Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass
Flows from Black Lake in Olympia, into the Chehalis River in Oakville in Grays Harbor County. The Black River drainage is approximately 144 square miles, with 105 square miles in Thurston County. In general, the Black River is a slow flowing river with a broad floodplain.
The Black River drainage is divided into two uniquely different halves. The west side drains the Capitol Forest area and the main tributaries are Dempsey, Waddell, and Mima creeks. This area ranges in elevation from 2,659 feet at Capitol Peak down to approximately 200 feet at the Black River valley floor.
The east side of the watershed drains the relatively flat area south of Tumwater, west of Offutt Lake and north of Tenino. The elevation difference of this area is approximately 200 feet. The main streams draining this side are Salmon and Beaver creeks and Bloom Ditch.
Take U.S.12 west of Interstate 5 at Ground Mound and turn north on Highway 12 (Little Rock Road) at Rochester to go urriver, or continue west on U.S.12 through Rochester to where the highway crosses the lower river.
Rough boat launches are located about 1.5 miles north of Little Rock (off 110th Avenue), two miles south of Little Rock (off Highway 121), two miles west of Rochester (off Moon Road), and a little over four miles west of Rochester (on the south side of the U.S.12 bridge). Food, gas, tackle, and lodging are available in and around Rochester.
Rules and Regulations:
The river has selective regulations which means artificial lures and flies only, with single barbless hooks. The same goes for Mimi Creek, Waddell Creek, Beaver Creek, Salmon Creek, Dempsey Creek, and Bloom Ditch, all of which are tributaries if the Black River. The season here opens June 1 through October.See your WDFG rules and regulations for updated restrictions.
Fishing the Black River:
This is one of the slowest, most gently moving streams in the Northwest, flowing nearly 30 miles from the south end of Black Lake to the Chehalis River with hardly a riffle along the way. It can be floated quite safely in a canoe or a small inflatable, and that’s how most anglers fish it. Most anglers fish for trout with spinning tackle or fly rods, but there are also bass in the river that probably made their way from Black Lake. Whether you fish for trout or bass you can’t use bait.