The Rivers & Locations We Fish.


Cowlitz River

The Cowlitz River
The Cowlitz River is located in southwest Washington State right off Interstate 5. The river is about two and a half hours south of Seattle and two hours north of Portland, Oregon. It is about two and a half hours from the Tri Cities area in eastern Washington. The Cowlitz is the number one steelhead producer in the state of Washington for winter and summer run steelhead. There are two species of Pacific salmon - the Chinook Salmon (or King Salmon) and the Coho Salmon (or Silver Salmon). The Cowlitz River starts off Mount Rainier and runs through the Cascade Range ultimately dumping into the Columbia River which empties into the Pacific Ocean. This is a large river fished primarily by jet sled boats. The area is very rural and beautiful with an abundance of wildlife including deer, bald eagles, osprey, and blue heron.

Winter Run Steelhead on the Cowlitz River
The Cowlitz River is the number one steelhead river in the state of Washington. It averages the largest numbers of hatchery reared steelhead in the months of March and April. During March and April you'll find the return of the three-salt winter run steelhead. A three-salt steelhead means they stay in the ocean for three years before they return back to fresh water. These fish range in size from 10 - 17 pounds. From mid December through mid January is the time frame in which the two-salt winter run steelhead appear. They live two years in the salt water before returning home to the fresh water. Their average weight is 7 - 10 pounds. Approximately 95% of these winter run steelhead are hatchery fish. For the person who wants to take fish home to the dinner table this is a great fishery. These fish are chrome bright and excellent eating.

Summer Run Steelhead on the Cowlitz River
The top producer of summer run steelhead is, again, the Cowlitz River. These fish start returning in June through October. They range in size from 7 - 17 pounds. The weather is warm and the fishing is great. Go to our steelhead section to learn more about the steelhead.

Olympic Peninsula Fishing


The Olympic Peninsula
We fish out of the Forks area where there are five rivers in a fourteen mile radius: Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Hoh, Calawa, and Quillayute Rivers. Forks is located on the west coast of Washington State 55 miles south on Highway 101 from Port Angeles. From Aberdeen it is 100 miles north on Highway 101. From Seattle it is roughly a 3-1/2 hour drive to Forks. From Portland the drive to Forks is approximately four hours and from Olympia it is approximately three hours. These five rivers cascade out of the Olympic Mountain Range through dense beautiful forests to the Pacific Ocean.

Steelhead Fishing on the Olympic Peninsula
The Hoh, Bogachiel, Sol Duc, Callawa, and Quillayute Rivers offer some of the best native steelhead fishing in the world. Many trophy fish over 20 pounds are landed every season. These fish have the genetic background and endurance for strong runs and fighting abilities that will leave you in awe. Many a fisherman have dreamed of catching this elusive fish.

Salmon Fishing on the Olympic Peninsula
The pristine rivers are home to wild Pacific Chinook Salmon (King Salmon) and Coho Salmon (Silver Salmon) in abundant numbers. The biggest of the salmon family is the Chinook. Their average weight is 20 - 25 pounds, however, fish in the 40 - 50 pound class are not uncommon. Coho's average 8 - 11 pounds and it is not uncommon to get them in the upper teens and lower twenties.

Columbia River


Salmon & Steelhead Fishing on the Columbia River
We fish the Columbia River mid March through October for spring kings, summer chinook, summer steelhead, and fall kings and coho salmon. The Columbia River has a tremendous number of salmon and steelhead migrating upstream to the tributaries which flow in to the Columbia River. This means great opportunities for fishing the Columbia at certain times of the year.  In 2011 the Columbia River had an annual adult salmon return of 1.8 million fish and a 489,198 adult steelhead return.  

Lewis River


Fishing on the East Fork and the North fork of the Lewis River
There are two branches to the Lewis River:  East Fork and the North Fork.

The East Fork Lewis River is a beautiful little river which is drift boats only.  We fish the East Fork from Thanksgiving through mid January for winter run steelhead.  It has hatchery and wild winter runs.  All wild fish must be released.  This little river can be hot fishing and a lot of fun!  

The North Fork Lewis River is the biggest river of the two branches.

  It has a great fishery for spring salmon, summer run steelhead, fall salmon (Kings and Coho), and winter run steelhead.  Many times the North Fork is the river of choice because it's beautiful and the fishing can be on fire.

Drano Lake

Drano Lake Spring Chinook
Drano Lake is in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. If you want to fish on big numbers of spring chinook, Drano is the place to go.  Limits of hatchery spring chinook are frequent.  We fish a short window at Drano Lake.  Through past experiences April 25 - May 12 is the best time period for catches and quality.  


Fishing Updates


June - July - August - September - October

  • The Columbia River is expected to have around 70,000 Summer Kings. There will be good opportunity to bag some of these beautiful summer chinook. At the same time, summer run steelhead will be coming in to the Columbia from June through August and sockeye from June 15. These will be multi specie fishing trips.

  • The Cowlitz River summer run smolt release 2 years ago was 650,000. In years past when we had a smolt release this size it was LIMITS R US!!

  • We will be fishing the Cathlamet area at different times during the summer. The opportunities can be very good at times. We'll be keeping an eye on it closely.

  • The fall chinook run will be off and running starting latter August and in to October 10.

  • Olympic Peninsula Fall Salmon runs start October 15 through November 15.

  • There will be great opportunities all summer and fall! LET'S GO FISHING!!
    Don Kinsey
    Salmon and Steelhead Guide Service
    253 670-8923

don.kinsey@gmail.com  Copyright The Website Guy & Don Kinsey Fishing


Home Page Salmon Fishing Steelhead Fishing The Rivers Fishing Trip Info Photo Gallery Contact Us