This river was once my very favorite winter steelhead river. When I first started to fish this river, it was a rarity to not hook several fish each trip. At one time I caught steelhead on 22 consecutive trips to "The Hump" without getting skunked. I have not come close to repeating that on any other river I have fished. In recent years I have not been as lucky.
There is still a strong hatchery return here, but the large natives that I have always loved have not fared as well. Heavy tribal netting well into the spring has taken a heavy toll on the once mighty returns of March and April. It seems that every winter the Humtulips River is closed to sportsfishing well before the scheduled closing date listed in the state regulations.
I have put many new steelheaders onto their first steelhead on this river. Pulling plugs is an easy way to get new anglers into fish quickly, and is a technique perfectly suited to the Humptulips River. Running plugs along any of the numerous logjams here will produce savage strikes. Then the fun begins as these fish almost always head right under the logs.
Multiple fish days were common here, many times limiting out in just a couple of holes. Those days are gone but hopefully with increased awareness and respect, these magnificent fish will return in the numbers that they used to.
The Humptulips River hosts both winter and summer steelhead, as well as some incredible salmon fishing for Chinook, Coho and Chum salmon. Access is fair for the bank angler, but this river is much better suited to fishing out of a drift boat.