We left camp at 0600 and drove the 5 miles over to the Ed Banks Access point. After a quick scout around we noticed that the far end of the river crossing had been repaired and that we could continue up-river to the Ed Banks Site #2.
We had never been to this campsite and it was nice to be able to fish a new area. It is the most remote campsite in the park with only a picnic table and tent pad available. Few people camp here.
At that time of the morning we had the river to ourselves and the temperature was in the low-70’sF.
We each managed to catch our Personal Best Smallmouth on the Cossatot River at this access point. Both fish fought hard and were worthy of respect. They were released back to where they belong.
The first full day of our trip turned out to be the best as far as fishing went.
This year we opted to fish the Cossatot River again. This was our first longer trip with Zip and we weren’t sure what to expect. It seemed easier to pick a place we were familiar with until we knew how the dog would get on with week long camping.
After a four and a half hour drive, we turned onto the forest road and stopped to air down the tires.
This was also our first time out with a 12 volt refrigerator. I did a previous post on the LiFePO4 battery build that I did to power the fridge.
We got up early every morning to fish and returned to camp around noon and deployed the solar panels to keep the battery charged up. It worked out well since it allowed us to escape the worst of the heat and we could relax in camp a bit. We could also use that time to dry out our gear and re-rig if necessary.
Upon arrival, we noticed that the river was up quite a bit due to all of the recent rainfall. We were worried about wading certain sections but that proved to be irrelevant since it was dropping fast.
We also timed our arrival for Sunday afternoon hoping that the weekend campers would be gone. It wasn’t to be as there were other like-minded campers spending the week in the camping area. The first day was also the hottest as the temperature hit 96F and it was difficult to stay cool. We ended up putting a fan on Zip to help him cope with the heat.
We made several trips down to the river to get Zip wet and he thoroughly enjoyed that. Coupled with the fan, he was good to go.
It was definitely good to be back on the Cossatot River and we had high hopes that the fishing would be good.
We woke up early and packed camp quickly. Our first planned stop was the Ed Banks Access point. We wanted to fish further downstream this time. We drove through a clear cut area along the way and also ran into a work crew who were prepping the area for replanting.
The Ed Banks Access area is one of our favorite spots. There are two primitive campsites, one on each side of the low water bridge. The Ranger told us that they were free to camp in, but we had already set up camp back in Cossatot Falls. Had we known, we probably would’ve camped there.
We ended up catching 50 fish in the 2 hours we were here. About half of them were perch, but they were fun nonetheless.
To reach the Brushy Creek Access Area we had to drive out of the Forest Area and take Highway 246 west a little ways. This is a really nice Day Use Only area that tends to be a major swimming hole during the summer months. We opted to head downstream to avoid the swimmers and also because we had never fished this section of the river.
This section required a lot of wading across slippery rocks and lots of boulder hopping. You WILL get a helluva workout. We fished downstream for about a mile and a half before the heat really kicked in and we decided to head back. The rocks were a killer due to being so slippery. You need to wade this section very carefully. Even the rocks that looked dry were sketchy with wet wading boots. You have to do it to fully understand.
We only caught 10 fish in this section before we decided to call it a day and begin the 3.5 hour drive home. We got home at 1635 and began the process of cleaning gear, doing laundry and getting everything put away. I updated my log book and we started making plans to do another trip. That’s how we roll!
P.S. We apologize for not taking many fish pics. Our cameras were stowed in our packs which made it time consuming to get pics. In this heat we generally release the fish immediately. Also, both of us were constantly leap frogging each other to explore and fish so we weren’t in close enough proximitiy to get pics of each other. Thanks for reading.
We rented a cabin for 4 days which left our checkout time on Thursday. Not wanting to head home yet, we diverted over to the Cossatot River. We really liked that river and wanted to explore it some more.
We pulled off to check out the Cossatot River Visitors Center since we didn’t bother visiting the facility when we were here in June. There are a bunch of exhibits explaining the history of this area. Besides, we needed a sticker for the cooler!
After camp was set up at Cossatot Falls Camping Area…we geared up and hit the river. It was already in the 90’s F at 10:30 and the sun was beating down. The river was about two feet lower than when we were here previously.
We fished upstream to about a mile and a half above the Sand Bar Access Area. In this heat, you can’t drink enough water and staying somewhat cool was a serious issue. We fished until around 1430 and decided to begin the slog back to camp. We ended up catching 29 smallmouth bass with only one reaching 2 pounds. The rest were one pound or less. We didn’t bother with pictures since we weren’t catching the bigger fish we had hoped for. We were absolutely beat and overheated upon arrival back in camp so we climbed into the Subaru and cranked the A/C until we had cooled off a bit.
We called it a night around 2100 and climbed into the tent. It was still 93F but dropped to 72F by morning.
Next stop was the Sand Bar Access and Campground. With it being after 4pm we opted to grab a campsite. There was only 2 other sites taken when we arrived so we grabbed one that was away from everyone else. Again, no running water and only pit toilets for $15 per night. The campsites were spacious but poison ivy was everywhere.
This area also has a Day Use Only Area and it was packed! Apparently it is a favorite swimming hole for the locals and they were everywhere on both sides of the river. With it being our last day, we opted to hang out in camp, cook dinner and get organized for the trip home. We would have preferred fishing this section but there was just too many people around.
It didn’t take long for the campground to fill up with all sorts of people. I’ll never understand why people have to drive through a forest and into a campground with their stereos maxed out. Campground etiquette was out the window! Some guy decided to start chopping wood at 10:30 pm. It literally sounded like he was building a log cabin.
We slept fitfully until 1:30am when some locals in a truck showed up, again with their stereo blasting and were trying to party at the river. Someone at the other end of the campground got up and started screaming at them at which point they promptly turned the stereo off and left. Finally we could get some sleep. NOPE!
From two tent sites away a little girl woke up screaming that she was afraid of the dark! And I do mean SCREAMING! Her mother ended up packing up and leaving.
We slept till 5:30 and packed up and headed home. If I ever camp there again it won’t be during summer. Probably early Spring or Fall.
Again, sticking to our original tenet of exploring new roads and areas, we chose a route home that was off the beaten path. We gathered a lot of new information on this river and thoroughly enjoyed fishing it. We became familiar with the GaiaGPS app which was a definite asset to the trip, especially since we didn’t have cell service for most of our trip. We consider the cost of the upgraded app money well spent. I’m sure we will be back.
I hope you enjoyed this series of blog posts. There will be a few additional “addendum” blog posts to cover some of the gear we used and why. Thanks for reading!
With this trip being our first to this river it was tough to fish as much as we wanted to. I’m sure that sounds odd but we wanted to explore as much as we could and considered this trip more of a reconnaissance run than anything. All told, we only covered about 6-7 miles of river. We wanted to get a feel for the place, to see what kind and size of fish we might encounter and to scout out access and camping spots.
We drove through sections of clear-cut areas and since this is logging country it was to be expected. It was nice to see large swaths had been replanted and were doing well.
Upstream from the Ed Banks Access was a “snot rock boulder fest” and wasn’t a lot of fun. I’m not a fan of snakes and we had seen our fair share. Thankfully none of the ones we encountered were venomous. But where I was, I was on constant alert.
She wanted no part of the upstream side and opted to head downstream. Wiser choice I will admit. After about an hour I joined her on that side and it is much easier. We caught a ton of perch and little Velox. All told we caught 27 fish with one being a nicer smallmouth bass.
After several hours of fishing some local kids showed up in trucks and on ATV’s. There must’ve been 20 of them and they were rowdy. We decided to move on to another access point we had seen on the map.