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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.


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Summer in the Olympics: Part 2

 After our last trip scouting for some new water on the Olympic Peninsula, Chris and I did some additional research a found another promising stream to check out. This one was a bit more off the beaten path and would require some serious leg work, but looked very promising. Per the norm in the Olympics, the morning we headed out dawned gray with a fresh marine layer rolling in off the Pacific. We started up the trail through towering old growth, but when we caught our first glimpse of the river, it was too much to resist and we decided to just start fishing right there. As it would turn out, this paid off and a few casts in, Chris caught a nice wild Spring Chinook jack. With our first taste of success on the river, we decide we would just use the river as our trail for the day and started our way upstream. From here things didn't slow down and the river was absolutely gorgeous and each hole and run seemed to have something in it.

Hooked into a fish

A beautiful native Coastal Cutthroat

A beautiful Bull Trout

Working a good seam

A little after lunch, Chris was working on other best runs of the day, when he hooked into something big. The fish turned out to be a bright summer run of about 7-8lbs and was not having any of it. Chris fought it for about 10 minutes until finally he was able to get it in netting range. However, the fish decided it wanted to do one more run, and unfortunately after a tail-wagging leap it spit the hook. We worked the hole a bit longer, but nothing else wanted to bite and with our excitement high, we continued upstream.

Chris working the summer run hole

Very fresh prints from a bear we could hear running off

As the day wore on, we found ourselves at the best hole we had seen all day. We got pretty focused on fishing and each hooked a couple of fish in the hole, when we started to notice that the sun was starting to get low in the sky. It was at this point that we realized that we hadn't stopped moving almost all day and had covered a bit more ground than we had expected and needed to find the trail and start heading back. Unfortunately, this was more easily said than done and ended up being a rough 1/2 hour of bush whacking until we finally found the trail. The hike out made it quite apparent just how far we had gone, with us dragging by the time we reached the trailhead at dusk after what we end up figuring out was a 14 mile day trip.

A beautiful stretch of the river

A giant spruce tree on the way out.

My next adventure was to a couple of my favorite Olympic streams with one of my neighbor Dyllon. As summer was wearing on at this point, I was hoping that the native Rainbows would be starting to think about spawning salmon and the eggs that would be right around the corner. With luck this same thing and a recent rain would also draw a few sea-run Cutthroat in from the salt water as well. The first stream of the day we hit, is usually more productive, albeit with slightly smaller fish. However, today fishing proved very slow and after covering a mile of water and only getting one small Cutthroat we decided to try the other river. 

The first few holes we fished on the next river were just as slow as the last river, but when we got down to one of the "salmon tanks" on the lower river, that changed. I had a large streamer imitating a lamprey on and started with a short perhaps 20' roll cast just to get some line out. However, I watched as a big Cutthroat quickly shot out from behind a log and charged my streamer. The fish seemed to hesitate, so I gave it a couple quick twitches before letting my fly fall and the Cutthroat crushed the fly. The fight was pretty quick as the Cutthroat was close to shore already and I really wanted to avoid spoking the hole. The fish was beautiful and looked as though it had only been out of the saltwater for a day or two at most. 

My big Cutthroat

I gave my Dyllon the next shot at the hole and after floating a few feet, his indicator went down and he hooked into a big Rainbow. This fish was hooked right in the heart of the hole and put up quite a battle before coming in, effective spooking the rest of the hole.

The Rainbow

We figured we had one more hole we could hit before the end of the day and this one also looked promising, as I could see a big Cutthroat sitting in the tail out when we approached. However, before we could get more than a couple casts in a flotilla of inner tubers came floating down the river and spooked the hole and with that we decided that since we had already gotten a couple nice fish and it was time to head back.