cowlitz springers


Steelhead University has a brand new website! The new owner of Steelhead University, Terry Wiest, is very near and dear to Steelhead Girls’ heart. In fact, he’s the inventor of Steelhead Girls! I met Terry many years ago through, believe it or not, the Steelhead University Pautzke photo contest! We stayed in touch and met again at many fishing functions before I started blogging on Steelhead University. Terry reached out to me about a year after I was blogging and thought of the idea for Steelhead Girls, which I obviously LOVED! Steelhead University not only includes fishing updates and reports from some of the most well-known guides in Washington State, but many videos, articles, and product reviews. Go check out their new website and give their Facebook page a like!

Now, for fishing! I have actually been fishing quite a bit the past few weeks, but since we’ve moved into our new house, I haven’t had internet hooked up! But I’m up and running, moved in and settled down, and………I’m graduating school this week! I couldn’t be happier about getting my life back and having time again to write more articles!

The past few weeks, we’ve been heading to Barrier Damn on the Cowlitz and I actually really struggled out there on the island because it’s so deep hip-deep on me) and you’re casting really, really far. If you don’t make the cast, you almost aren’t even fishing where the fish are. So, with the low water this spring, it’s actually been to my benefit! I’ve been finally getting springers out there again!

We went crabbing this last weekend and let me tell you, what was supposed to be an easy day, ended up being pretty torturous. We thought we would just catch the 7 AM high slack tide and crab for just a few hours, maybe 3 sets. We did our first pull and had 2 dungees and 3 rock crab. Great! If every pull was like this, we’ll be limited in no time!

So…..We set when low tide started moving out and we had about 100 extra feet of line so we figured, no big deal if the tide is moving fast, we’ll have the extra line to keep the buoys afloat…..Wrong! We watched our buoys go under and thought, well, we’ll probably see them again in an hour. Since we planned on only being on the water for a few hours, we brought no food or water for the entire day.

4 hours later, we finally see on of our buoys. We have been sitting tied up to a post for hours baking in the sun with no food or water. It took another hour for the other 3 buoys to appear and we were ready to get the heck out of there! It was 3 PM and I envisioned myself eating crab soaked in butter after a 2 hour nap by this time. It was low slack and we could see that close to the launch, there was almost no water. Good thing we have a jet! Again, WRONG!

We beached ourselves…..I waded back to the launch, ruined by favorite white chucks, got lost trying to get gas and food, and finally made it back just in time for the tide to have come in enough to take the boat out of the water. Did I mention how many crab we got though? 2 dungees and 3 rock. We should have stopped at our first pull. We are burnt to a crisp and hiding inside today. At least we have a few crab to eat! :)




















Graduation and hanging out at Hood Canal next weekend! Hopefully my sunburn heals by then!!!

Birthday trip!!!

Last weekend I hit the Columbia for the extended Saturday with our friends Kari and Derrick while Jeff worked. We survived the largest hurricane known to Washington’s coast (not really, but that’s what it felt like) and managed to get just one bite that didn’t stick. We headed home early to celebrate mine and my stepdad’s birthday with our family! With all of the crazy things going on in my family right now, it was amazing to be able to spend the afternoon just hanging out with everyone with no agenda and everyone laughing!

Sunday, we were ready for some Cowlitz springer action for a trip that we’ve had planned for a few weeks with Kiley and Hillary! We headed up to Barrier Damn and much like last year, Jeff was first to get his limit in just a few casts. Kiley wasn’t far behind with one at first light while Hillary and I struggled to make our casts count and get in the fish zone. I’ve tried several different set ups and I just am not strong enough to make the distance needed be in the fish every cast L I LOVE barrier damn fishing, just not in the areas that require me to cast that far so I might be flying solo the rest of springer season while I watch Jeff limit out across the way.

Hillary finally got a hook up and waist deep in water with 3 people telling her different things to do, her mind must have been ready to explode! She was doing awesome until…..the handle on the reel broke! Snapped right in half! Thankfully the fish was almost in so we carefully walked her back as we tried not to slip in the deep water and get that fish to the net. Of course, it wasn’t as graceful as I make it sound, but there were no more broken fishing parts the rest of the fight, no one fell in, and the fish made it in the net!


Hillary’s been hitting the Columbia lately with Brandon Glass from Team Hook Up Guide Service ( who takes right after his dad’s (Jack Glass) incredible fishing talent!

We wanted to show her something a little different than what she was used to (small river steelheading and Big C trolling) so after the morning bite died down, we headed to Blue Creek for some side-drifting action!

She was amazed at the close quarters and population of fishermen, but jumped right in and held her own! Kiley lost about 20 steelhead (I’m kidding, it was one or two) but that was all we got for the day! I didn’t get my birthday fish, but we had a great weekend and went home with 2 springers!

For anyone not on my Facebook page, we had a little more eventful week and purchased our first home! So this weekend we’ll be busy painting but will be back to the river next weekend with our good friends Kelcey and Nick!!

Springer article!

New article is up discussing the most important factors when fishing for springers in small rivers:


I’ve come too far to quit now!!

On Friday, Jeff fished the Cowlitz while I worked and he went 3/4, one being a jack. So we headed back to the Cowlitz looking for a little springer love. I have yet to catch my first springer this year, while Jeff is on his 8th.

We stake our claim on our fishing spot and begin making cast after cast as the sun rose. The guys 100 feet below us start the morning off with multiple doubles and at least one fish on at all times. They are standing in some pretty heavy current and about waist deep. I watch at least one man fall on the slippery rocks every weekend and you’ll never catch me out there. No matter how many fish they catch. Anyhow, they guys across the other side of the river get a couple while we still have no biters in our area.

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