The upper river was similar to the water that we had sampled downstream in November, but with a little more gradiant to it. Once again we each brought a swinging and nymphing rig and while Blake started out tossing his nymph rig, I went for the swing.
Blake working his nymph rig through a good looking run
The first couple holes and runs were unproductive, but the next run downstream was full of chum salmon. It was here that Blake caught a nice fairly bright female chum that grabbed his pink and purple stonefly nymph. We were hoping that there would be some steelhead or cutthroat behind these fish looking for eggs, but had no such luck.
Below the chum hole, we found a large pool in front of a logjam that had a hand full of coho sitting in it. We worked through this hole hard and I had a small cutthroat come up the surface and attack my indicator while Blake a had a take from one of the coho but we got no hookups. Unfortunately things did not improve after this but got worse. While we had hiked a good distance upstream, apparently the gear fisherman from earlier had abandoned the lower river and hiked in just below us effectively cutting us off. The rest of the time on the river ended up being a fruitless search for water that we could have to ourselves and by mid-day we found ourselves out of good water and decided to throw in the towel at this spot.
After leaving the river we decided to scout out the tidewater of a nearby creek, which was said to have a run of steelhead and some decent sea-run cutthroat fishing. We hadn't had a chance to check the tides before leaving home, and when we got to this spot the water was down a couple of feet below what would have been ideal for fishing.
We tried a few casts but the water was shallow and there was no sign of any fish. This creek definitely looked promising, especially for cutthroat in the fall, so we added it to our "Spots to fish" list for another outing under more ideal conditions. After leaving the creek, we made the long trek back to Gig Harbor.