My last job assignment was a three week stint on the Olympic Peninsula and with that I was able to find a bit of time to get out after work and do a bit of exploring and fishing. My first two weeks of this assignment were spent out in Forks, WA, a place that I have spent plenty of time in the winter, but seldom make it too in the summer. My first place to explore was a small and exceptionally beautiful coastal stream that I have fished several times for winter steelhead but have never gotten to try once the weather warms and the flows drop. Although as fishing goes my timing was off by a fair bit as most cutthroat are out to sea during summer and don't return till the first fall rains. However being able to see the stream at low water will pay dividends once the winter storms roll in and the steelhead with them.
Just because my timing wasn't ideal, didn't mean that the stream was vacant of fish, it just meant that those that were there were a bit on the small side. Most of these were native coastal cutthroat, but there were a few steelhead smolts hanging around too. Dries and nymphs got the attention of the trout, but it seemed like these fish really wanted something that was moving and a basic soft hackle fly fit that bill. Each pool or log jam would produce a cutthroat or two for a couple of hours before the sun started falling towards the Pacific. Although I wasn't able to find anything over 8", the fish were all beautiful, native and very feisty making for a great first outing of the trip.
A small native coastal cutthroat
My next venture to the river was for something slightly larger, with summer-run steelhead in mind. Armed with my switch rod and a spey-style fly that I came up with I headed one of the many rivers in the Fork, Wa area. With the heavy snow pack in the mountains the flows were still a bit high, but the clarity was good however as is typical with steelhead and especially with swinging flies for steelhead the stars often need to align get one.
Great swinging water
The stars almost aligned for me as about half-way down the run an unseen force intercepted my fly and attempted to rip my rod out of my hand before vanishing into nothingness. This incident resulted in several more fruitless outings on the same stretch of river before I finally decided to trying something different.
For my last fishing outing on the west-end of the Peninsula, I headed down the rainforest to swing some flies. So armed with my switch rod and an articulated leech I headed for one of the wettest places on the west coast.
The Olympic rainforest
While this place receives over 80" of rain a year, I caught it on of those rare sunny beautiful evenings and stunning surrounds made it difficult to pay much attention to fishing.
The flows were great, the clarity was great, the weather was great, and the scenery was amazing, but the fish just didn't seem to be overly cooperative. I wandered a good mile of river and fished several extremely fishy looking runs, but I the end only came away with one bump. In other words it couldn't have been time better spent! However when you only have a couple of hours to spend in such a beautiful place time seems to like to pick up the pace a bit to much and before I knew it I was enjoying a beautiful sunset and the end of the first leg of my work trip.
A great way to end any day