Fishing the Fifty

My Quest to Fish All 50 States


While the Pacific Northwest lived up to its rainy reputation for most of my trip out there, I was very lucky that my scheduled day of fishing in Washington fell on a beautiful and sunny 80-degree day.  Justin Kyniston ( is an excellent steelhead and salmon guide, and what most impressed me about him was his relentless desire to put me on fish (knowing only that I had come all the way from Virginia, not that I was going to post details of the trip online).  Our morning on the Columbia River was slow and we did not catch any fish.  The other guides on the river had not caught anything either and they called it a day, but Justin had the idea to go to another river in the afternoon.


We fished for steelhead on the Lewis River, an absolutely gorgeous tree-lined river with only a few private residences along it.  I caught three nice steelhead, including a six-pounder and an eight-pounder, and two smaller fish.  The other nice steelhead was a native steelhead (meaning its fin was not clipped), which Justin had only seen once before in all of his years of fishing.  (Unfortunately, I had to release that fish before measuring it to ensure it survived, as native fish are not allowed to be kept.)


Like Oregon, Washington does a great job of conservation.  Many people were enjoying the beautiful day near the boat ramp, and none of them appeared to be stuffing his cooler full of fish beyond his bag limits, much unlike the average weekend day along the Potomac River or on the northern Virginia lakes where creel limits are more punch lines than they are conservation-minded enforced rules.

Welcome to Washington

Lewis River

My first Washington fish (six-pound steelhead) in my right hand, and my big fish of the trip (eight-pound steelhead) in my left hand

A native steelhead, caught and released

Mt. Rainier in the foreground, with Mt. Adams (L) and Mt. Saint Helens (R) in the background and Mt. Hood in the way background.

Lower Spokane Falls in downtown Spokane