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Discussion Starter #1
I've done some searching for info online, but haven't come up with a ton. I pulled this:

"There are bascially four drifts: Barrier Dam to the ramp at Blue Creek (the most popular run), blue Creek to what's called Massey or Mission Bar, Mission Bar to a boat ramp under I-5, and i-5 to the mouth of Olequa Creek."

I'm wondering about flywater on the cowlitz, namely in terms of whether it diminishes vs. gear water as you approach the last take out. I'm also wondering if it would be feasible to do a multi-day float to cover all sections. Are there gravel bars or islands you could pitch a tent on, etc...

Any info is appreciated. Feel free to pm if you prefer.

Trevor
 

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Trevor,
My understanding is that most of the land abutting the river is private, however, this is not to say one couldn't pitch a tent. There is public camping at both Barrier and Blue Creek. It would be easier to base yourself at Blue Creek Hatchery which splits the Barrier and Blue to Massey drifts. Be prepared for alot of boat and side drifter traffic around the Blue Creek to Massey Bar section. As for water....well I will let you figure that out for your self...."all about the hunt". One final note, be forewarned that leaving your camping equipment unsecured is not a wise move.:saeek:

Chas
"What ever it takes to stay in the game"
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Chas-

Thanks for the reply. I've heard that the top can be pretty crowded, but I figured I'd drift it just to see the water, fish when/where it makes sense... I'm guessing it's decent through those four drifts, if not lower. I've only seen the river where I-5 crosses it, and that seems worth exploring. Having seen the lewis where I-5 crosses it, I'm making the assumption that the Cowlitz has a similar low-gradient section as it approaches the Columbia. Needless to say, I'd like to arrange a pick-up before I reach that point.
 

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Cowlitz

There is plenty of fly water from the Barrier Dam all the way to Olequa Creek. Not far below that the Toutle comes in and makes it muddy most of the year. Right now the visiblity is staring to drop due to the snow melt in the mountains. As both upper lakes fill and turn to mud it can be a long time until the river clears again.

We have run from the barrier to I-5 several times in my Christmas present searching out new fly water trying to seperate from the crowds.


Skilly
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Skilly, good to know about the vis issues. I normally think of lakes and dams as able to improve vis, but I suppose it depends on the size of the impoundment.
 

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Cowlits

Mostly the lakes will filter the mud some but with an input of 2200 and an out put of 6500 the lakes a filling with mud at a prettty fast rate. we were out yesterday and they had raised it to 6500 and it is still good visability but it is getting worse. Once both big lakes are full of mud thats allot of water to get rid of to get the river clean again. It may remain fishable with big stuff but it rmains to be seen. Sometimes it turns brown and stays that way for a couple of months. I just live 15 min from the boat ramp so we fish it a bit.

Skilly
 

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Trevor,

Watch for the flow to come down during the summer. When it gets to 2,500 cfs, it is no longer possible to run a jet boat all the way between Barrier and Blue Creek, so the traffic thins out. That can be an excellent time to float it. You'll see a few jet boats in the first few holes downstream from Barrier and then have the river mostly to yourself until a few holes upstream of Blue Creek.

On the Cowlitz, most of the fly water is also gear water, with some important exceptions. The inverse is not true however. There is much gear water that you can never reach effectively with a fly. I don't worry about it. As notorious as the Cowlitz is, I find that most gear anglers leave me and the water I'm fishing alone, but I make a point of not getting bothered by the few that don't. It's the Cowlitz after all.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've been thinking about the cowlitz for August... Any word on vis, fish, fishing pressure, etc?
 

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I fished it again last Friday. Water was down to a little over 3 kcfs. Excellent fly fishing conditions, except a little too much jet boat boondoggin' company. Saw two steelhead caught. My friends and I drew a complete blank.

There are fish, but the river isn't thick with them. It's worth fishing in my opinion, but I like that river.

Sg
 

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Cowlitz in September

Yes, you can easily find a place to camp along the river if your aren't to picky. I don't think open fires are allowed though. This is a great time to fish the cowlitz. Summer runs are still in there, masny in chrome condition and just about everywhere ( don't be afraid to use a floating line mid-day.. small files in black. size 6 or so. That would be about an inch or so overall length. If it looks too small and low water dressed for comfort, it is what you should use. But sometimes it is hard to get them through the cutthroat that will be showing up a bit later in the year.

Chinook are starting to show. This will push the steelies out of their holding holes and make the tail out and flats much better fishing. There will also be some silvers around the Olequa boat launch, try stripping streamer patterns in the boils at the top of those holes. And ..yes.. A chinook may grab your floating size six in typical steelhead waters..wahoooo!!!

Tight lines. MM
 
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