visiting that website or
click here to email him directly. As an editor's note I must say that in my lifetime of searching every available resource I have never come across so many helpful and informative articles as those written by LeeRoy Wisner. Thanks again and hats to LeeRoy for giving us permission to post these articles so that you can learn more about fishing and hopefully you catch more fish!