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Cowlitz Trout Hatchery

Come fish with us

Tacoma Power built and maintains the Cowlitz Trout Hatchery and provides funds to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for staffing and operation.

The Cowlitz Trout Hatchery is located about six miles downriver from Mayfield Dam and annually releases summer and winter steelhead, and sea-run cutthroat for recreational opportunity.

Public facilities

The popular Blue Creek boat launch is located near the trout hatchery and is provided free of charge by Tacoma Power. You do not need a Discover Pass or state Access Pass. You’ll find a large parking lot, vault toilets and a boat launch. Camping is allowed in part of the parking lot for up to three days, but no fires are allowed.

Cowlitz Trout Hatchery ADA fishing accommodations

This area is equipped with ADA wheelchair-accessible riverside fishing platforms at the Blue Creek Boat Launch near the Cowlitz Trout Hatchery. Anglers may fish in these areas per WDFW ADA rules

  • The WDFW enlarged the platforms and paved the path and parking lot.
  • The funding for this improvement was made possible through a grant by the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office and Tacoma Power.

Getting to the Trout Hatchery & Blue Creek Boat Launch
From Interstate 5, take State Highway 12 east about 6.5 miles to the community of Ethel. Turn right (south) onto Tucker Road. Go straight on Classe Road where Tucker Road bends to the right at a Y.  At the end of the road turn left on to Spencer Road. Watch for the signs directing you to turn right for the Cowlitz Trout Hatchery and the Blue Creek Boat Launch.

Cowlitz Trout Hatchery
165 Osprey Ln.
Toledo, WA 98591

Blue Creek Boat Launch
273 Blue Creek Ln.
Toledo, WA 98591

Hi-vis Line and Block Nets

Hatchery Updates


Tacoma Power is leading an intensive Master Planning Process to remodel and update the Cowlitz Trout Hatchery. This process was initiated in 2015; construction is anticipated to begin in 2018.


In 2016, there were significant fish losses that are believed to be largely due to bird predation. In response, Tacoma Power has:

  • Installed hi-vis line, which is stretched across the rearing areas at 18" intervals to provide a visual deterrent to aerial predation from fish-eating birds.
  • Added block nets to keep fish in deeper water and away from shore-based predators.
  • Installed 2" x 4" wire fencing to keep diving ducks away from fish in the feeding areas.
  • Enhanced hazing efforts in the rearing area.

Bird activity within the rearing area has been significantly reduced following these changes. Based on anecdotal evidence, the numbers of fish look promising for 2017. Final 2017 fish counts are anticipated to be available the first week of June. 


Additional modifications and enhancements will be addressed through the Master Planning Process and the construction of the remodeled facility. 


Wire Fencing