We are a conservation minded outfitter providing year-round guided fly fishing trips on the Olympic Peninsula for steelhead, salmon, trout & we take anglers of all skill levels from beginner to seasoned veteran
WHAT WE DO
We specialize in both spey and single-handed casting. Steelhead in the winter, trout in the summer and a few salmon species. We offer everything from multi-boat trips to half day walk & wade trips. At Waters West we understand that anglers are unique, and their guided trip should be too. More than anything, we want you to enjoy your day on the water.
GUIDED SEASONS

We fish and guide on a few select rivers ALL YEAR round targeting species according to whats “running” in the river at the time. Here are the species we target and months they are in the river.  For more in-depth info on these unique species click on the SPECIES tab below.

 

 

Species we target and Months they are in the river

  • Trout – Cutthroat & Rainbow – May-October
  • Summer Steelhead – June-October
  • Coho Salmon – July-November
  • Fall Chinook – September-November
  • Winter Steelhead – (Hatchery run) November-December
  • Winter Steelhead – (Wild run) November-April

 

SPECIES INFO
Trout – May-October:

Streamer eating Sea-run Cutt

  • Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout: Sea-Run Cutt’s are from the ocean and migrate into fresh water to feed and or to spawn. They enter the rivers at all times of the year but primarily in summer through fall when waters are warmer and at much lower flows. These Sea-Runs are incredibly feisty, love hitting big simulators on the surface as well as larger steamer patterns. Pound for pound are great fighters. Average size 10 to 15 inches with the largest (most infrequent) near 20 inches.

Resident Cutthroat give anglers opportunity all season and can be found high and low at any time of the summer season.

  • Resident Cutthroat Trout: Resident Cutt’s spend most or all of their life in the river. They range in size from 5 to 15 inches and may be a little more selective in their feeding habits but one true fact about trout on the OP, they love big surface imitations!

Most of our OP rainbow trout have fast metabolisms and move out to the ocean to feed, thus becoming a “steelhead” (a sea-run rainbow trout) but the rainbows with slow metabolisms stay in the fresh water offering great sport opportunities throughout our summer season.

  • Rainbow Trout: Fewer and far between than the Sea-Run or Resident Cutthroat. Rainbow trout of the OP are fast, hot, wild fish. Great fun and put on their best aerial display once hooked. Average size 5 to 15 inches

Summer Steelhead – June-October

  • These are sea-run rainbow trout. Summer Steelhead coming from the ocean enter the river in the summer from June to as late as October migrating up river to spawn. Averaging 5lbs to 10lbs summer steelhead are incredibly fast and strong for their size and put the heat to any reel. We use lighter fly lines and often fish smaller flies. For rods, we can get away with using single handed rods but might prefer smaller/lighter spey rods for our summer steelhead. (guide can provide all rods if need be)
  • Summer run steelhead are no longer as abundant as they once where decades ago. Even for an advanced angler if you catch one a day you are doing great! But this is why we love to fish for them. Here on the OP Steelhead are something special.
  • If your new to fly fishing, steelhead fishing may not present the best sport as it is very difficult even for advanced anglers to find and hook these rare tough to catch fish… if you don’t mind a high probability of not seeing a fish and would like to learn how to fish for steelhead, than we would love to take you out. Who knows, with a guide your chances are dramatically improved! Our summer runs average 5lbs to 10lbs. Also, we do have a summer hatchery/stocked run in a few of our rivers.

Lake Crescent Trout – June 1st to October 31st

Beardslee rainbow trout AKA “Blue Backs”. Though this guy is about 10 inches in length, in a couple years may grow to be upwards of 15lbs!

  • Beardslee: Oncorhynchus mykiss beardsleei by some sources are considered to be a sub-species of rainbow trout. These Beardslee rainbow are endemic to Lake Crescent and can reach incredible size. Some have been caught up to 15lbs to 20lbs. On average we catch these fish 10 inches to 15 inches with a 20 inch fish not being that uncommon. These Bearslee have a chrome, dime bright body with an almost azure blue back (locally known as Blue Backs). Not only are they beautiful but they are incredibly aggressive and feed heavily on Kokanee (bait fish) crayfish, sculpins and will take dry flies and in the early season will take poppers on top of the water!

 

Crescenti Cutthroat upwards of 12lbs! This is a rare treat to see a Cutthroat of this size, but it can happen once in a blue moon

 

Crecenti: Oncorhynchus clarkii crescenti these Crescenti Cutthroat trout are endemic to Lake Crescent and though they do not get quite as large as the Beardslee rainbow our Crescenti Cutthroat have been caught up to 15lbs. Crescenti are again, gems, beautiful and not one Cutthroat is alike. Some are covered in bold dark spots, some hardly a mark, and you’ll find a few that have a trademark vivid fire orange tag on their dorsal. Crescenti are incredibly aggressive eating large bait fish streamers, sculpins, crayfish, drys, and at times small nymph patterns. Average size 10 to 15 inches with some getting up to 20 inches and much larger in some rare cases.

 

       Another Crescent Cutthroat trout, awkwardly large head but loaded with spots and beautiful yellow birthmarks!


 

Coho Salmon – July-November

Head Guide – Curt Reed with a chrome bright, fresh from the salt Coho salmon. Though Coho on the fly is not our specialty service, we may fish for them if they are present in the river. Often if Coho are present in the river we may combine our effort, targeting both Steelhead and Coho during your trip. If your interested, ask about targeting Coho salmon while booking a trip and we will accommodate (again, “if” Coho are in the river at the time of your trip. )

Coho Salmon: AKA “.Silvers”. These Coho/Silvers offer great sport opportunity through summer into fall. They fight hard, and are great fun on a fly rod. Though we can and often do book trips specifically targeting Coho, these Coho are often caught using the same gear and tactics while fishing for summer run steelhead or our early winter run steelhead. Average size ranges from 5lbs to 12 lbs.


Fall Chinook – September-November

Fall Chinook can present a very challenging yet sometimes a great sport opportunities when available. We don’t specialize in guiding for Spring or Fall Chinook as the runs and the productivity are highly unpredictable, but we do target them both for our personal fun and leisure fishing. Though its not our specialty service, if you would like to book a trip targeting fall Chinook than give us a call and we would love to take you out. After all we love our Fall Chinook!

Chinook Salmon: AKA King salmon/ AKA Springer / AKA Fall Chinook. “King Salmon” is just a name for “Chinook” / “Springer” is just a Chinook that arrive in the Spring / Fall Chinook arrives in the Fall. Chinook are the largest of our Salmonid (fish) species with the largest upwards of 35 – 40lbs! Chinook salmon live at sea for a few years then make their migration into the rivers to spawn at specific times of the year based upon ocean and river conditions. Chinook salmon can range greatly in size. Average size range of adult Chinook salmon 10lbs – 30lbs. Chinook can be very difficult to catch on a fly and only fisherman looking for the unsure challange search out these Kings


Winter Steelhead –  November-April

Turn down the exposure! A beautiful dime bright winter steelhead. Our steelhead may range greatly in size but on the OP we get some of the largest steelhead in the world

Winter Steelhead are Sea-Run rainbow trout that have spent a year or more in the ocean feeding heavily, building up fat reserves for their migration into the rivers to spawn. Unlike other salmon species which spawn once then die, some steelhead may make this journey up the river then back down to the ocean three times in their life. Average size: 5lbs to 15lbs with just a few in the 20lbs range

Conservation: There is currently a large scale effort to restore our rivers back to the infamous bounty we once had only decades ago. Olympic Peninsula Steelhead have been subject to many variables of over harvest by sport fisherman, mishandling, environmental impacts, ocean conditions and just a vast misunderstanding of how vulnerable these steelhead really are. It’s a continuous effort to understand how to manage the incredibly diverse biodiversity of the Olympic Peninsula. It involves collaboration of Federal, State, local/corporate business, Tribal laws, and even us as fisherman. So on your guided trip we emphasize these fish are incredibly unique, beautiful, great fun and most importantly every fish is handled with care.

The “run” timings are by Thanksgiving the early run of hatchery winter steelhead are in and they will be most abundant through December.  By January the highly prized native steelhead are getting started as we enter prime time.  February and March are special months as some of the largest wild steelhead in the world swim up our rivers.  These fish are truly amazing and draw anglers and guides from all over.  And April brings the lower flows and warmer water temperatures that equal snappy fish.

If your new to fly fishing, steelhead fishing may not present the best sport as it is very difficult even for advanced anglers to find and hook these rare tough to catch fish… if you don’t mind battling winter elements, a high probability of not seeing a fish and would like to learn how to fish for steelhead, than we would love to take you out. Who knows, with a guide your chances are dramatically improved!

Give us a call or email us to ask specific questions or to book your trip today!

 (360) 417-0937 ~ info@waterswest.com

LAKE CRESCENT FISHING (unavailable until further notice)

 

 

gin clear azure blue water, you can easily see 50ft down and emerald green shores that when the sun is shining on Lake Crescent gives the feel your on some tropical beach

 

 

When cloudy and raining Lake Crescent has an ominous prehistoric feel that is so impressive we always take lot’s of pictures.

*Full Day and *Half Day Trips available – June 1st through October 31st

 


When to book a trip: June 1st through October 31st

The fishing is *best* between June into July then mid September to late October as the waters are cooler. Late July can be ok as we still have opportunities in the heat of the summer but most productive fishing occurs early morning and later evening.

For the Month of August we prefer not to book trips due to the fact fishing is much more challenging as the water is much warmer and the fish are much deeper. Though if you are requesting a float trip just for the experience of being on such a beautiful lake and maybe catch a few fish, we can always fish close to the bank and pluck smaller Cutthroat along the brush line, which can still be fun but again, the majority of the larger fish are much deeper and we do not target these deeper fish in August.

Also, when inquiring about full day trips in late July or August inquire about half day lake/half day river trip.

We also offer half day lake – half day river fly fishing. Cost is the same for a full day trip. Full days are about 8 hours. We like to fish the lake early morning then fish the river for the remainder of the day. Best option for hot and or windy days or if you would like to just shake things up. The Sol Duc is an absolutely beautiful river and a great way to break up the day. For more details feel free to call the shop or email. (360) 417-0937 ~ info@waterswest.com

Lunch provided for full day trips.

1 Angler 2 Anglers 3 Anglers
Half Day on Drift Boat $200.00 $250.00 n/a
Full Day on Drift Boat $350.00 $425.00 n/a

 


Fishing Tactics:
  • Bucking/Trolling flies – Best for children/youth or anybody who just wants to relax and catch fish. What is “Bucking”? Trolling or bucking flies means you let out 30ft or more of fly line, hold the rod in your hand in a relaxed position either seated or standing and the guide rows the boat around specific points on the lake. No casting involved. We also add a little bit of technique using full sink lines that are sectioned off which allow us to target a range of very specific depths. When trolling we add lots of movement twitching the rod giving life to the fly. Its all in the twitch.
  • Fly Casting – Best for those advanced casters. We may need to cast at least 30ft or more for effective fishing on this lake and sometimes in the wind. Sight fishing for cruising fish and or casting at bank structure stripping flies which can be very productive on a cloudy day or early morning. We can throw poppers in the early season but mainly fish steamers/large leech patterns and some dry fly fishing. Casting becomes really effective if or when we find an active baitball feeding event as “cast and strip as fast as you can”, targeting feeding fish becomes the name of the game.

 


A little bit about the lake:

With stunning imagery and great fishing, Lake Crescent is a truly unique fishery. The valley was carved by a massive glacier that pushed its way down the valley until it flooded. When this valley flooded it trapped a few species of trout and Sockey salmon (now Kokanee) and because of the size and depth (in some parts 600 ft deep) these fish began feeding habits similar to that of fish out in the ocean.

Lake Crescent has two unique species of trout endemic to lake crescent found no where else on earth.

  • Crescenti Cutthroat – Oncorhynchus clarkii crescenti
  • Beardslee Rainbow – Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus f. beardsleei

These trout feed on an abundant food source, Kokanee. These Kokanee form baitballs large and small. Larger trout roam this vast lake searching out these bait balls. Once found if the mood strikes there will be a flurry of explosive activity as these larger fish attack the helpless baitball. Much like an ocean feeding event. While fishing we cover water catching fish in key locations until or if we see one of these exciting feeding episodes. Once a feeding episode is spotted we row as fast as we can to the location and target feeding fish. Most of the fish feeding on these baitballs are feeding blind and can be very productive for this short lived but exciting moment. We use large poppers and streamers for these feeding events.

Other than baitballs we fish patterns close to the bank that represent either crayfish, sculpins, pygmy white fish and a variety of insect patterns.

 


Lodging on Lake Crescent

Log Cabin Resort: (360) 928-3325 http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/lodging/log-cabin-resort/

Lake Crescent Lodge: (888) 896-3818 http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/


feel free to browse through the pictures below

 

Crescenti Cutthroat stuffed and still taking flies! At times, especially in the early season Lake Crescent can be incredibly productive.

Kokanee spat up by a larger fish we landed. These pint sized Kokanee are incredibly important to Lake Crescent and attribute to the massive size our trout can reach.

 

Small Beardslee. Chrome bright bodies with azure blue backs AKA “blue backs”

A much larger Beardslee. We don’t catch very many large Beardslee like the one in the photo but once in a while it happens.

Decent sized Crescenti Cutthroat.

 

A fine Crescenti Cutthroat

Moments after… another fine Cutt. Some days are better than others and some days are truly exceptional

brilliant fire orange tag on their dorsal unique to these Crescenti Cutthroat

Sizes range from 8 inches to 15 lbs… You just never know what your going to get

upwards of 12 lbs… again, you just never know what your going to catch

THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA RIVERS
The Olympic Peninsula is a rain forest, so much so that in the upper reaches of the O.P. we may receive 200 inches of rain per year. All this rain has to go somewhere and most of it drains directly into the Pacific ocean, anywhere this fresh water drains into the ocean you’ll find a blooming and highly dynamic ecosystem. These freshwater drainage’s are migration hot spots for many species. Some move into the rivers for spawning and some for feeding purposes. The Olympic Peninsula has since become a mecca for sight seer’s, hikers/backpackers, nature documentaries and of course, sport fisherman!

 

 

We typically fish the major coastal rivers around Forks, WA, and are licensed for guiding in the Olympic National Park.  The rivers include the Sol Duc, Hoh, Bogachiel, Queets, and we also fish Lake Crescent from June-October.  We target steelhead almost year round,  and trout from summer through fall.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
  1. Our guided trips include all necessary tackle, lunch/snacks and water. Anglers are certainly welcome to bring their favorite rods, flies, beverages, etc. This is what you will need to bring:
    • Waders and Boots – If you do not have any, let us know so we can get you a pair of rentals
    • Fishing License – Make sure to get this before the day of your trip. If you get it online it usually takes about 10 days to get to you. Otherwise you can get one at Swains General Store in Port Angeles or Forks Outfitter in Forks. If you are fishing for salmon and steelhead with us, make sure to get the “Catch Card” as well.
    • Sun glasses and hat (eye and head protection and helpful for seeing into the water)
    • Rain Jacket in muted tone if possible
    • Appropriate clothing: summers are generally mild, with a lightweight long sleeve being the most you’d probably need, but fall and winter are a different world. Dress in layers, with hat and gloves. Warm, but thin socks can really make the difference. We use Woolpower because it’s thin and incredibly warm, but anything like that will work as well.
WHERE DO WE MEET?
We do most of our river fishing around Forks, Washington, about an hour west of our shop.  We will often meet our clients right in, or nearby Forks, depending on the river we are fishing.  If you are staying in Port Angeles and do not have transportation, we can usually make arrangements for your guide to pick you up in town.
NEW TO FLY FISHING?
Great!  We enjoy teaching new fly fishers a lifelong hobby.  There is no better place to learn than on the water, and we provide all the essential gear.  Just show up ready to learn and we’ll take care of the rest.

 

 

GUIDE RATES

(See below for Deposit Policy)

These rates include all fishing gear (rods, reels, flies, etc), and lunch on full day trips

Not included in this price is your Washington State license (not needed if fishing inside the Olympic National Park), sales tax, waders and boots, and gratuity for the guide.

Guided River Trips-

1 Angler 2 Anglers 3 Anglers
Half Day Walk* $200.00 $250.00 $325.00
Full Day Walk $350.00 $425.00 $500.00
Full Day Float $395.00 $475.00 $575.00**

*Summer Only
**3 anglers on a boat is too crowded unless it is a small child

(unavailable until further notice) Guided Lake Crescent Trips – Fish for the world’s only population of crescenti cutthroat and beardslee rainbow in Lake Crescent. We offer guided trips out of a drift boat for those looking for a more relaxing, classic lake fishing feeling.

All tackle and flies are included. No fishing license required for the Olympic National Park. Lunch provided on full day trips.

1 Angler 2 Anglers 3 Anglers
Half Day on Drift Boat $200.00 $250.00 $325.00
Full Day on Drift Boat $350.00 $425.00 $500.00
RENTALS

If you need gear, all gear is provided on any guided trip. We are happy to offer rental gear for anglers who want to travel light or may just be fishing for a day while in the area. Whether heading to the coastal rivers or high mountain lakes, we can supply you with quality equipment.

Waders & Boots – $25/day
Rod & Reel – $25/day
Waders/Boots/Rod/Reel/ Combo – $45/day
Spey Rod & Reel – $40/day
Pontoon Boat – Bucks Bags Southfork – $30/day
Outcast PAC 9000 or Watermaster – $50/Day
DEPOSIT POLICY
  • We require a $150 Deposit to hold your preferred date.  Deposit is fully refundable if the trip is cancelled due to unfishable conditions.
  • Cancellations over one month in advance of trip – 100% refund of deposit
  • Cancellations between two weeks and one month of trip – 50% refund of deposit
  • Cancellations within two weeks of trip – no refund of deposit
Other guide services we reccommend
Chad Gillespie at Fjord Fly Fishing : Sea-Run Cutthroat on the waters of Hood Canal and Puget Sound in motorized boat style adventures.

 

 

Guide Services

 

 

Curt Reed, Guide
Head guide Curtis Reed has been with Waters West for over a decade and is an integral part of and a major asset to the shop.  During this time, he has fished and guided extensively throughout the Olympic Peninsula with heavy emphasis on the famous steelhead rivers near Forks, Washington.  Curt is a skilled fisherman and a true professional.  A day on the water will always be fun and informative and most likely involve hands that smell of fish.  He’s a well-rounded fly tier, an outstanding spey caster and one of the best instructors around.  He teaches many of our classes and clinics on all things fly fishing and is available for private lessons as well.  His fly fishing roots began as a boy studying entomology and tying flies for his dad.  It wasn’t long until he had his first 4-weight and was hooked for life.  He has since evolved into a very knowledgeable, incredibly patient guide with a passion for fishing and a gift for teaching.