My friend Rick and I went to look for newly arrived native steelhead this weekend and find that access on the Kalama, a lovely and perfect sized stream for the fly fisher, is becoming more restricted day-by-day. For any of you out there who may be thinking of fishing the lower Kalama, bring a boat. The good news is that the river is really uncrowded this time of year; all you have to do is find a way to sneak on.
BTW: There is still access at the developed sites, but be sure you have one of those parking decals if you leave your vehicle in one of them.
No fish, but we had a nice day driving around.
Did you happen to notice the photos in Pritchard's? That huge chrome 20+ pounder was a late winter / early spring fish. Maybe they aren't even open this time of year. I'll bet there are a lot of fish in the upper river this time of year.
The water above the last bridge (before closed water 1 mile upriver) is best suited for summer fishing but is usually loaded with fish. The reason it's a summer thing is that you really need to cross to fish it. It's a large pool with very complex smooth granite rock structures and fish in every nook and cranny in fall.
I'd also bet that the pool with the concrete culvert coming in (we called it Howard's Glen because our friend Glen Howard used to fish it almost exclusively) has fish. It's the one upstream from the riffle above the Foundation Hole. The Holy Water is great long-term hold water too.
In the lower river, I'll bet the depths of the Beginner Hole are lined with winter steelhead and the tackle grabber is holding it's share as well.
For a small river, the Kalama has so much character. I used to take rides way up river to count the steelhead beyond the closure point. It's often loaded up there and the fish sit in the open like they feel no threat.
Boy do I ever miss it!
Times have changed. All water above the deadline at the Second Falls is closed to all angling until further notice. The action was taken to provide a sanctuary for wild steelhead until the native runs are replenished. Meanwhile, all hatchery fish are being stopped at the falls and recycled downstream or released in nearby "no outlet" lakes.
Bottom line is most of the places you so eloquently describe are now off-limits.
Thanks for the update. I guess thinking about all those steelhead finding gravel shoals to make redds up above the Kalama headwaters is somewhat reassuring. I suppose the Toutle and Green are closed in it's upper stretches. BTW - has the Toutle cleared up at all? Amazing how over ten years of glacial flow doesn't clear St.Helens silt from it's waters.
Any time prospecting on the East Fork Lewis? I have done very well statistically below the Daybreak bridge, and up above toward Lucia Falls. I ask because it's on the way home from the Kalama.
I also had a friend who swore by the Coweeman in the upper stretches. It would make sense, but looking at the lower section along I5 would lead one to believe it's all frogwater.
I am committed to fishing with you this fall. I'll be out late August / early September with part of the time in Lower Vancouver Island fishing with Aubert Smith (Smitty) of the Rod Builder's Workshop who is donating his time and expertise to the two-handed rod project (east coast surf fishing).
Keep us informed,