Washougal River

washougal_river

Species:
Summer and Winter-Run Steelhead, Coho and Chinook Salmon, Cutthroat, Green and White Sturgeon (at the mouth)
Location:
Joins the Columbia River at Camas.
Directions:
Take Highway 14 to Washougal and turn north on Highway 140, which parallels the main river for about 10 miles. The bridge in the picture above you will cross over. Take Skye Road north of Highway 140 and turn right (east) on Washougal River Road to follow the main river upstream, or turn north on North Fork Road, past the Skamania Hatchery, to reach the West Fork Washougal.
Facilities:
There are several public access spots and a couple of places to launch boats along Highway 140. Food, gas, tackle, and lodging can be found in Camas or Washougal.
Fishing the Washougal River:
Washougal’s claim to fame is that it produces steelhead 12 months a year. It has a strong run of summer and winter steelhead, thanks to generous steelhead smolt counts yearly of over 100,000 of each run. The summer run is by far the larger of the two, and most years this small tributary of the Columbia gives up more than a thousand fish to anglers. These are the famous Skamania Hatchery steelhead that where such a huge success and caused such a stir among anglers when they where transplanted to the Great Lakes system nearly 3 decades ago. May, June, and July produce the best catches and the fishing drops off considerable in August (let alone all the swimmers). Wild steelhead release regulations are in effect throughout the year, make sure to stop by the hatchery, the last time I was there I saw some monster 25 pound steelhead holding in their rearing ponds!. The highway provides fairly good bank fishing access to the lower Washougal, and there are three spots along the river where boat anglers launch to fish. This is a small river with plenty of boulders, so don’t try boating unless you know what your doing and have a chance to check out the river before you go fishing. The safest boating is when the river is high, during low flows boating is nearly impossible, except for the lower portion of the river. The hatchery produces good numbers of coho and chinook salmon that return to the river throughout the fall. Make sure to check the rules and regulation before salmon fishing on this stream. As a rule of thumb you usually can keep two hatchery (fin clipped) salmon a day, and here thats what many anglers do when fishing is good. Take your favorite trout rod along with you if your visiting the Washougal for fall salmon, and if their biting you may want to try your luck with a little sea-run cutthroat fishing. Some 30,000 to 40,000 cutthroat smolts are released every year, this is the number 3 river in the state with stocked cutthroat smolts.
Sturgeon fishing is usually fished right at the mouth where the Highway 14 bridge crosses the rivers mouth as it enters the Columbia River, and there are opportunities fishing from a boat in the mill holes, sometimes as deep as 30 feet.

washougal_river_picture

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