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 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 luck into a Dolly while I was at it. After some extra research on trail and fishing conditions it looked like the flows were finally fishable and 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 last streams in the Olympics to drop into fishable shape and with about 130% of our annual snow pack this year flows were higher than normal making wading difficult. To complicate matters the bridge over the river was out so we had to search out a decent spot to ford it the river which 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 downstream 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 downstream, we also began to see a transition to more Rainbow Trout in the catch. 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 were about 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" native 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...

A beautiful native Coastal Rainbow Trout.

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 business trip down to Sun River, Oregon. My original plan was to fish Hosmer Lake for its landlocked Atlantic Salmon, which eluded me on a previous trip. However, 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
I had visited the stream I decided to fish back in 2007 and had done fairly well , so I figured it would be a great place to kick off my small stream native trout fishing for the year. When I got to the creek it was still flush with snow melt and running 8" higher than the previous year. However, I figured that there had to be fish around still so I got to it.
A great spot for a nice 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 deep holding for trout in small streams and this creek was 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 actively feeding trout. I missed a few takes, but finally got a solid hook up a landed a beautiful little Redband on my dry fly.

A beautiful Fork Rock Redband Trout

I managed to get one more 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.