Summer Steelhead

This fishery is a very popular time of year with warm weather and the action can be lights out. We fish the Cowlitz, Wynoochee, Lewis and Columbia by side drifting, eggs, and anchor fishing as the ways we fish for them.

The Cowlitz River is a river in the state of Washington in the United States, a tributary of the Columbia River. Its tributaries drain a large region including the slopes of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens. The river is roughly 105 miles (169 km) long, not counting tributaries. There are two hatcheries that provide an exceptional sportfishing opportunity for recreational anglers in Washington and Oregon. The Cowlitz river consistently ranks as one of the states top ten steelhead and salmon producers.

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Salmon Fishing on the West Coast

The Lewis River is a tributary of the Columbia River, about 95 miles (153 km) long, in southwestern Washington in the United States.

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, flows northwest and then south into the U.S. state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river is 1,243 miles (2,000 km) long, and its largest tributary is the Snake River.

Join Swanny's Guided Fishing for the absolute best fishing anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Did you know?....Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species of fish; rainbow are the freshwater form, and steelhead the anadromous form. (Definition of anadromous: ascending rivers from the sea for breeding).Steelhead and cutthroat trout were recently added to the salmon genus, Oncorhynchus, from the trout genus, Salmo. Also, the scientific name of steelhead changed from Salmo gairdneri to Oncorhynchus mykiss.

They return to their original hatching ground to spawn. Similar to Atlantic salmon, but unlike their Pacific Oncorhynchus salmonid kin, steelhead are iteroparous (able to spawn several times, each time separated by months) and make several spawning trips between fresh and salt water. The steelhead smolts (immature or young fish) remain in the river for about a year before heading to sea, whereas salmon typically return to the seas as smolts. Different steelhead populations migrate upriver at different times of the year. "Summer-run steelhead" migrate between May and October, before their reproductive organs are fully mature. They mature in freshwater before spawning in the spring. Most Columbia River steelhead are "summer-run". "Winter-run steelhead" mature fully in the ocean before migrating, between November and April, and spawn shortly after returning. The maximum recorded life-span for a rainbow trout is 11 years.

Steelhead spawn in the spring. They generally prefer fast water in small-to-large mainstem rivers, and medium-to-large tributaries. In streams with steep gradient and large substrate, they spawn between these steep areas, where the water is flatter and the substrate is small enough to dig into. The steeper areas then make excellent rearing habitat for the juveniles.

State Record Catch Steelhead, summer-run Oncorhynchus mykiss 35.06 lbs Gilbert Pierson Snake River, Whitman County November 23, 1973


Swanny's Guided Fishing Fall Kings
Bill Swann
PO Box 156
Yelm, Wa 98597
360-446-5177 or 206-755-1204
Email Swanny at
Wikipedia contributors. "Cowlitz River." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 1 Apr. 2011. Web. 8 Apr. 2011. Wikipedia contributors. "Lewis River (Washington)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 1 Apr. 2011. Web. 8 Apr. 2011. Wikipedia contributors. "Columbia River." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 Apr. 2011.,