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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

my flights are booked for my first trip out west - i decided to hit the olympic peninsula, i booked a hotel, then yesterday i emailed a guide....and he said he no longer guides OI winter steelhead due to the low runs :Eyecrazy:

this has me re thinking the trip.

i had planned 3 guided days - sold duc, hoh and Queets. do i have a realistic chance of meeting steel or not ?

every where i look seems to be either closed (skagit) or poor runs...

is this one guide being overly protective or realistic ?

Cheers

Mark.
 

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Give JD Love or Jim Kerr a call if you are still interested in a guided trip. Both are top notch and will give you the best shot at a fish on the swing. I think both are also licensed to guide the Queets too.
 

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you may also want to try Jerry French and Trevor Covich a call at OP Skagit Tactics. If I were to pick people to guide on the OP it would be those two guys. I know JD Love has a great reputation as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks for the guide recommendations - so do folks think that with 3 days guided and 2 solo i have a decent shot at fish ?

for me a good week would be 3 fish landed and returned, is that realistic or are we in Scottish Salmon fishing realms here, where one fish makes the week ?

Thanks

Mark.
 

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That is very realistic. It really depends on the dates. But I think those are very realistic expectations. Personally I would stay away from the Hoh just because escapement has been way down on that river. If you focused on the Sol Duc and Queets you should do very well. Maybe others will voice their opinion. I don't get to go over there but once a year and try to hit it at the prime time.
 

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it is a crap shoot on weather and water conditions - you are there during a prime time but I know folks who have been there for over a week without a grab so if catching a fish is a priority it might be questionable but if this is secondary to a great trip, not many places more awesome that this
 

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I would say that in 5 days of committed swinging on the Peninsula for someone who knows what they are doing on those specific waters landing 3 fish is possible...for someone who has never been there I don't really think it's realistic. You might be looking more in terms of 1 or 2 fish for that time, but you never really know honestly. I also get the impression you haven't done any PNW steelhead fishing from your opening paragraph so the odds will be even less in your favor. The Olympic Peninsula rivers aren't great beginner rivers for swinging steelhead. I'm curious what drove your decision to choose the Olympic Peninsula as your ideal destination?

I'll say the same thing that I tell everyone who talks about going and fishing the Peninsula for the first time: if you are interested in catching fish more than sightseeing pick one section of river, find good water and fish it hard instead of bouncing around to multiple rivers each day. It's tempting to try and sample everything but you are greatly decreasing your odds of locating fish. Each of those rivers has a different character as you will see. The Bogachiel and Hoh are a bit "easier" to fish while the Sol Duc is the "finishing school" for swinging steelhead.

You play a guessing game by scheduling one week out there...it's quite possible everything will blow at any time during that period and you'll be stuck in a room drinking beer and tying flies for days. It could also be ideal conditions, but you will want a backup plan.
 

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Rick and Sleestak pretty much nailed it. I think an expectation of 3 fish sits you up for failure. It could happen and it might even happen in one morning but you can also have a week of nothing.

This past spring my buddy and his dad were out for three days. Note he has a vacation home there and fishes there often. My buddy hit two and his dad one. My son and I showed up the day they finished and we also fished three full days. My son was one for two and I went zero for one.

Go there for the experience and hope for one fish. Anything more is icing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks for your honesty guys.

i don't 'expect' three fish, i'm thinking more about whether there's a realistic shot - expecially with three days guided, float and wading the bars of a fish or to during the week. Trust me, if I come back having landed one i'll be overjoyed.

the reason i chose the OP for my first PNW trip was threefold - 1) wild winter fish, 2) easy to get to, and 3) beautiful scenery.

i do know nothing is guaranteed in andronomous fishing, 25+ of fishing for Atlantics has taught me that, i just wanted to know that if the water is right do i have a decent shot ? or should i head elsewhere.

in 2016 i was thinking of the Squamish about the same time of year, and maybe in 2017 the Skagit in January. its not a bucket list but its close, LOL.

Thanks for everyone's perspective on this.

Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It could also be ideal conditions, but you will want a backup plan.
backup plan depends on the weather event, if its small then i can fish the beaches and other rainforest rivers maybe even the snoqualmie or Yakima for bows and cutts.

if its large and widespread, i have a rental car...southern BC is not that far, and if its unseasonably cold and snowy to the extant i can't fish, i'm a keen skier so i'd scrap the fishing and head for Whistler.
 

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Mark,

The short answer is you have as good or better chance of a wild winter April fish on the OP than anywhere else. Go for it.

'Tip
 

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I would call Jerry French at OPST [http://www.opskagit.com/ and Chris Senuol [425-890-1681] for guides.I can give other names as well and also for the Descutes if needed. I like to cast and swing with spey rod. Sol Duc flows bank to bank a lot...lots of fishermen fishing it with floats
in front of the boat and guide rowing the boat. I like the Hoh and the Bogachiel. More classic wade and swing water.
If I was rained out I would go to Alpental to ski..especially if you are good at it! Top pros like it!...one hr from Seattle on I-90.
 

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Awesome! I'm amazed at the eagerness of some speypagers, not all, who are willing to help with useful info, and you guys are spot-on. I wouldn't be surprised if some of you where to receive "hate-mail" of sorts for your replies.

Oh - and Crystal Mountain would be another great ski-slope. Only a bit longer drive. NW of Mt Rainer and on sunny days in Mar-May that view of the volcano is not to be missed.
 

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ii have a rental car...southern BC is not that far, and if its unseasonably cold and snowy to the extant i can't fish,
Be VERY careful which rental car company you use, or you could have the same experience I did last February, in Oregon. Booked the rental car on-line and specifically chose a company that offered a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD. Selected that vehicle and booked it. Three months later, we arrive at Portland airport, go to the rental car pickup, and the very nice young lady shows us the three vehicles we may choose from - NONE of which is a Jeep Grand Cherokee! She says, oh, we don't have that vehicle. Choose one of these. So we do - a Chevy Traverse (ordinarily a 4WD, but not this one). A few days later the biggest storm in 20 years (I'm told) blows in, and we are stuck up on a backroads hillside with no way out! Three days of calling the rental company and they finally agreed to knock off the rental cost for the days that the vehicle was stuck and unusable, and send a tow truck to pick up the vehicle. When challenged about the lack of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, they just said that in the agreement it states that "the vehicle would be equivalent". I guess they figure that 4 wheels makes a vehicle equivalent (the other choices were some sort of small Kia SUV, and another smallish SUV)

Also, we found out that our insurance plan does not cover the rental of SUV's, so check with your agent beforehand.

Hope this is not news to anyone, but just in case, hope it helps.

Jim
 

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That's funny you said that steelhd32 I had the exact same thing happen. Asked for a jeep cherokee and they wanted to give us a honda crv or something. Luckily my buddy flirted with her and she gave us a loaded AWD Dodge durango. Still not what we wanted but the AWD saved us the whole trip. Those roads can get nasty on the OP. As far as the fishing goes, last time I went up for 4 days and tagged one fish and my buddy got blanked. I talked to a guy who had went like 3 weeks or more w/o a fish. But i think it is a trip unlike anything else and every person owes it to themselves to wake up in the dark, drive through those trees, walk to the river in the mist, low clouds and drizzle and swing a line through the turquoise water. Not to mention a tussle with a fish that still haunts my dreams till this day.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
But i think it is a trip unlike anything else and every person owes it to themselves to wake up in the dark, drive through those trees, walk to the river in the mist, low clouds and drizzle and swing a line through the turquoise water.
yeah, thats pretty much my reasoning. To fish that emerald water beneath medieval forests in a maritime climate like no other.

as to the cars - that is actually standard, you contract for a class of car, not a vehicle model, make etc.

I had the same thing last May up in Thunder Bay, NW Ontario. I booked a AWD Jeep Cherokee they gave me a Jeep Wrangler with the same line " you get what we got..." but i pointed out its wasn't 4x4 or AWD which was clearly on the online booking form.

so they searched around and swapped with another firm for a Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4 which worked just fine - high clearance, warm and it handled the back roads pretty good.
 
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