Olympic peninsula in March - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Olympic peninsula in March

I'm looking for any advice about swinging for steel in the Olympic peninsula area in March? I'll be up that way for a week or so early March.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 09:53 PM
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A fair bit of info already out there if you invest a few moments searching around for it. Several threads over the past few years located here on Spey Pages. Quick and dirty:

1. Have realistic expectations...for someone not familiar with these rivers or winter steelheading, simply hooking one winter steelhead on a swung fly during the week could be considered a good trip.
2. Weather...your trip could easily be a write off so be prepared for that.
3. Settle into one spot/river/stretch, find good water, and learn how to fish it. You WILL be distracted and tempted to chase reports or new scenery, but it will most likely not increase your odds of catching fish.
4. Be prepared to deal with crowds.
5. If you are a novice rower and plan on floating you'd be well advised to avoid the Sol Duc and Calawah without "seasoned" guidance.
6. If you've never fished the Olympic Peninsula, only have a week, and are truly interested in catching a steelhead on the swing, you'd be well advised to seek the skills of a respected guide out there.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sleestak View Post
A fair bit of info already out there if you invest a few moments searching around for it. Several threads over the past few years located here on Spey Pages. Quick and dirty:

1. Weather...your trip could easily be a write off so be prepared for that.
2. Settle into one spot/river/stretch, find good water, and learn how to fish it. You WILL be distracted and tempted to chase reports or new scenery, but it will most likely not increase your odds of catching fish.
3. Be prepared to deal with crowds.
4. If you are a novice rower and plan on floating you'd be well advised to avoid the Sol Duc and Calawah without "seasoned" guidance.
Ditto. Beautiful area but it's turned into a bit of a zoo. I would also avoid the Sol Duc and Calawah unless you are pretty experienced on the sticks and have some information on what to avoid. It's also wise to find someone who is floating regularly to find out whether there are any new sweepers. With the incredible rains that hit the OP, river conditions can change rapidly. Make sure you bring a good rain coat.

"A passion for steelhead is a hard ride. It is all consuming. God help the woman, man, or child who hopes to compete for some small claim to the passion in the angler so stricken." Bill McMillan, Forward- A Passion for Steelhead
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 10:07 PM
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In addition to what I posted above...memorize everything from this post and apply it when you arrive.

http://www.speypages.com/speyclave/s...46&postcount=1
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestak View Post
A fair bit of info already out there if you invest a few moments searching around for it. Several threads over the past few years located here on Spey Pages. Quick and dirty:

1. Have realistic expectations...for someone not familiar with these rivers or winter steelheading, simply hooking one winter steelhead on a swung fly during the week could be considered a good trip.
2. Weather...your trip could easily be a write off so be prepared for that.
3. Settle into one spot/river/stretch, find good water, and learn how to fish it. You WILL be distracted and tempted to chase reports or new scenery, but it will most likely not increase your odds of catching fish.
4. Be prepared to deal with crowds.
5. If you are a novice rower and plan on floating you'd be well advised to avoid the Sol Duc and Calawah without "seasoned" guidance.
6. If you've never fished the Olympic Peninsula, only have a week, and are truly interested in catching a steelhead on the swing, you'd be well advised to seek the skills of a respected guide out there.
Hear, hear.
The west-end streams can go out for a week at a time. The upper stretches, tributaries and smaller streams are quicker to drop-in, but always risky floats in case of the Upper Sol Duc and the Calawah. If not familiar you will spend a lot of time searching without ever getting on the water. You'd be well advised having a back up plan that will maximize your time on the water. Lower Columbia tribs for example.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestak View Post
A fair bit of info already out there if you invest a few moments searching around for it. Several threads over the past few years located here on Spey Pages. Quick and dirty:

1. Have realistic expectations...for someone not familiar with these rivers or winter steelheading, simply hooking one winter steelhead on a swung fly during the week could be considered a good trip.
2. Weather...your trip could easily be a write off so be prepared for that.
3. Settle into one spot/river/stretch, find good water, and learn how to fish it. You WILL be distracted and tempted to chase reports or new scenery, but it will most likely not increase your odds of catching fish.
4. Be prepared to deal with crowds.
5. If you are a novice rower and plan on floating you'd be well advised to avoid the Sol Duc and Calawah without "seasoned" guidance.
6. If you've never fished the Olympic Peninsula, only have a week, and are truly interested in catching a steelhead on the swing, you'd be well advised to seek the skills of a respected guide out there.
Thanks for the good advice. I have no delusions about a short trip to a new area. Swinging is my preferred method of choice. Any guide recommendations?
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 11:16 AM
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 11:56 AM
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I will be out there the first week of March. Fishing with a guide one day and then doing it on my own for 3. Hoping for good weather but the flight is booked and I figure there must be a bar someone where around there where I can post up if everything blows.

If you go back through old posts there is a lot of good info on the OP.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 12:23 PM
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I will add that while I have seen the recommendation to focus on one river/piece of water, think about what you really want. I am not suggesting you hop around constantly, but it sounds like you have never been there and based on your location, may not be going back too frequently. If that is the case, isn't there something to be said for really exploring the area and seeing all that it has to offer (even if it may result in less fish)?
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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I will add that while I have seen the recommendation to focus on one river/piece of water, think about what you really want. I am not suggesting you hop around constantly, but it sounds like you have never been there and based on your location, may not be going back too frequently. If that is the case, isn't there something to be said for really exploring the area and seeing all that it has to offer (even if it may result in less fish)?
Thanks troutpunk. I was out that way last November. I didn't get a chance to wet a line. But it was enough to plan a trip. I've spent a lot of time fishing steel in OR the last few years. I do plan to do a bit of exploring. Especially coming from TX. But learning a few good runs is good advice. Let me know how you do!
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 01:38 PM
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A number of us are local to the area. I'm over there a couple times a month year round. Bump this post closer to the date you're here and I'm sure there'll be people willing to provide insight by private message on what might be a good plan given the weather and flows.

With the crowding and general lack of fish, no one is going to get too specific on the internet.

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Thanks troutpunk. I was out that way last November. I didn't get a chance to wet a line. But it was enough to plan a trip. I've spent a lot of time fishing steel in OR the last few years. I do plan to do a bit of exploring. Especially coming from TX. But learning a few good runs is good advice. Let me know how you do!
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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A number of us are local to the area. I'm over there a couple times a month year round. Bump this post closer to the date you're here and I'm sure there'll be people willing to provide insight by private message on what might be a good plan given the weather and flows.

With the crowding and general lack of fish, no one is going to get too specific on the internet.
Will do. Thank you. It's much appreciated!
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 02:27 PM
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If that is the case, isn't there something to be said for really exploring the area and seeing all that it has to offer (even if it may result in less fish)?
There is value in exploring the area just for the sake of experiencing it beyond fishing. Anyone that has never spent any time there should see the Hoh Rainforest, the Queets Rainforest, Rialto Beach, etc. If you do have blowout days, that's obviously a great time to explore if you feel so inclined, and I would encourage you to do that.

From a pure fishing standpoint, making huge jumps between watersheds or even Upper/Lower stretches of rivers will generally not result in huge changes in your success (ignoring condition factors) if you aren't familiar enough with the area to know why/when you are doing that. You might see everyone going to one place and think that's the "spot to be", but in many cases you're just chasing old news like many other people...find what you like, fish water you like in the way you like, and stick with it.

There is one bar in Forks on the south side of town near the Thriftway/shopping center. It becomes "sort" of a fisherman hang out on the weekends during steelhead season (you will be able to identify 90% of the fly fisherman there through profiling) and is a local hangout the rest of the week.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 05:02 PM
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One other thing to know is that by March some sections of river are closed. Check the printed regs, and also check the WDFW website for emergency closures.

And if you decide to hire a guide, better make the call right now. Most of them are starting to get pretty booked up for the season.

These are the guys I would call:

Jim Kerr
Gray Struznik
Jerry French
Trevor Covich

Mark Shamburg

Confluence Rod Company - Maker of Single and Double handed Bamboo Fly Rods and Traditional Click-Pawl Reels

Confluence Guide Service - Providing Swing-Only guided trips for Wild Winter Steelhead on Washington's Olympic Peninsula

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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the advice. I've made arrangements with Trevor for a couple days. I'm looking forward to the experience.
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