Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Kalama River  
The Kalama River is a 45-mile long tributary of the big
Columbia River. It originates in the Cascade Range
south of Mount St. Helens. It is one of the better
southwestern Washington steelhead and salmon

The popularity of the Kalama River partially comes from
the fact it is easily accessed from Interstate 5 and
Kalama Road. It's a beautiful green tinted, clear stream
with year-round fly fishing opportunities for salmon and
steelhead. If the river has any problem, it's the fact it is
very popular but one must consider that's usually for a
good reason.

It is possible to catch salmon and steelhead all year but
the Kalama River is best known for its summer-run
steelhead. One great feature for fly anglers is the stream
is open only to fly fishing from Summers Creek up to the
Kalama Falls. Naturally, this is where you will find most fly
anglers fishing. It is one of the few streams in the state
with a fly fishing only section. Steelhead ranging from 12
to 18 pounds are common.

Winter runs of steelhead are still good but not what they
were at one time, even though the river is heavily
stocked with smolts.

The Kalama River has a decent run of Spring Chinook
salmon. The run last from April to June with fish up to 10
to 20 pounds regularly taken. Chinook as high as 30
pounds have been caught.

There are Fall runs of both Chinook and Coho salmon.
Chinook salmon must be released.

One important thing to remember is barbless hooks are
required on the Kalama.

There are many different options for drift boat fishing.
Plenty of wading options are also available. Some of the
best water can be reached by hiking in and wading. It
requires a tough hike within a rugged canyon.
Varies with species and area of the river - make sure
you see the current special regulations
March and mid-April, Chinook salmon begin to show up.
Summer steelhead start showing up in May.
Summer steelhead run from June through September
Salmon fishing starts about the second week of October
when the river levels start rising from the Fall rains.
Steelhead fishing begins about mid November.
January to April is the best winter steelhead fishing time.
Type of Stream

Steelhead (Summer and Winter)
Coho Salmon
Chinook Salmon (Fall and Winter)
Sea-run Cutthroat


Southwestern Washington

Nearest Towns

Varies by species and area of the

Fair to Good

Non-Resident License
State of Washington

National Weather Service Link

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Kalama River Fishing Report: Archive
11/09/13 Good customer reporting more
coho have been entering the river. Summer
Steelhead are still in the river. Most likely it
will be the end of the month for any winter
fish to arrive.
12/30/13 Local contact and customer
reporting hatchery steelhead are in the
system and being caught on a regular basis
when stream levels good. They are indicator
fishing using Perfect Fly steelhead nymphs
of several different types.
Fishing Report
(Bottom Of Page)
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
10/26/14 We will resume the fishing reports
in mid November when winter steelhead
show up. There are plenty of salmon in the
river at this time.
12/23/14 Sorry, few reports have come in
until very recently. Winter steelhead are
arriving in good numbers.
01/31/15 A few winter steelhead have been
caught but they have been few and far
02/04/15 The river is blown out but dropping
but more rain is forecast. A few steelhead
were caught prior to the high water.
07/16/20 Good runs of summer steelhead are in the
river. Send us an email for a fly list.