The Cowlitz River is a tributary of the Columbia River and serves as the drainage for the Mount Rainier region. Several hydroelectric dams are located along the river and so the steelhead and salmon populations are created through the river's hatchery system. Still, Cowlitz is one of the state's top steelhead and salmon locations. It boasts a large winter steelhead run which peaks to 20,000 fish in some seasons. It has a healthy spring Chinook season to compliment the steelhead run. With plenty of access for both shore and boat fishing the river is a popular destination for Washington anglers.