This past Thursday my buddies Colton, Jonathan and I along with Jonathan's father-in-law Gene headed over to the Olympic Peninsula to try out luck for some coho salmon. With a good coho run forecasted this year we were hoping that we might be able to find a few hatchery fish to remove from the gene pool and relocate to our BBQ's. So with high hopes we planned our dawn patrol out and by first light we were hiking out to the mouth of the river to try our luck with these silver bullets. We all started out fishing the tidewater with 8wt and intermediate lines and it didn't take long to spot some fish. Now the problem with coho is typically not finding them it is finding what they want to bite. As these fish stop feeding in fresh water, sometimes that is much easier said than done.
The mouth of the stream
Persistence generally pays off in cases like this, but this day the coho just didn't seem to want to cooperate. After numerous fly changes I had a couple grabs during the outgoing tide, but Colton was the only one to actually catch anything. Just it wasn't a coho, instead was a much rarer summer run chum.
Colton's first chum on the fly
As the tide started pushing in we had a few more grabs from coho and even a couple of short hook ups but couldn't put it all together. Finally we moved upstream to where the stream was flowing a bit and found a corner that was holding some fish. At this point I had switched over to a nymphing setup and it didn't take long to find a fish that wanted to grab. The only surprise was that it wasn't a coho, but a pink. Another rarity for this part of the state.
An Olympic pink salmon
These pinks seemed to have a thing for egg patterns and while there were also coho and chum in this spot, the pinks seemed much more grabby. However this is not to say that the coho and chum weren't biting either, just once again we couldn't put things together with to coho. This seems like the revival of my old curse from last year where I landed the last one out of the 13 or so coho I hooked. At this point of the outing I was probably at around 0 for 5 coho hook this season. As it would be the next fish I hooked was a chum...
My first chum of the year
At this point Jonathan and Gene who had been fishing another area caught up with us and we turned the hole over to them. Within a half hour everybody had caught and released a pink salmon for the day and the skunk was off.
A nice buck pink salmon
Gene with the big pink of the day
After catching their fish for the day Jonathan and Gene decided to call it quits, while Colton and I just decided it was time for a venue change. So we changed from salmon to trout and headed in to the mountains to fish the headwaters of one of the Olympic streams. The stream was high gradient, rough and tumble, and flowed through a beautiful old growth canyon making any fish a bonus.
Olympic native trout waters
However the would be plenty of bonus's as there were plenty of trout to go around. After the lock-jawed salmon these small but willing trout were a nice change and every little pocket had at least a few of the dry fly loving feisty little natives.
An average rainbow
We worked our way upstream catch plenty of trout until the canyon became to tight and we decided to head back to the car.
Ever the diehards though we decided to give one more try at the coho thing. This time we fished the river itself instead of the estuary. While there were some fish in the river, the numbers were not as impressive as at the mouth, so we decided to head downstream to some better holding water that I had found a few year back. The were a few fish down here and while Colton didn't have any luck I had a several minute encounter with another chum that used a log across the river to get out of a photo op. I also got my shot at that coho, which gave my a good run followed by a fair-well jump before throwing the fly bringing my total up to 0 for 6. Oh well next time. All and all I would call it a great day!