Wishkah River

wishkah river

Flows into the east end of Grays Harbor at Aberdeen.

Take U.S.12 to Aberdeen and turn right on Wishkah Road which parallels the river.

Aberdeen has all you amenitites.

Big Mouth John’s Tackle

Winter Steelhead, Coho and Chinook Salmon, Resident and Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout, and Seaperch

Fishing the Wishkah:
Though only one valley away from the Hoquiam, the Wishkah is a much better salmon and steelhead river, thanks to its better fish habitat and access to the water. Though your chances of hooking a keeper chinook aren’t all that great, work your way up Wishkah Road to the mouth of the West Fork Wishkah during October and November and you just might locate a Coho or two.
The winter steelheading is up and down from year to year, but some season the Wishkah will give up 150-200 fish. The best part of fishing the river is that the steelhead fishing remains pretty consistent from December until the end of the season in March.
Sea-Run Cutthroat is fair in the river in the month of October. Like the nearby Hoquiam, the regulations call for the release of all wild non-clipped Cutthroats.


Fishing for Steelhead to close Dec. 8 on three rivers in the Upper Columbia Basin

OLYMPIA – Steelhead fisheries will close one hour after sunset on Dec. 8 on the upper Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam and on the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers.

Fishing for whitefish will also close on the Wenatchee River one hour after sunset on Dec. 8.

The closures will not, however, affect steelhead and whitefish fishing seasons on the Okanogan River, Similkameen River, Methow River, and mainstem Columbia River from Wells Dam upstream to Chief Joseph Dam. Those fisheries will remain open until further notice under previously published rules.

Jeff Korth, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the closures are necessary to keep impacts on wild steelhead within limits established under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“This year’s run is smaller than in recent years and contains a relatively high proportion of wild steelhead,” Korth said. “Because of that, we saw an increase in the rate of encounters with natural-origin fish in some fishing areas.”

Although anglers must release any wild, unmarked steelhead they intercept in area fisheries, some of those fish do not survive and are counted toward ESA impact limits.

The federal permit authorizing the steelhead fisheries sets a maximum allowable mortality of natural-origin steelhead to accommodate variations in run strength and angling effort on specific waters. WDFW closely monitors the fisheries and enforces fishing rules to protect wild steelhead.

The primary reason the upper Columbia steelhead fisheries are permitted is to remove excess hatchery fish from spawning grounds, said Korth, noting that those fisheries provide popular recreational fishing opportunities and economic benefits for rural communities throughout the region.

WDFW fisheries managers are analyzing fishery impacts to date, and will produce a steelhead run update next month, Korth said. Some areas could be reopened at a later date for additional fishing opportunities, and anglers should keep a close eye on the WDFW website for these possibilities.

Specific waters that will close to fishing for steelhead an hour after sunset Dec.8 include:

Mainstem Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam upstream to 400 feet below Wells Dam.
Wenatchee River: From the mouth upstream to the Icicle River Road Bridge.
Icicle River: From the mouth upstream to 500 feet below the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
Areas closing to whitefish angling an hour after sunset Dec. 8 include:

Wenatchee River: From the mouth upstream to the Icicle River Road Bridge.
Areas that remain open to fishing for hatchery steelhead include:

Mainstem Columbia River: From Wells Dam upstream to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.
Methow River: From the mouth upstream to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop.
Okanogan River: From the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville.
Similkameen River: From the mouth upstream to 400 feet below Enloe Dam.
When these fisheries are open, anglers must retain any legal hatchery steelhead, which can be identified by a clipped adipose fin, they catch until they reach their daily limit of two fish. Once anglers have retained two fish, they must stop fishing for steelhead.


Willipa Bay Area Map

willipa bay


Okanogan River

okanogan river

Steelhead, Fall Salmon, and Smallmouth Bass
Joins the Columbia River just east of the town of Brewster
Take U.S.97 east or Highway 17 north of the confluence of the Okanogan and Columbia Rivers, and continue north on U.S. 97 to follow the Okanogan River upstream
There are plenty of motels and RV parks along the river, including Okanogan, Omak, Tonasket, and Oroville. Restaurants, groceries stores, gas stations, tackle shops are also available in all four of the towns. Osoyoos Lake State Park in Oroville, at the upper end of the Okanogan River also is a nice place to stay with all your amenities.
Here is a link to all of your North Central Wahington Parks;
Rules and Regulations:
Always watch WDFG fishing updates on this river shed as rule changes happen quite frequently
How to fish the Okanogan River:
With the possible exception of the much larger Snake River, the Okanogan offers the best stream smallmouth fishing in Washington. The okanogan has been a favorite destination of smallmouth enthusiasts since the early 1970’s, and it’s just as good now as it was then, perhaps better. Although not something you’ll hook every day, the river has Bronzebacks of five pounds and over, and while your looking for them, you’ll hook and release many number of smaller ones. What’s more, U.S.97 and the side roads off of it will provide miles of good river access for bank anglers. The season is usually open year around, but the best bass action occurs as the water begins to warm substantially, usually around the end of June, and holds up well into September. Leadhead-and-grub combinations, small crankbaits, size 1 or size 0 bucktail spinners, even wet flies and streamers will take them. If you don’t have any smallmouth tackle, invest in a few one-eighths to three-eighths ounce leadheads and a dozen three-inch Berkley Power Grubs in the pumpkinseed color. If that doesn’t take smallmouth, you’re probably fishing where the bass aren’t.

Steelheading on the Okanogan has been an up-and-down proposition for many years, but it’s usually on the up enough to make the trip worth while. The lowest count in the last 20 years was in 1993-94 with only 175 fish taken from the river, but many season top the 500 fish mark according to WDF&G. If you have to pick just one month of the year to fish for steelhead on the Okanogan, make it October. That single month typically produces half of the catch for the entire year. September, November, and March may also provide some pretty good steelhead fishing. Spoons, spinners, diving plugs, fresh roe clusters, ghost shrimp, and most of the popular steelhead bobbers all account for their share of fish. If you are looking for a guided fishing trip anywhere in this area you should get a hold of “Hall of Famer” and legendary fishing guide Phil Lund at: http://methowriverguide.com/home

Moclips River


Sea-Run Cutthroat and Winter Steelhead
Flows into the Pacific Ocean at Moclips
Take Highway 109 west out of Hoquiam and follow it up the coast 30 miles to Moclips and the mouth of the river. The only road leading east out of town parallels the south side of the river.
The nearest place to find all of your amenities is Ocean Shores, 17 miles to the south, but Moclips has lodging, RV parks, groceries, gas and tackle.
Rules and Regulations:
See your Washington State fishing handbook for further updated rules and regulations.
Fishing the Moclips River:
Although this coastal stream is open during the winter months to allow for a steelhead season, the winter fishery doesn’t really amount to anything. In fact there where years in the 90’s that Fish and Game recorded no winter steelhead catches. For most people the Moclips River is to far away and the steelheading is too poor for the drive. Now on the other hand the fall fishing for Sea-Run Cutthroat can be a worthwhile endeavor. Like many other streams around the Gray’s Harbor area, the best cutthroat fishing occurs within 24 hours of the end of a heavy rain that causes a good rise in water levels. Roll a nightcrawler or a small cluster of salmon roe along the bottom to catch them and preferably on an incoming tide.


Toutle River Steelhead Fishing 1965-1970

Toutle River Steelhead 1965-1970 from David Rice on Vimeo.

2013 Columbia River Salmon Forecast


Nearly 678,000 fall chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River this season. About 80 percent of those fish are “bright” stocks, most of which are destined for areas above Bonneville Dam, including the Hanford Reach and Snake River.

Brights are really the foundation of the recreational fishery, “and with the numbers we are expecting there is good reason to be optimistic about this season,”

Columbia River fisheries also are expected to benefit from a significant increase in coho numbers. The abundance of Columbia River coho is forecast to be about 501,000 fish. That would be better than the five-year average and total nearly three times as many fish as last year’s actual abundance.

A total of 114,675 angler trips were taken on the Lower Columbia last season, with 13,332 adult spring chinook kept (11,105 kept from April 1-22) and 2,409 released.

2012 Lower Columbia River numbers (caught by sport fishermen)

Bouy 10:

  • 13,900 Chinook and 8,000 coho
  • Chinook retention 8/1-9/3 (1 fish limit)
    and 10/1-12/31 (2 fish limit)
  • Coho retention 8/1-12/31 (2 fish limit)
  • 63,400 angler trips
  • 18,400 Chinook and 7,400 fin-clipped coho kept

Lower Columbia Fall Chinook:

  • 8/1-9/9; 9/10-16 (MSF); 10/1-12/31 Tongue Pt.-
    Warrior Rock, 8/1-12/31 Warrior Rock to Bonneville Dam 2 fish limit (1 Chinook thru 9/9)
  • 128,800 angler trips (2nd highest)
  • 22,400 adult fall Chinook kept (3rd highest)
  • 3,700 Chinook released
  • 4,200 jacks kept
  • 900 clipped coho
  • 5,600 steelhead kept, (3,500 released)



Live Fish Cam: