The past two months here in Western Washington have seen some of the lousiest weather that I can remember for May and June, with only a handful of days without rain and not a single day with temperatures reaching 80 yet. This has led to a very prolonged spring runoff and streams are much higher than usual for this time of the year. A few days ago I made my way up to the Olympics and tried my luck on one of the smaller drainages, in hopes that things would be a bit more manageable there.
Lots of water....
What I found was a stream that was fishable, but I don't know if I would call it manageable by any means. Clarity was as good as ever, but the stream was about a foot and a half higher than I normally expect, meaning that wading was down right difficult and fording the stream which is required to be successful was near impossible. However when fishing in an old growth forest in the midst of some of the most beautiful and rugged peaks in the lower 48 states any fish are just a bonus.
As is normal with early season Olympic Mountain trout, I started out with a deep tandem nymph rig, consisting of a golden stone imitation up top and a smaller yellow sally imitation below. I found a likely looking slower pocket behind a rock and tossed my rig in. I allowed everything to sink to the bottom and as soon as my flies started to swing at the end of the drift one of the many small rainbows in the stream materialized from the frothy current and grabbed my fly. Although the fish weren't large, with most being 6" to 10" they were beautiful showing abnormally pale sides for rainbows with an extremely prominent red band along the lateral line.
Not the largest rainbow in the stream, but one of the more beautiful ones
Each sizable pocket would invariably give up two or three fish with most grabbing the nymphs on the swing or even while retrieve the flies at the end of the drift. After a while I decided to try some dries out, but the fish stubbornly refused to rise to anything and that type of fishing will have to wait for later in the season when the flows drop and summer actually decides to show up. I fished the stream till the shadows began to lengthen signaling me that it was time to get on the road again. Although it wasn't an ideal day on the water due to the stream conditions anytime I can wet a line on the Peninsula is a good day to me!
Small stream fishing in an old growth forest, life doesn't get much better.