cowlitz speyfishing [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: cowlitz speyfishing

08-03-2002, 12:40 PM
Has anyone here spey fished the cowlitz? I tried it years ago and remember a surley crowd not too enthused about the guy with the "bright fishing line". That was more than 15 yrs ago at the blue creek location. You've got the picture now...bad experience.
I now have a couple catarafts and my wife and I have entertained the thought of floating it with our spey rods. Most information that comes out from this fishery is from the gear-head crowd...only partially usefull. If anyone who has floated it and has info on some nice stretches to work with a two-hander, let me know.
Thanks in advance,

08-03-2002, 06:04 PM
Only advice I could give you is to either fight the crowds on the bank or fish down near confluence near mouth. You'd be WELL advised to stay away from Barrier Dam all the way down bas Cracker and Mission bars. You're in prime boondogging water, and a cataraft hauling spey fishermen is a bad idea. I'm not telling you not to, but I'd advise it as bad. In case some of you have never boondogged, it is a style of fishing where you keep boat drifting just well enough downstream so your bait flows with boat, then once you hit end of drift you fire up the jetpump and head back to top of slot. Nothing worse then being in a small cataraft and having a big sled roar past you. Especially if you're in a lower end Outcast/Buck's. You'll be rocking for sure.

Just my .02. Plenty of fish, just a pain with a fly.

08-03-2002, 06:40 PM
I've fished it extensively more recently than 15 yrs, but not very often since moving from the area. In my opinion, floating from Barrier to Blue -or- Blue to Massey, getting out on vacant pools and working the Spey rod thru would be no problem and very likely to result in a pull on the line.

I fish it most often shlepping around on shore but the key is to stay away from the Blue Creek confluence. The river has a tremendous area to cover and phenomenal numbers of fish. Too bad we decided to put up the dams and convert what was once a great Columbia trib's native summer and winter run into a hatchery thing. Before we made that mistake on this great river, it was probably comparable to one of the major British Columbia streams on the North Coast. A shame, really.

I love the river, when I fish it I dream of the river before the Mayfield and Riffe, etc.

I'd say you'd be OK if you just float out of the main channel from pool to pool and get out of the raft to fish. To SH69's point you'd be much better off on a weekday!

Green Butt
08-03-2002, 10:44 PM
David V

I live near the Cowlitz and speyfish it fairly often.
I don't drift it, just go to favorite spots. Many speyfisherman fish the Cowlitz. I hardly ever go to Blue Creek, but I know you'll see speyfisherman there almost everyday. I also know speyfisherman who drift the river.
The rudest jetsledders I have ever seen are on the Cowlitz. They're not all rude but many here have little respect for a wading fisherman. I just tell myself that this is the river where those guys get to do their thing and try not to let it bother me much.
The river is very low now which deters the big sleds. Also the river has been full of fish. It's a good time to go.
Good Luck

08-04-2002, 01:48 AM
Thanks you guys. Yeah, I've encountered the rude thing up there...obviously. This is just one of those rivers that many gear guides make a living on so it's very competitive from their perspective. I thought floating down away from blue creek might allow my wife and I to swing our two-handers....its been a couple months since I've used one so I'm getting a bit stir crazy. Maybe this isn't the answer..hehehe. Id rather hit the deschutes but most reports have the river at or close to 70 degrees..with the columbia running cooler...usually a waste of time from my experience. Guess I'll have to pack up the boats, shooting heads and single handers and head up to Drano lake or the Big white and chase the schools of fish around up there until things come around on the deschutes.


08-04-2002, 12:13 PM
If you were at the Sandy Clave last May you would have seen a couple of guys demonstrating a cast called the wild turkey #1 & #2. These casts started out being called the Blue Creek Special. Obviously these guys fish that area a lot.

Float the river on a week day. Stop and talk to any Spey fishers you see. And if you run into Steve Choate or Billy Williams, pay attention, and say hello for me.


08-05-2002, 07:04 PM
I hooked 2 and landed 1 last Sunday on the Cow. Was not using a spey rod but it would have been right at home where I was fishing.

Hope to get a 7136 soon and do not think it would be a problem. Just helps to get on the water before sunrise and off by 8am if you are fishing on a weekend.


08-05-2002, 10:03 PM
Sean, or anyone else,

If you want a 7136, I have a green one that I am thinking of selling.