Chehalis River Winter Steelhead 2022-2023

Perfect steelhead drift

What’s really going on with the Chehalis River winter steelhead season of 2022-2023? Why are recreational anglers being denied access to consume hatchery steelhead and coho which have been raised for the purpose of consumption via the license fees we’ve spent?

Is this all to protect and conserve the vital wild stocks of steelhead whose numbers have dipped precipitously over the last decade and haven’t shown signs of recovery?

Some of the answers may surprise you…

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Lewis River Winter Steelhead Fishing 2022-2023

Nice hatchery winter steelhead

The Lewis River drains the western flanks of Mt Adams and the foothills of the Gifford Pinchot National forest and is dammed up to form 3 reservoirs at it flows westward.

The lowest of these reservoirs is Lake Merwin and the outtake of the Lake Merwin Dam creates the lower Lewis River that fills with returning hatchery winter steelhead throughout the winter months culminating with the final push of fish and spawning in the early springtime.

The Lewis River dumps into the Columbia River near the town of Woodland, WA. The Lewis is a larger river than it’s next door cousin (The Kalama), and is much harder to bank fish certain spots (though not impossible) due to its size. Luckily, steelhead prefer traveling through soft edges and current seams often reachable from the shore.

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Kalama River Winter Steelhead Fishing 2022-2023

Haul of winter steelhead

The Kalama River drains the southwest flanks of Mt St Helens in southwest Washington and winds its way through foothills and timberland until it dumps into the Columbia River just north of the town of Kalama.

The winter steelhead run on the Kalama is typically a decent bet due to the numbers of returning steelhead relative to size of the river which is probably considered medium sized depending on levels of rain.

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Satsop River Winter Steelhead Fishing 2022-2023

Satsop River Steelhead

The Satsop originates on the south slopes of the majestic Olympic mountains and runs south as three separates forks (west, middle and east) before combining in the last 10 river miles before the confluence with the Chehalis.

There’s a small run of hatchery steelhead returning to Bingham Creek Hatchery. The Satsop river is usually overlooked in favor of the Wynoochee when it comes to steelhead rivers in the area.

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