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Discussion Starter #1
Gonna be in the longview /Kelso area near the end of june,any advice on where a guy can slap water in hopes of a few summers .I have never fished in Washington and have no clue where to fish this area .Will be fishing with a local rod on the 26th. The 25th and 27th ,I'm solo and could use a few helpful tips .Also wondering what i'll need in the way of licensing ,and where is a good place to pick this up (tackle store,or hardware store etc.).Thanks in advance.
 

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a/k/a loophitech
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howdy ironspey....

all the rivers you mentioned can be/are very productive and are within a 1/2 hour to hour drive from kelso. the south fork toutle is a beautiful river to fish and the view of mt. st. helens always seems to amaze me on the way up.

the kalama has plenty of walk in access and lots of places to find holding fish. the lower hatchery has a nice run below it and a deep pool on the far bank with a few big boulders strewn into the mix. the top of the kalama at the 1000' foot mark (there is a nice downhill stroll,) almost vertical and a really nice glide with lots of holding areas after the leisurely stroll down the cliff! :)

the cowlitz, i have not fished yet and would like and if i were not moving to the east coast i would defeintely hit the cowlitz and other rivers with you. a lady i was speaking to the sportsman's warehous mentioned that there some steel being caught.

other rivers to consider would be the washougal, the sandy in oregon, wynoochee, satsop and a plethora (damn blazing saddles heightened my vocabulary!) of others within 1 to 1 1/2 hours drive.

if you can get hold of a non mototized boat (drift) of a float tube there is also merrill lake that has outstanding cutthroat and rainbows.

too many places to fish, not enough time!!!!

as far as a license, hit any Big 5 (sporting good store), or the (for the life of me i can not remember the fly/bait shop on kalama river road) along the main road on the river. you can buy them online also, i believe.

if i can think of anything else, i will PM you.

Vinnie
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Pritchards Western Angler - a must for a cold drink, some local flies and words of advice.

Oh man do I long for those never ending June days on a summer run stream again. Less fish around than late August / Sept but the ones that are there are the cream of the crop, bright as a bullet train.

What I usually do is hit three rivers if I have three days... north to south would be Cow, Kalama, E.F. Lewis; or south to north vice-versa.

Cowlitz is a big spey river even in summer, it lets you air out long casts that are practical for the fishing there. Kalama is a small cast river, but with big fish. EFL is a little bigger than the Kalama and holds the state reccord summer fish of over 30 pounds.

Sometimes one of them won't let me leave and I skip the next river in line. Or other times I drive at noon after morning fishing to take the afternoon on the next river. Camping is easy and free on the river bank and you're first on the run.

Good luck, wish it were me taking three days in late June!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all the advice guys ,really nice to have some kinda heads up,when limited to time and steelheading is involved :smokin: .
Sounds like it's gonna be Kalama ,the SF toutle and on the last day, the Cowlitz .
Reading STS for 20 years and this is my first trip below the imaginary line for chrome ,gonna get a sore neck pasing rivers I'm told .
 

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First off I wouldn't come to Southwest Washington as a first timer and expect to get " a few summers".

Here are your options

1. the Cowlitz, this by far has the largest run of fish and the fish most likely to respond to a fly

2. The Kalama this has a mix of wild and hatchery fish, the vast majority being hatchery. as with all southerstern WA rivers summer steelhead are in extremely poor shape. This river can be crowded at times and though there is some good access it gets less and less every year because of development.

3 the South Fork toutle This is an all hatchery run in the summer and it sees reletively light pressure, it's a small river and by late June could be running very low but should have some fish in it. again these are all hatchery fish if you catch one kill the thing and eat it,

4. East Fork Lewis this has a mix of wild and hatchery fish but wild fish are very few and far between. Tis river has plenty of access but by late june the only good fishing will be early and late in the day. The rest of the day the river will be loaded with swimmers

5 North Fork Lewis a large river with mostly hatchery fish and lots of jet sleds fish here are in my experience ver unresponsive to a swung fly but if you fish hard you might get one, if you fish a sink tip or a weighted fly.


I hope i don't sound too negative it's just that nowadays we have a wide variety of really poor quality fisheries to choose from. Sorry to say but we have destroyed our fisheries and what's left is just scraps but with some luck you might get a fish or two.
 

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No one has brought up 'equipment' here so I'll jump in. Many, if not all of these rivers (The Cow being a major exception!) will probably be fairly low and clear (Rob, JUMP IN HERE ANYTIME AND CORRECT THIS!!) so a 6 or 7 wt rod should be plenty.
 

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on most of the rivers a 2wt would be perfect cause all your gonna find is smolts.. Most of them in the lower reaches don't even have trout, which is a huge biologial problem but we won't go there now..

The Kalama could be fished with a short 6-7 spey but all the other area rivers with the exception of the North Lewis and the Cowlitz would be much better fished with a 5-7 wt single hander..
 
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