All posts by Rick Estes

Spring is coming, but Winter Steelhead are here

Are you ready for 2018?  It seemed that 2017 flew by, but it was a fun year, and thank you for making it that way.    We will start fishing Sturgeon in the gorge January and February.  Sturgeon is a fun time with lots of action to be had. Make sure to dress warm, but we do have a heater on board to help take the chill off.

We will focus our attention on the Cowlitz River starting in mid-February through April for Winter Steelhead. You need to make sure to book your trip early, as this does fill up fast.  We focus on light tackle, making this fun for all.

As for the prized Spring Chinook, we will kick off in late March through the month of April.  In 2017 we had a good run going into June, and I look forward to this happening again.

For those of you that fished Buoy 10 with me this past fall, it was a mixed bag.  We had great days and some we had to work to get our fish.  2018 is looking to be a good year, and if you want to fish in August, please get your spot soon as this fills up fast. 

Buoy 10 is Kicking off in High Gear

Well it has started, and came in kicking, and screaming . What am I talking about?  Buoy 10!  We had our first day on the water; earlier in the season then I usually start, and it was HOT.  The Chinook are big, and fierce fighters.  This will be a year that will be one to for the record books for sure!  We will be fishing Buoy 10 until Labor day; then we will be following the fish upriver.

Getting Ready Buoy 10

We are wrapping up Steelhead fishing and turning our focus to Buoy 10 chasing Salmon.  This year is looking to be good, as we have some great tides that will drive the fish in from the ocean.  We will be fishing through out August in Astoria and then start moving up river through September.  Still have some great dates available.

This bad weather has a bright spot

I know the weather has not been good (although we have had a few nice days).  You may be thinking that all rivers are blown out, but that is not the case for us fishing on the Cowlitz.  The water is in good shape, returns of Steelhead and Chinook are starting to show up in good numbers, and each day we are catching more fish.  This is a fun time of year, you can battle Steelhead and Chinook in the same day!  If you have not booked your trip it’s time to do so, as this run will go well into May and I still have a few days available.  We are also booking June Hog fishery on the Columbia River. The Columbia will be back in shape and ready for large returns of big Chinook.

Fall Chinook and Silvers

Fall Chinook is in full swing.  I just got back from a great trip up on the Klickitat river.  Where each fall I am part of the Ed Iman fish camp.  During this time I have many of my sponsors and film crews up for a week of fun times,  some great fishing and food.  This is always a great time to reconnect with friends.

I am back fishing the lower Columbia river having great trips as the run is coming in stronger and a little later then expected.  The great thing about this is we will be fishing for Chinook into late October.   I have also heard of some Silvers being caught so this should mean some fishing thought-out November.


Summer Chinook and Steelhead

Well Springer season is behind us and we are catching some nice Summer Chinook and Steelhead.  We will be targeting Steelhead through August and still have some great dates available.  Also you cannot beat the nice weather, great time for a family outing. August through September is looking to get a fantastic time catching Fall Chinook so we will be busy for sometime.






Winter Steelhead is kicking into high gear

We are starting to fish the late run of Winter Steelhead that is heading up the Cowlitz.  The water conditions have been outstanding , even with the rain we have had.  We will be targeting them thru April.  The cool thing about this year is the large run of Chinook that will be entering the Cowlitz of over 25,000 fish.  This means that there is a good chance of picking up some Chinook as we fish Steelhead.  The Chinook we will be fishing into June with this large run, so make sure to book your trip today.

2016 run forecast meeting notes

There was some good news to go around for the sportfishing industry leaders who packed into the run forecast meeting. Following last year’s record-setting run of 1.4 million Fall Chinook, anglers and businesses can look forward to the upcoming spring and summer runs with forecasters expecting average to above average returns of Columbia, Willamette, and SW Washington Kings. With nearly 450,000 angler trips in 2015 in the lower Columbia River alone, news of good returns should drive tens of millions of dollars in economic impact to sportfishing businesses and communities across the Northwest.
Forecast highlights:
• Columbia River Upriver Spring Chinook = 188,000 – Around average
• Upper Columbia Summer Chinook = 93,300 – Twenty thousand more than 2015 prediction
• Willamette Spring Chinook = 70,100 – Much higher than 2015’s 55,400 forecast
• Cowlitz = 25,100 – More than double last year’s forecast
• Kalama = 4,900 – More than double 2015 forecast
• Lewis = 1,100 – Equal to last year’s forecast
Predictions for Fall Chinook are still in progress, but forecasters expect returns to be in line with the extraordinary returns of recent years. Businesses and retailers serving Columbia River anglers can look forward to another outstanding season if 2016 returns hold up to the consecutive record-setting runs of 2014 and 2015. Updated forecasts for Fall 2016 runs will be available early next year.P1040690