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Swinging flies for steelhead and sea run cutthroat on the Cowlitz River.
The Cowlitz River in southwest Washington is the states largest producer of hatchery steelhead. Because of its large runs, there are fish arriving almost all year long. With tens of thousands of steelhead entering this river each year, this is the place to nail a steelhead on the fly. Another reason anglers flock to the “Cow”, is because of the numbers of coho salmon that arrive in the river from October through December. The Cowlitz gets a bad rap as being a gear anglers haunt, and it is, but there are some great runs and pools to fish where most gear anglers are not to be found. From Barrier Dam down, the river winds through tall timber and lush landscapes on its way to the trout hatchery at Blue Creek.
Although winters in Washington can be dreary with gray skies and horizontal rain, the summers can be the exact opposite with blue bird skies and very warm temperatures. On these days choose to swing traditional fly patterns to summer steelhead or toss small dry flies and streamers to the enormous number of cutthroat trout that reside in the river as well.
Our Cowlitz River fly fishing guide trips are intended to be fun and educational. Our experienced staff of spey casting instructors are passionate about swinging flies and helping our guests become proficient in the craft of spey casting. We highly recommend the use of spey rods on this and all the Puget Sound rivers. We have a full line of them for you to use from Winston, Scott and Sage and our guides are accomplished spey casters and instructors more than happy to teach you this unique style of fly fishing.
Pricing: Full Day $650 – $100 Additional 3rd Angler – All equipment included – Fishing License, WA Sales Tax and Gratuity not included
Season: All year, has both winter and summer run steelhead
EWA Cancellation Policy
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Flies: Intruders, General Practitioner, Metal Detector, Mega Moal, Skagit Minnows, Morrish’s Trailer Trash, River Rats, Fergus Rock Star, Skunks, Purple Perils, Skykomish Sunrises
Ideal Flows: See different recommended river flows here
Clothing/Equipment Lists: Summer season, Winter season
Rods and Lines: 11 1/2 – 13 1/3 foot, 5-8wt spey rods, Rage, Skagit, Scandi, Scout and OPST heads with various tips from floating T-10, T-14 and T-18
Duration: Full day trip 8-9 hours fishing time
Distance from Seattle: 2 hours