Elochoman River

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Elochoman River
Name origin: Name of a Cathlamet village[1]
Country United States
State Washington
County Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Pacific
Source Elochoman Lake
 - location Willapa Hills, Cowlitz County, Washington
 - elevation 1,654 ft (504 m) [2]
 - coordinates 46°20′20″N 123°12′43″W / 46.33889°N 123.21194°W / 46.33889; -123.21194 [2]
Mouth Columbia River
 - location Elochoman Slough, Wahkiakum County, Washington
 - elevation 0 ft (0 m) [3]
 - coordinates 46°13′35″N 123°24′2″W / 46.22639°N 123.40056°W / 46.22639; -123.40056Coordinates: 46°13′35″N 123°24′2″W / 46.22639°N 123.40056°W / 46.22639; -123.40056 [3]
Length 15 mi (24 km) [3]
Basin 73 sq mi (189 km2) [4]
Location of the mouth of the Elochoman River in Washington

The Elochoman River is a tributary of the Columbia River, in the U.S. state of Washington. It is about 15 miles (24 km) long.[3]

The river's name comes from the name of a Cathlamet (Chinookan) village.[1]


The Elochoman River's headwater's start from Elochoman Lake, in Cowlitz County,[2] from which it flows west for several miles. Joined by the tributary East Fork[5] and North Fork,[6] the main river turns south. After a few miles the West Fork tributary joins.[7] From there the main Elochoman River flows south and southwest. Its river valley widens into a broad flat bottomland called the Upper Elochoman Valley.[8] Then the river passes through a short but narrow gorge, after which it meanders through the Lower Elochoman Valley.[9]

In its final reach the Elochoman River flows through the sloughs and wetlands of the Columbia River's estuary. The mouth of the river is on Elochoman Slough, a 3-mile (4.8 km) long[10] side-channel of the Columbia River located east of Hunting Islands, northwest of Cathlamet.[4] Much of the lower Elochoman River, Elochoman Slough, and Hunting Island are part of the Columbian White-tailed Deer National Wildlife Refuge.[11]

Natural history[edit]

The Elochoman River supports populations of Chinook, Coho, and Chum salmon, as well winter-run steelhead trout.[12] The steelhead, which routinely number over 1,000 annually, are a draw for sport fishing. The largest salmon (Chinook) ever caught in freshwater in Washington State was caught here by Mark Salmon on Oct 5th, 1992, his catch weighed 68lbs. and 4 ounces.[13]

See also[edit]