I caught my first steelhead in the Elochoman River, a little six pound hen that I will never forget. After several years of unsuccessful attempts at hooking a steelhead, I decided to give this little river in Southwest Washington a try. I had read an article in one of the local fishing magazines that described this little river as being easy to fish, primarily because of its small size. I did not hook any fish on my first few trips here, but I did see enough fish caught near me that my enthusiasm grew tremendously.
It was on the banks of the Elochoman that I really began to understand what types of water steelhead would hold in. On my third trip here I hooked into my first ever winter run steelhead. I did not land that fish, but it did make me believe that I would land my first fish here. The very next trip it happened. Not only did I land a fish, but I hooked two others. That was the trip that began my adventure to become a proficient steelhead angler.
The Elochoman River is a small stream that flows into the Columbia River near the town of Cathlamet, Washington. Most of the fishing here is done downstream of the Beaver Creek steelhead hatchery. But don't ignore the water between the Beaver Creek hatchery and the Salmon hatchery upstream. In fact some of my favorite stretches of this river lie between the two hatcheries.
This is strictly a bank fishing river, and access can be a problem in some areas due to private property. But don't let that deter you, there are still plenty of other areas that you can get to the river without trespassing. After a good rainfall, the Elochoman clears up fast and can provide fantastic fishing as it drops. Most anglers drift fish here, although I have heard that floats and jigs are taking over as the method of choice on the Elochoman.
Although primarily known as a winter run river, there are significant plants of summer run smolts on the Elochoman. These fish are best targeted as soon as it opens on June 1st, as this river drops to a mere trickle by August.
This river can produce outstanding catches at times, and should be visited if you get the chance. To be honest, I have not fished this river in years, but I do plan on returning to its banks soon.