About this blog

This blog is all about fly fishing for native trout. On it I cover trip reports, fishing tactics, conservation, the latest news about native trout species and much more. This site provides a companion to my web page Nativetroutflyfishing.com.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Native Trout of the Olympic Mountains

This trip got on the books last November when I was doing research for a paper for college and inadvertently discovered that a stream that was no less than two hours from home had a healthy population of Southern Dolly Varden in it. This fish is exceedingly rare in Washington state being restricted to a few streams above barrier falls that prevented hybridization /competition with the later invading Bull Trout.

I had been wanting to fish this stream for its native coastal rainbow trout for sometime as well, so I figured that I would strap on my hiking boots and head up there as soon as the flows dropped into the fishable range and I might get a Dolly while I was at it. After some extra research on trail / fishing conditions I had a free day last week so I called Clint up and we went for it.

The stream flows through a virgin forest in one of the Wilderness areas surrounding Olympic National Park, and my research had indicated that fishing was best about 3.5 miles up the trail.

The trail

The 'bridge' across the river....

Due to its location this is one of the first streams in the Olympics to drop into fishable shape but the flows were still up as we are at about 130% of our annual snow pack so wading was difficult. To complicate matters the bridge over the river was out so we had to search out a decent spot to ford it (This was easier said than done)

The Olympics from the meadow.

We hiked up to a series of meadows along the river and started fishing using dry and dropper step ups, however the river was much more of a creek in this section and over hanging brush made casting difficult. After about an hour of fruitless fishing, we decided to move down stream and change tactics a bit. We hiked down to the lowest meadow where we found a nice pool and switched to nymphs on sink tip lines. This ended up being the ticket and we got our first of many dolly varden while swinging and stripping a stone fly nymph back in.

An underwater shot of a Dolly after being released...

A stream resident Southern Dolly Varden

With the flows up the fish were pushed into the pools and slower pockets along shore and it was a good distance between decent holding water so we decided to hike downstream a fish all of the best water as we went. About 1.5 miles down from the bridge we came to a nice pool where I caught the 'big' dolly of the day at about 10".

The river on the way down

The 'big' dolly

As we went down we also began to see a transition to more rainbow trout. In one particular pool that we came to we spotted a couple of good sized fish sitting on the bottom. The pool was deep so we each put a little extra weight on to get our flies down... On my first cast the big guy darted out and attacked my rubber legged copper john, but I missed him... I thought that I had blew it and then he hit again and shook the hook, usually the third time is the charm but in this case he threw the hook another time and a I got his smaller neighbor. After another about 15 minutes of casting to him, we thought the jig was up and decided to call it, but I threw my fly back in the water one last time anyways and this did the trick...It ended up being a beautiful 12" rainbow that must have been either extremely hungry or dumb... By this time it was getting late as we had already fished downstream about 2.5 miles so we hit the trail again and called it a day...

The rainbow...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fort Rock Basin Redbands

This trip came about when I got an invite from my sister to join her on a trip down to Sun River, OR. My original plan was to fish Hosmer Lake for its landlocked Atlantic Salmon which eluded me on a previous trip, but due to an unusually hard winter the road to the lake was still snowed in. While I had many other larger waters, likely holding larger trout close by I chose to head out into the Fort Rock Basin to try my luck for some native redbands.

Fort Rock itself

I had visited the stream that I decided to fish in 2007 and done fairly well in it, so I figured it would be a great place to kick off my small stream native trout fishing again this year. When I got to the creek it was running about 8" higher than the year before, which is a lot of extra water on a stream this size. However I figured that there had to be fish around still so I got to it.

A good spot for a nice fat back cast...

I rigged up my favorite native trout set up, a size 12 royal pmx trailed by a small copper john and began working my way downstream. However after covering a good stretch of water, I had only managed to turn a couple of trout. As with many small streams the pool formed at the out flow of a culvert generally provides some of the best habitat for trout and this creek is no exception. The middle of the pool consisted of a bubbling white water froth, but there was softer water on the edges and more importantly an activily feeding trout. I missed a few takes, than finally got a solid hook up a landed a beautiful little redband on my royal pmx.

I managed to get another one of these beautiful little fish on my nymph, and rose a couple of others before the pool turned off and the weather started to go south telling me it was time to call it a day.