Winter and Summer Run Steelhead, Chinook, Coho, and Chum Salmon, Sea-Run Cutthroat
Joins the Chehalis River at Elma
Take Highway 8 (U.S.12) from Olympia to Satsop, which is about four miles west of Elma. Turn right (north) onto East Satsop Road and follow it upriver.
Schafer State Park, located on the East Fork Satsop, has tent sites and a few spaces with RV hookups, plus restrooms. Gas, food, lodging, and tackle are available in Elma.
In 2010 there where 58,800 winter-run smolts released on the east fork of the Satsop, they should be returning in the winter of 2012-2013.
Fishing the Satsop:
Fall salmon fishing is now the big draw on the Satsop, but this once-productive steelhead producer is hardly worth the drive for winter-steelhead fishing. Reports show only a few steelhead being caught in the winter. These reports would bring a tear to the eye of fishermen from the 50’s, 60’s, and the 1970’s when this was a top producing steelhead stream with big fish.
As I said, few people bother coming to the Satsop for steelhead now, but hundreds come for the salmon fishing. October can be quite good for the coho, many of the fish in the high teen’s. This river produces the largest silvers I have ever seen, even including Alaska. The 21 pounder that I hooked into at the mouth of Grays Harbor (Labor Day Weekend 2012) was bound for this river, and it would have weighed 23 plus pounds and broken the state record had it been caught in the river in October! The real circus starts when the chum salmon surge into the river from late October into January. Much of the action centered around two or three drifts on the East Fork Satsop, where it isn’t unusual to see a flock of anglers hook several dozen fish in the morning. The crowds make it sort of a combat fishery. Smart anglers fish the lower Satsop from boats.