Are you ready for more Washington Steelhead drama prior to the 2023-2024 season?

Steelhead breaking surface

Hopefully you are right in the middle of a great run of salmon on your local river as chinook, pinks and coho all steam into streams all over Western Washington.

While, summer seems to have just ended (emphatically) with the latest edition of the atmospheric river arriving this weekend and continuing into next week, it’s never too early to start previewing what we can expect during the 2023-2024 winter steelhead season.

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Cowlitz River Summer Steelhead Fishing 2023

Cowlitz summer steelhead 2023

The Cowlitz River flows from the southeast side of glacier surrounded Mount Rainier. The Cowlitz flows freely through miles of mountain forest and valleys west of Highway 12  until it hits Mossyrock Dam. Stopped up flows create Riffle Lake as a large reservoir in southwestern Washington.

From there, the Cowlitz River flows a short distance before hitting Mayfield Dam, creating a smaller reservoir in Mayfield Lake. Downstream from Mayfield lake is the Barrier Dam spillway and below that is the section of river that most anglers are interested in as all of the hatchery salmon and steelhead return to hatcheries in this stretch.

The Cowlitz River later flows into the Columbia River and then into the Pacific.

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