Kalama River Fishing

Kalama River Fishing

Kalama River beautiful drift

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, WA.

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

There is both an early returning and late returning run of hatchery steelhead on the Kalama River.

Updated status on hatchery late winter steelhead returning to the Kalama River

The above graph will update every Thursday typically.

When to fish for winter steelhead on the Kalama River?

As you can see, the winter steelhead kind of trickle in until mid-March when things really take off and into early April when you see the peak of the run typically.

Forecast for 2023-2024 Kalama River Winter Steelhead

Note: Smolts planted in the 2022 year will predominantly return as 3-year fish in the 2023-2024 winter steelhead season or in the case of summer steelhead, the 2023 summer steelhead season.

What’s exciting about the above chart is that 2022 represents a continued uptrend in smolt plants for the Kalama River basin, which if combined with improving ocean conditions, chances are decent for having a good season.

Hatchery winter steelhead returns from 2013-2023

Even with increased smolt plants, the 2023 winter steelhead escapement was slightly lower than in 2022.

Hopefully, the 2023-2024 winter steelhead run on the Kalama remains steady and in line with the 2022 numbers.

I have several important resources on PNWBestLife.com and the YouTube channel to help you become a better winter steelhead angler.

The Kalama River has quickly one of my favorite places to target salmon and steelhead because of the usually good river definition and ease of identifying good holding water.

It all starts with reading water. Check out our guide: How to read water for winter steelhead.

Also, check out the YouTube video.

There are many presentation styles that can have success for steelhead on the Kalama River.

My favorite is the float fishing technique, and in particular, using small 1/8 oz jigs tipped with a bit of shrimp.

I’ve also got a complete guide to Winter Steelhead Fishing you should check out and again, an accompanying YouTube video below:

Fishing Regulations on the Kalama River for 2023-2024

Species Date Additional Rules

from mouth to railroad bridge below I-5 CRC (604)

Trout

Year-round

Min. size 14”. Daily limit 2.

Steelhead (hatchery)

Year-round

Min. size 20”. Daily limit 3.

Other game fish

Year-round

Statewide min. size/daily limit.

Salmon

Jan. 1-July 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 2 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

Aug. 1-Dec. 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 3 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

from the railroad bridge below I-5 to Modrow Bridge CRC (604)

All species

Apr. 1-Oct. 31

Night closure. Anti-snagging rule.

Year-round

CLOSED WATERS – from Modrow Bridge downstream to a set of markers approximately 1000’ below the temporary rack, while rack is installed in the river below Modrow Bridge.

Trout

Year-round

Min. size 14”. Daily limit 2.

Steelhead (hatchery)

Year-round

Min. size 20”. Daily limit 3.

Other game fish

Year-round

Statewide min. size/daily limit.

Salmon

Jan. 1-July 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 2 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

Aug. 1-Dec. 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 3 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

from upstream of the Modrow Bridge to the natural gas pipeline crossing CRC (603)

All species

Internal combustion motors prohibited.

Apr. 1-Oct. 31

Night closure. Anti-snagging rule.

Trout

Year-round

Min. size 14”. Daily limit 2.

Steelhead (hatchery)

Year-round

Min. size 20”. Daily limit 3.

Other game fish

Year-round

Statewide min. size/daily limit.

Salmon

Jan. 1-July 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 2 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

Aug. 1-Dec. 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 3 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

from the natural gas pipeline crossing to the deadline at the intake to the Fallert Creek Hatchery CRC (603)

All species

Internal combustion motors prohibited.

Apr. 1-Oct. 31

Anti-snagging rule. Night closure.

Sept. 1-Oct. 31

Fly fishing only, except use of barbed hooks is allowed.

Trout

Year-round

Min. size 14”. Daily limit 2.

Steelhead (hatchery)

Year-round

Min. size 20”. Daily limit 3.

Other game fish

Year-round

Statewide min. size/daily limit.

Salmon

Jan. 1-July 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 2 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

Aug. 1-Dec. 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 3 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

from intake of the Fallert Creek Hatchery to 1,000’ below fishway at Kalama Falls Hatchery CRC (603)

All species

Internal combustion motors prohibited.

Trout

Year-round

Min. size 14”. Daily limit 2.

Steelhead (hatchery)

Year-round

Min. size 20”. Daily limit 3.

Other game fish

Year-round

Statewide min. size/daily limit.

Salmon

Jan. 1-July 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 2 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

Aug. 1-Dec. 31

Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6 including no more than 3 adults. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

from 1,000’ below fishway to 1,000’ above fishway at Kalama Falls Hatchery

All species

CLOSED WATERS.

from 1,000’ above fishway at Kalama Falls hatchery upstream to Summers Creek CRC (602)

All species

Selective gear rules, except barbed hooks are allowed.

Trout

Year-round

Min. size 14”. Daily limit 2.

Steelhead (hatchery)

Year-round

Min. size 20”. Daily limit 3.

Other game fish

Year-round

Statewide min. size/daily limit.

from Summers Creek upstream to the intersection of 6000 and 6420 Rds. CRC (602)

All species

Fly fishing only, except barbed hooks are allowed.

Trout

Year-round

Min. size 14”. Daily limit 2.

Steelhead (hatchery)

Year-round

Min. size 20”. Daily limit 3.

Other game fish

Year-round

Statewide min. size/daily limit.

from the intersection of 6000 and 6420 Rds. to 6600 Rd. Bridge immediately downstream of Jacks Creek CRC (602)

All species

Selective gear rules, except barbed hooks are allowed.

Trout

Sat. before Memorial Day-Nov. 30

Min. size 14”. Daily limit 2.

Steelhead (hatchery)

Sat. before Memorial Day-Nov. 30

Min. size 20”. Daily limit 3.

Other game fish

Sat. before Memorial Day-Nov. 30

Statewide min. size/daily limit.

from 6600 Rd. Bridge (just downstream of Jacks Creek) to Kalama Falls and tributaries

All species

CLOSED WATERS.

Please refer to WDFW’s emergency rules page for a full list of rules that are in effect.

It’s your responsibility as the recreational angler to know ALL of these rules, not just what is discussed here on the blog.