Remembrances of a Vibrant Collowash River

The bright summer steelhead buck exploded out of the pool close to my feet.

His head shaking, attempting to rid himself of the small but sharp spinner.

Brilliant sunshine created rainbows on the bright chrome-colored scales of the magnificent ten-pound trophy.

A few minutes later I landed the fish and later that day enjoyed a delicious barbecue of  melt-in-your-mouth pink fillets.

That was more than 20 years ago on the Collowash River, a beautiful upper tributary of the Clackamas River in northwest Oregon.

Sad to say, no one can have my experience again. The Collowash River is now “managed” for the handful of fall chinook salmon that return annually.

On a warm, sunny day I revisited the river. It is as beautiful as ever, but not one fisherman was seen.

Sometimes times don’t change for the better.

Crystal clear Colowash River

Crystal-clear Colowash River


Mylitta Cresent Butterfly

Lovely stretch of the Collowash River

Collowash River (in the past I have caught steelhead in this stretch of the River)



Cold, clear water of the Collowash River

Cold, clear water of the Collowash River



Categories: Oregon Cascades, Personal ReflectionsTags: , , ,


  1. Beautiful images and memory. I recall a lonnnnnng time ago catching beautiful fish along the Collowash. Near the turnoff to head up to Bull of the Woods, I recall an epic encounter, I will never forget. Great post!!!!

  2. I sat down to research fishing the Collowash this weekend and found this posting. I will still head up there with my son for some catch and release trout fishing. I also remember hooking a very large bright steelhead on this river about 20 years ago that was just a magnificent fish! In a second he snapped my line, but what a memory that I still have clear as day. My hope is that it is still as beautiful and peaceful a place as I remember (have not been back in 20 years). Then, it won’t matter whether I catch fish or not. Garth

    • It is still a beautiful river. You’ll find both smallish rainbows and cutthoats to catch and release in the faster waters. Hope you have an enjoyable visit to the Collowash.

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