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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll be fishing on the Olympic Penninsula the third week in March and am tying flies for the trip. Can anyone describe the water there? How's that for a broad question? I always have a hard time deciding whether to tie mostly heavy flies for faster water, lighter flies for use with multiple tips and slower water, or just a few of each. Many times I tie a load of flies and end up using just a few during an entire trip.

This is fun, but probably not the most efficient for a trip. Perhaps I'm on to something there:). It seems also that big flies in the "assorted winter colors" of pink, orange, purple, and chartruese predominate. I am familiar with the river names but little else, and that the conditions can change rapidly, which tells me that an assortment may be in order. Most likely will be on the Hoh, Sol Duc, Bogacheil(sic), Queets, etc. Any descriptions, fly recommendations, advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.
 

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loco alto!
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a good read, it will answer some questions, and add fuel to your anticipation

The Color of Winter, Steelhead Fly Fishing on the Olympic Peninsula
by Doug Rose
Publisher: Frank Amato Publications
156 pages, soft cover
ISBN 157188-303-7
$15.95
 

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big and any color so long as its black. tie some tubes in 1" heavy brass and 1.5" heavy brass. your finished product should be about 4" long! T14 heads are what you will need, 10-13'. skagit casting will save your back and keep your fly in the water more minutes.

are you running your own boat, banking it??? solduc is not to be messed with unless you have been down it before, very deceptive gravel fans without a clear path, careful.

other rivers you mentioned are far easier to drift. usual drill on any of these rivers is RIGHT ON THE BOTTOM. fish the softer edges, as usual. the hoh is deceptive simply because it is primarily an aluvial fan. fishes will seek any cover possible, stumps and such, and also hang along the edges, so wade carefully.

if the freezing level jumps, forget about the west side drainage. the quillayute system will be the ticket with a high freezing level. click the weather tab on the seattlepi site for a fast check.
 

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Olympic Penninsula Advice

You are already on the right track with Doug Rose's book.
There are some other things you should know as well.
I think you should spend your time on the Sol Duc, Hoh and Queets. Most all the small rivers close on Feb. 28 and these three rivers have the best runs.
The Hoh wild run is depressed right now (over fishing and low spawning escapement) It's a medium size glacial
river(prone to coloring up quickly) It is a beautiful river that flows through a wide gravel floodplain. It has great access to the gravel bars via Lower Hoh Rd. and Upper Hoh Rd. and Hwy 101.
The Queets is a slightly bigger version of the Hoh...the
fish are bigger too. It colors up quick (glacial ) The Queets is a long way from anywhere. If you camp you will be wetter than you have ever been before. There is a reason they call it a rain forest . ps. the road has just washed out 2weeks ago.....cuts off a huge section of the river.
The Sol Duc is the Crown Jewel of the OP . It's a freestone rainfed river . colors up slow / clears quick.
It's tough to find bank access. It eats drift boats for lunch if you don't pay attention.It has a healthy run of BIG
Natives that like big flies.
There you go.. a "cooks tour" of my 3 favorites. There is plenty of swinging water and nymphing water in each just "let my fishes "go when you are done catching.
 

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Olympic Penninsula Advice

You are already on the right track with Doug Rose's book.
There are some other things you should know as well.
I think you should spend your time on the Sol Duc, Hoh and Queets. Most all the small rivers close on Feb. 28 and these three rivers have the best runs.
The Hoh wild run is depressed right now (over fishing and low spawning escapement) It's a medium size glacial
river(prone to coloring up quickly) It is a beautiful river that flows through a wide gravel floodplain. It has great access to the gravel bars via Lower Hoh Rd. and Upper Hoh Rd. and Hwy 101.
The Queets is a slightly bigger version of the Hoh...the
fish are bigger too. It colors up quick (glacial ) The Queets is a long way from anywhere. If you camp you will be wetter than you have ever been before. There is a reason they call it a rain forest . ps. the road has just washed out 2weeks ago.....cuts off a huge section of the river.
The Sol Duc is the Crown Jewel of the OP . It's a freestone rainfed river . colors up slow / clears quick.
It's tough to find bank access. It eats drift boats for lunch if you don't pay attention.It has a healthy run of BIG
Natives that like big flies.
There you go.. a "cooks tour" of my 3 favorites. There is plenty of swinging water and nymphing water in each just "let my fishes "go when you are done catching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice

Thanks for the advice guys! I'm really excited to fish the Olympic Penninsula. I'll be staying on the Hoh, so will definitely check it, and the Queets out. I hear that one can walk around that slide on the Queets and may have some water to oneself if your willing to take a march. I especially appreciate the "drift boat eating" advice for the Sol Duc. My buddy that I'm making the trip with has a drift boat and I'm sure he doesn't want it beaten up. It's -10 here at home this morning, so I think tying will be in the cards. I'll also pursue the Skagit style. I have a new, to me, 14'1" Sage VPS 9wt for the trip, and can't wait to give it a run when it warms up here.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Norm,

Since I lived in Montana for 12 years and fished many of the rivers there and have now been in Western WA for the last 15 I can help you with water type.

The water types you will find on the OP will be just like the waters in your home area of NW Montana, although you won't find water as large as the Flathead below the lake or the Clark Fork below Missoula. The Sol Duck is very similar to the Yak or the North Fork of the Flathead with runs, riffles, and pools. The Hoh and Queets are gentle riffle/run and pool type water similar to the Clark Fork above Milltown, just a little bigger. The Upper Sol Duc is a lot like the lower Blackfoot complete with short, fairly deep holding slots. And the Upper Hoh is much like lower Rock Creek or the Bitteroot below Hamilton. Also, the Salmon between Challis and the end of the road below North Bend has a lot of water that is very similar to the Bogochiel and Queets.

I know most of the folks who fish the OP are using large flies of #1/0 to #3/0 or even larger, or large tube flies; but I prefer to use smaller ones than most for the native fish in March and April. Syd Glasso's winter speys (Orange, Brown, and Gold Heron, with the Orange being a particular favorite of mine, all on Alec Jackson Spey Hooks in size #3, which is very close in size to the low water #1 and #2 hooks Syd used on them for his fishing), Glasso's Sol Duc and Sol Duc Dark on Alec Jackson #3's, and Glasso's Polar Shrimp on Alec Jackson #1/0 are flies I use all the time on the OP. Also, the Ally's Shrimp in orange, black, purple, or the version known as the Cut Silk Shimp (all purple except for the body which is pearl flat tinsel) in #2 are also very effective, as is the orange G.P. or the orange with hot pink G.P. known as Sean's Prawn. Marabou spiders tied on #2/0-#2 hook and tied in orange & hot pink, orange & yellow, purple & black, black & chartreuse, orange, purple & hot pink, orange & red, and blue & red are also effective and used by quite a few anglers. The same color combinations with a short bunny tail and then having marabou tied spider style in front of the bunny strip are also found in use by some of the best fly fishers on the OP.

As to rivers, the Sol Duc, Hoh, upper Bogachiel, and Queets have roads running along them and all of them have fishing access areas with well marked boat launches on them. All of the are accessible without a boat if you do some bushwacking. As to which is best, the truth is that you can find steelhead in any of them and because steelhead are on the move (unlike resident trout) a run that is devoid of fish one day, can be full of fish the next-at least for a few hours, before the move further up river). This means that you can fish pretty much anywhere on these rivers on a given day and have a good chance at hooking a fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks flytyer

I'm familiar with most of the Montana waters listed and especially the Flathead system and the Salmon between Challis and the end of the road below North Fork. I love that water. This is really helpful stuff! Knowing a little about the type of water for a trip has always been helpful. I just ordered the Doug Rose book today that was recommended by sspey. I have been attracted to the Syd Glasso flies. I'll tie some of them up. I have been especially intrigued by the General Practitioner, and will pursue it further. Size is tricky isn't it? I'll try to mix it up in my tying and appreciate the advice.
 
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