Measuring in at 105 miles in length, the Cowlitz River calls Lewis County home for more than half of that. It has been harnessed in several different spots to provide electricity for Tacoma Power, and the dams that were built resulted in the formation of Riffe Lake and Mayfield Lake, our region’s two most-visited recreational lakes. Anglers prize the Cowlitz for its stock of different species of salmon, steelhead and sturgeon. Others love the river for its serenity, as campgrounds throughout the county adjoining the river have provided peaceful getaways for generations of families. The Cowlitz and its adjoining lakes are home to some of the best recreational water activities that Lewis County has to offer. Come discover why!
• I-5 — This area is a few miles off Exit 57 from Interstate 5, and is maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. This access area provides bank fishing and a boat launch. For information and a Google map, click or tap here.
• Winters — Just east of the I-5 boat launch, this spot offers access year-round. No facilities exist here, but the spot is open to the public. More info here.
• Toledo — On Augustus Street just off State Route 505, the main stretch in town. This launch and fishing area is one of the newer ones along the Cowlitz, and its proximity to restaurants and more in Toledo makes it a prime location. • Massey Bar — To get to this water access point, head one mile east of Jackson Highway on Spencer Road, then another quarter-mile after taking a right on Buckley. This fishing spot has restrooms and is a great spot to bag steelhead or sturgeon. More info here.
• Blue Creek — Located adjacent to the salmon hatchery off Spencer Road about three miles east of Jackson Highway. This launch and fishing area has a fishing spot for people in wheelchairs or requiring assistance, and restrooms are also present on site. More information is here.
• Barrier Dam — Just over a mile south of Salkum along Fuller Road, this launch is ever-so-popular during the spring salmon run. Get here early and often! More information is here.
• Kosmos — Take Kosmos Road to the end just off Highway 12 a few miles east of Morton, and you’ll find a prime steelhead and sturgeon fishing spot. No facilities exist here, but Taidnapam Park is located just a few miles away on Champion Haul Road. For more info, click or tap here.