Mason and I took the boat to the Cowlitz and headed up river from the town of Toledo. We fished water from Toledo all the way up to the Blue Creek area. It was fun to spend a day on a river I have never fished before but have heard so much about. There were lots of other jet boats but only one other group of fly anglers. We only watched one steelhead get hooked by other anglers pulling plugs but I bet the gear guys were finding some fish in the deeper water.
The river was pretty clear with around 8 to 10 feet of visibility. We found a few good holes that fished well and found a million cutthroat to take our flies but not much to report on steelhead. The cutthroat were from 4- inches to 16-inches and actually got to be annoying (at least the little ones were) and more than once we switched to larger flies to keep the little guys away. I hooked one fish that was either a monster cutt or a small steelhead but just as it got close enough to tell what it was, it came off. Mason had an encouraging grab that was probably a steelhead but that was it for the day. I think a less sunny day and more color in the river would have helped us a lot… but that’s steelheading I suppose. With all those cutts around, I was wishing I had my 3-weight more than once, though.
Nonetheless, it was a fun day to be on a new river that was fun to explore and fish. We’ll certainly hit it again some day soon and are planning a Cowlitz steelhead and Lake Mayfield tiger musky combo trip. Fun!!