Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing ReportUpdated June 16th, 2016
OVERVIEW – After a warmer and drier than normal spring, mid-June has been more typical lately. A little rain, some annoyingly chilly temps and some wind to keep things interesting. The state has also kept things interesting this spring with the confusing regulations becoming even more confusing with current closures and restrictions. Right now, the Quillayute system is open as usual. From the park water to the mouth all is the same as last year. That will change this fall when the Sol Duc will be the only river open in September. That will probably include the Quillayute R. too. It looks like all rivers will be closed all of October through mid-November. Saltwater salmon fishing has a short season too. July 1st through August 15th for chinooks and it looks like no fishing for coho this year.
It’s been a very dry spring so far and the river is much lower than normal for this time of year. The recent brief rains have helped a bit, but it looks like this will be another low water summer. The spring chinook fishing has been quite good this year and the gear boats have had some stellar days, but it is nearing the end for these tasty fish. There are a few sockeyes starting to show and the summer coho won’t be far behind. Fish bright, flashy, mainly pink flies for these fish. The trout fishing has been productive also, with some green drakes and golden stones providing most of the dry action. Streamers like the Wounded Sculpin or Sculpzilla have been catching some bigger cutts and rainbows.
BOGACHIEL / CALAWAH
This is the place for early summer steelhead. So far they have been pretty sparse, but there are some fish around and these early fish are very aggressive and hot. The Bogi is still carrying some color from the slide upriver after every rain, so it may not always be the crystal clear conditions we are used to in the the summer. Most all of the fish in the Bogachiel are below the confluence with the Calawah. The Calawah has been quite low and clear all year so long leaders, 12 to 18 feet, will work better most of the time. Bright colored flies work well in the early season. Pink and red flies will often produce more responses than the darker patterns we’ll rely on later. It is not too early to fish skaters in here.
CLOSED for the entire summer, from top to bottom. Low numbers of chinook is the reason, along with the ever-present politics of fisheries. It looks like there will be a short season in September in the very bottom of the river, but we shall see what transpires.
Unlike the in the spring, this river is devoid of people in the summer months. Little rain and cool temps lately have this river in beautiful early summer form. Couple this with low flows, the adventurous angler can wade back and forth for miles and perhaps not see another human for days. You are bound to see more elk than people. Granted the fish are not in big numbers, but there are a few native summer runs, a few chinooks and some trout around. Not a great dry line river early on, but there is no need to really dredge either. Light sink tips are the norm.
Still closed to all fishing but the river is finally FREE! With both dams completely removed, fish recovery is really taking off. There have a pretty fair number of steelhead spawning in the middle river this spring. All checked there have been wild and it seems the brood stock raised hatchery fish have all remained in the lower river.
Opened June 1st. This has to be the most unique lake in our area and it’s also way
under-fished. Fish over twenty inches are not uncommon and there is a healthy population of mid-size fish as well. There have been a few fish in the 10 lb. range caught this year already. This large, deep lake is crystal clear with incredible visibility. This is not your typical lowland lake and neither are the inhabitants. A unique strain of rainbows called Beardslee trout, and a sub-species of cutthroat (Crescenti trout) are both native to the lake. There is some dry fly action here at times, mainly just fishing a larger pattern blindly in the chop. The fish are very opportunistic and will cruise in search of anything edible. Streamer patterns like Deceivers, scuplins and black leeches work well. Don’t be afraid to try large, long patterns on a deep sunk line.
The northeast end of the OP is home to a myriad of lakes, many of which are open year round. Leeches, buggers, scuds, chironomids. Gibbs, Teal, Sandy Shores, Leland, etc. The cool weather lately has these lakes fishing well still with some smaller emerger patterns producing.
Some of the best fishing of the summer can be had in the high lakes in and around Olympic National Park. Still a bit early for places like Seven Lakes Basin, but lakes Angeles, Mink and Deer are worth checking out now.
Cutthroat fishing is open all year along the beaches! Although rather hit-and-miss at times, finding the right beach at the right tide can result in a very productive day. One of the best flies anytime is Jeffery Delia’s Conehead Squid, which we have in stock and available online. Most everyone has a different opinion on the best tides for each beach, so it can get confusing knowing what to do when. When asked that frequent question, our good friend Doug Rose used to answer, “whenever you have the time”. So, just go fishing – especially if at first light.