The Chehalis River

Species:
Winter and Summer Steelhead, Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, Chum Salmon, Searun Cutthroat, White and Green Sturgeon, Large Mouth Bass
Location:
Enters the east end of Grays Harbor
Directions:
Take I-5 to Grand Mound and turn west on to U.S.12, following the river downstream. Or take Highway 8 west from Olympia and either turn south to follow the Chehalis upstream toward Oakville or continue west to parallel the river downstream to Aberdeen.
Facilities:
Boat ramps are located in Cosmopolis, as well as of Highway 107 just south of Montesano, just upsrteam from the mouth of the Satsop River, at Porter. and at Cedarville.
Fishing the lower Chehalis River:
The Chehalis can be a hot bed for salmon fishing activity. When the runs are booming, boat anglers flock to the popular boat ramp beneath the Highway 107 bridge just south of Montesano and work both upstream and downstream. Trolling with Wiggle Warts, Hot ‘N’ Tots, Hot Shots, Flatfish, Kwikfish and other diving plugs often works best for the Kings. Myself I prefer fishing with a Fish Flash and one ounce of lead with a cut-plug herring alongside the shoreline. Fish tend to stay to the side with the least amount of sunshine. I have marked fish in as little as 2-3 feet of water. Kings in this river can reach up to the 50# mark, with Trophy Coho Salmon heading to the Satsop river, some as big or bigger than 20#. Trolling spinners can work good for the coho action. Bobber and egg clusters too can work further up river. Most of the action takes place in September and October. Chum salmon runs have been on the decline in the last few years. Most of the Chum are bound for the Satsop River. Chums will also hit diving plugs that happen to be in the shade of green or chartruese. Drift fishing with green yarn and a bobber combination will also be effective. Both bank and boat anglers take winter steelhead from the Chehalis, with the best fishing usually occuring from January to March. As with the rivers salmon, many of the steelhead caught here are bound for the river’s two main tributaries, the Satsop and the Wynoochie. Trolling plugs or diver and bait rigs account for most of the action, but plunkers fishing shrimp, roe, and or Spin N Glos from the bank also will take a few fish. There is a targeted amount of Sturgeon fishing on the river. I personally have seen 10-12 footers roll in the rivers mouth. The Chehalis has been stocked with as many as 14,00 Sea-run Cutthroat smolts in the past few years. All wild Cutthroats must be released. Although often overlooked because of many other possibilities, the Lower Chehalis offers some fairly good bass fishing, especially in some of the slow-moving sloughs downstream from Montesano. Largemouths are the main target of anglers efforts, but local rumor has it that some places hold smallmouth too.

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