100 Streams in Washington...

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by pigburner, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. pigburner Active Member

    Posts: 23
    Richland, WA
    Ratings: +61 / 0
    A couple years ago in the spirit of making bucket lists and such, my brother and I decided our bucket list would be to catch trout in 100 streams in Washington (moving water, no lakes, but beaver dams count). We started counting those where we'd already caught fish, and started making our lists from our earliest forays with fly fishing as Boy Scouts to more recent years exploring blue lines on the gazetteer. We both were just shy of 70 streams. Since then it has been fun to turn every trip into an excuse to check out new streams: picking up a few small tributaries to the Yakima near Snoqualmie Pass on the way back from Seattle; leaving early to explore a few small streams near Ellensburg on the way to picking up a daughter from camp; visiting the MF Snoqualmie, which I had never done while growing up in Seattle; planning a trip with my youngest daughter to NE Washington last summer and picking up 24 new streams, some beautiful streams I'd revisit in an instant, others too small and brushy to fish (well, except for the one little fish I had to pull out in order to add it to my list).

    Well, this summer I hit stream #100 at Indian Creek near White Pass, finding a small brook trout after hiking to the stream above the falls (I'm now at 103 streams and still climbing).

    It's fun to reflect back on those memories and some of the places I've found trout. Driving down an apparently waterless creek while exploring the Entiat drainage with my brother, we threw the car in reverse when we saw what looked like some moss covered water. Sure enough, there was a beaver dam and a little open water with trout visible from the road. My brother caught a couple small trout casting from the road, then with waders on we carefully entered the water and each caught about a dozen 10" to 12" rainbows. Returned there for several years and found similar fishing until one year the channel was changed and no fish were to be found.

    On another trib of the Entiat, my brother and I took 10 minutes to thread our way 30 feet from the road to the stream through a jungle of alder, then found the stream completely encased in the alder thicket. Not letting that stop us, we threaded our rods through the trees with about a foot of line out, dipped the fly on the water, strip set to hook the small trout, threaded the rod back out of the branches, and unhooked the little guys. After one or two fish each, we decided this was too much work and continued on to a less brushy stream.

    While on a hike along Lake Chelan as a Scoutmaster, there were little six-inch trout literally jumping out of the water and hooking themselves on a fly held a few inches above the surface of the stream. Stopping along a tiny stream for a water break while hiking with my brother as Boy Scouts, we'd race to get our Fenwick reversible fiberglass pack rods put together and the line with the fly already attached through the guides so we could fish for 5 minutes, then put it away and continue on with the hike. Standing on a culvert in a slow-water section of an east side stream, I watched 18" and 22" rainbows come rocketing from dozens of feet away to hammer a fast-stripped white bunny leach. I could list dozens more. Each stream is a wonderful memory of the fish caught and the company kept.

    Write down a list of the streams in Washington where you've caught fish, and whether it's two or two hundred, enjoy the memories that come back to you. Then go out and make some more.

    Stream 100.jpg
    Alpine4x4, WA-Fly, golfman44 and 19 others like this.
  2. Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

    Posts: 2,399
    Columbia Basin
    Ratings: +687 / 0
    Now that's a worthy accomplishment & a wealth of memories.
  3. Lugan Joe Streamer

    Posts: 2,397
    Beautiful View, WA
    Ratings: +774 / 2
    That is incredibly cool and inspiring! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the accomplishment.
  4. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,766
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,710 / 0
    It is fun finding little streams like that. I don't know how many little skinny waters that I have fished. But maybe I should write them down also. I know it's a bunch.
  5. John Clark Member

    Posts: 36
    Portland OR/Hamilton Mt.
    Ratings: +12 / 0
  6. David Loy Senior Moment

    Posts: 2,437
    Wolf Bay
    Ratings: +331 / 2
    Sounds like a job.
    (wonder if Mrs. would consider it "soft" retirement?)
  7. 10incher Active Member

    Posts: 210
    Coupeville, Washington
    Ratings: +92 / 0
    It always amazes me where trout live. Sometimes you can't even imagine how they got there. But there they are. If it's a small stream that's really, really low at it's minimum flow the trout may only be four inches long. But they're there. Exploring creeks in the SF bay area, Ca. I found that streams with NO trout in them were the exception. Even within suburbia along industrial park fences with power lines overhead. Much harder than finding trout is finding water that can support bigger fish. It doesn't need to be a large stream at all. It's more about how low it gets and how deep the pools are. Exploring 100+ streams sounds like a good way to learn how to spot a good one at a glance. Kudos ten times over. Inspirational.
  8. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,494
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +791 / 0
    Very cool 'record.' Keep it up. It inspires me to keep a rod in my truck and explore more li'l blue lines.
  9. Brookie_Hunter aka Dave Hoover

    Posts: 1,350
    Phinney Ridge, Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +120 / 0
    That's neat to keep a list like that. I'm a small stream wanderer. I'll stick a fly in any tiny little trib I encounter along the way and they almost always have a couple fish in them. I wouldn't doubt that I've tried 100 creeks in the last couple of years. I've probably fished 10-12 different creeks just in the last two weeks.
  10. Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Posts: 2,359
    Ratings: +1,208 / 0
    Congrats and thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful, inspirational journey with us!
  11. IveofIone Active Member

    Posts: 3,081
    Ratings: +1,102 / 0
    What a remarkable accomplishment. But it couldn't have been without drama. What was your most interesting wild animal encounter along the way?

  12. 10incher Active Member

    Posts: 210
    Coupeville, Washington
    Ratings: +92 / 0
    Also please describe your favorite secret place discovered. Not the location obviously, but fish sizes, river size and character, etc.
  13. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,129
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +789 / 1
    That is an accomplishment...I'm still trying to reach 100 world rivers. I was keeping track for awhile... should do an update as I've got to be close.
  14. Steve Call Active Member

    Posts: 1,566
    Wetside, WA
    Ratings: +188 / 0
    Really neat. Thanks for sharing.
  15. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    Posts: 2,352
    Ratings: +736 / 0
    OMJ, many of us are waiting for you to publish a book on fishing the northwest..
  16. Skysoldier Trout Hunter

    Posts: 750
    Lost in the woods.....
    Ratings: +193 / 0
    Very cool goal. Thanks for sharing.
  17. pigburner Active Member

    Posts: 23
    Richland, WA
    Ratings: +61 / 0
    Not much drama around here compared to fishing the Kulik in Alaska and having a big brown bear walk out of the brush and start fishing about 20 yards downstream of me. No problem, just head back upstream and wade across....Crap! Where did those two bears come from! My brother fishing on the other side of the stream was having a good laugh at my unease until another bear came out of the brush about 30 ft away from him. Just move slowly, make some noise ("Hey Bear!"), and they'll move away. They are good bears, our guide said. Good thing they were that day.

    Or on the Brooks River, we had a bear come out from the woods across the river and proceed to catch a Sockeye, National Geographic style, right in front of us!

    Around here, nothing more exciting than the occasional snake rattling at my feet in shoulder-high grass stepping out of the creek. I know the bears are more dangerous, but I hate those snakes...
  18. pigburner Active Member

    Posts: 23
    Richland, WA
    Ratings: +61 / 0
    As we all know, no place is really secret. But I'm sure we all have a happy place or two we return to again and again, both in mind and body. That place where your heart starts beating faster as you round the last bend or crest the hill and you sigh with relief when you see the empty pullout and know you'll have it all to yourself. Here is one of mine.

    From the parking area, you look down onto a small stream in a desert canyon, sagebrush hills rising steeply on either side, the crystal clear water slipping over the rounded basalt and falling into deep pools. Upstream of these swimming holes, the little stream flows gently through the overhanging brush and that awful grass, whose leaning stems by summer's end almost touch at the midpoint of the stream, leaving a tiny strip of open water where you must carefully and accurately lay your fly. The scent of mock orange fills the canyon with a heavy sweetness in the stillness of the hot, summer evening. Approaching the first opening in the grass and brush, you look down through the clear water to the moss-covered rocks below. You don't see any fish, but you know they are there; they always are.

    20030704 The Creek 04.JPG

    A little flip of the 3-wt, and the renegade (the only fly to use on this stream) drops at the edge of the current. In an instant, the white hackle disappears in a splash and you bring to hand an 8-inch redband, the parr marks covered by the deep pink stripe down the side. Once, twice, several times more the action is repeated until there are no more takers. Finally you slip into the water, its coolness a relief from the heat of the evening. You turn upstream, and work your way from one pool to the next through a seemingly unending supply of branches, grass, moss covered boulders, and of course, willing fish. None are too large; if one stretches to a foot it is a trophy here, but they are healthy, colorful fish, often with bellies bulging with summer's bounty.

    20091007 The Creek 03.jpg

    All too soon, the sun is gone and it's getting dark, but that next pool is too enticing; just one more fish, again and again, until at last, you realize you are fishing by feel, not sight. With a sigh, you hook the remnants of another renegade onto the loop on your rod and carefully climb up to the trail for a twilight walk back to the car, reminding yourself once again that you ought to bring a headlamp next time...

    20091007 The Creek 05.jpg

    That's one of my happy places to share. Hope it makes you think of one of yours.
  19. Greg Price Love da little fishies

    Posts: 531
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +70 / 0
    Wow, Pigburner,

    Nice story and great pics. I am glad for you that you found a wonderful place
  20. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 4,021
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +688 / 0
    I love this.