A little piece of Heaven

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Nooksack Mac, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,945
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +109 / 0
    I'm giving away one of my favorite fishing places. It's little-known, as yet, but should be known and used by more. We, the people of Bellingham, paid for it with blood and treasure, heartbreaking loss and renewal.

    I've fished there several times in recent weeks, because this is the season of returning searun cutthroats. Last week I hooked/landed one harvest trout after another, on dry flies. Not big ones, unfortunately, but eager. Yesterday, even though the creek was high, flowing through side channels, it remained clear enough. I lost one, then continued on my grocery run.

    This is Whatcom Creek, inside the city limits. There are a few access points downstream from the Woburn Street bridge. But the best access now is the half-mile from the new steel bridge at Racine Street down to I-5. This opened-up and landscaped stretch is easily accessable from the new graveled footpath. (You can also park behind Diehl Ford, where the footpath ends, and walk upstream.) It's very attractive, and will become more so as the newly planted trees and shrubs grow in. Yesterday I fished around a dozen mallards in one of the sloughs.

    I've met one other fly fishermen there. There should be more.
  2. Leopardbow Member

    Posts: 483
    Ferndale, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I have heard good things about that stretch, haven't fished it yet, but good things. Nice to see the stream rebuilding itself after the trajedy.
  3. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Posts: 2,874
    .
    Ratings: +201 / 0
    Nooksack:

    Kind of you to give away one of your places. Obviously, not some bitch to get there kind of place but one right in front of your face. Hope it remains one of your favorite places. There another local gem up there that WDFW has shocked and found some surprisingly big fish.

    MB
  4. Andrew Kirkland cuttlover

    Posts: 59
    Bellingham, Wa,
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thanks for the heads up Mac. I walked through that stretch multiple times this summer and thought that the restoration was going really well and there was some definitely fishy water, i'll give it a try real soon here. Thanks again for your post.
  5. Split Bamboo Member

    Posts: 648
    Tacoma, Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I fished up and down that stream back in college, caught my first steelhead up near the cemetery. It is a fun little gem, and yes MB, there were a few other gems nearby, or at least there were 20 years ago.
  6. Steven Hendrickson Member

    Posts: 130
    bellingham washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Me and a few friends would go there this summer and wet wade it. Theres some decent size fish in there as well. I also caught my first fish on the fly there
  7. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Posts: 2,874
    .
    Ratings: +201 / 0
    Split - Nice quote. I think I found those roots myself...
  8. Split Bamboo Member

    Posts: 648
    Tacoma, Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Proof that farting has been funny for at least 200 years!

    I was reading The Journals of L and C a few weeks ago. It is pretty entertaining to read. I saw that quote, reread it, and started cracking up. They apparently 'eate' a bunch of dogs as well. They would buy them from the Indians along there way.

    http://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/read/?_xmlsrc=1805-10-05.xml&_xslsrc=LCstyles.xsl
  9. ffb Resident Foo

    Posts: 237
    Bellingham, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I've always wanted to give it a try and this post sure has enticed me. Is it odd that I feel like I would be cheating by fishing a favorite spot of someone that just gave up the info online? I'd ask more questions, but I think I'll just have to fish and figure out the answers myself.
  10. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Posts: 2,874
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    Ratings: +201 / 0
    Spit:

    I heard that the actual journals are rather tough to struggle through but, great reading. Any account is quite interesting.

    MB
  11. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,945
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +109 / 0
    A note: with the exception of the sections described above, Whatcom Creek is very difficult to access because of steep, very brushy banks. And it's not exactly a small creeklet - with the post-rain runoff that has raised the creek, a wader could drown there. But fortunately, the passage through Lake Whatcom filters the runoff from the hills to the east, which is why Whatcom Creek remains fairly clear.

    There are salmon in there seasonally, which is why I was fishing a short six-weight as a compromise rod. But I'm not sure I'd want to fight a salmon in such close quarters, even with that rod.
  12. Leopardbow Member

    Posts: 483
    Ferndale, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I hear rumors of the odd steelhead still. Nothing we would expect, but rumors......
  13. Steven Hendrickson Member

    Posts: 130
    bellingham washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Last year I saw one native steelhead in the holding tank at the hatchery.
  14. Runejl Josh

    Posts: 390
    Bellingham, Washington
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    The restoration work that has been done on the creek is very cool and I am very excited about it. I to, enjoy poking around a stream that is right in my backyard.

    Remember that this is a stream that had 277,200 gallons of fuel spilt into it from the Olympic Pipe Line on June 10, 1999. The fuel ignited and killed three people, one of which was a flyfisherman. The explosion also killed countless fish and ruined a large section of the creek.

    That was just ten years ago! It was a terrible tragedy in many ways.

    Whatcom Creek is a little piece of heaven and can surprise you with it's resilliance. If you do decide to enjoy it, treat those fish with a little extra respect as they have been fighting an uphill battle for a long time.

    The stretch that Mac talks about was just completed this year. Last summer (2008) I watched as they dammed that stretch and pumped the creek around it. They then added oxbows and much of the woody structure. They also removed the dike on the south bank and planted new trees and native plants.

    Many of these plants and tree's are just taking hold, so while it allows easy access, please tread lightly. I agree with Nooksack Mac that it is very attractive and will become more so as the plants and shrubs grow in, but with more people going to fish the stream there is less chance of this happening.

    I learned how to flyfish on Whatcom Creek as kid. I rode my bike there as often as my parents would allow. I feel very protective of this little stream and I must confess I cringe a little whenever I see it on the internet or run into someone else fishing it as I worry about how they may handle any fish they catch. It is not mine though, and I am happy that there are other good stewards that are finding the same pleasure that I do in its beauty and its secrets.
  15. CLO coho where are you?

    Posts: 765
    Seattle
    Ratings: +307 / 0
    I saw a few pinks make it above the falls in September, I wish that fish ladder was a little bigger. The ladder was running dry for most of the pink run and the fish were stuck below the main falls. There are good numbers of smolt in the upper creek that will hit the dry flies, but they are smolt so I leave them alone. I live adjacent to the lower fish hatchery and the chum snagging season is begging......
  16. Split Bamboo Member

    Posts: 648
    Tacoma, Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Where is the ladder? Up by the big falls? When did that go in?
  17. ffb Resident Foo

    Posts: 237
    Bellingham, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    The ladder is right at the mouth by the salmon hatchery.
  18. nutsack angler newb

    Posts: 417
    Dedmonds, WA
    Ratings: +36 / 0
    It's not a very noticeable ladder, more natural looking than most, but if you look closely from the bridge at the base of the falls towards river left (your right) you will see it. I was at racine yesterday looking downstream and it was nice to see the high water filling in those oxbows. Rods down to the folks involved with that project.
  19. Split Bamboo Member

    Posts: 648
    Tacoma, Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Oh, ok, thats right, it's more of a little step ladder right, just a few levels. Fish can make it up without it right?

    When I heard ladder and falls I was wondering if they put a ladder in up at the big falls.
  20. nutsack angler newb

    Posts: 417
    Dedmonds, WA
    Ratings: +36 / 0
    It's recognized as a "dead creek" without the BTC hatchery supplementation. Whether or not fish made it up before the "ladder" was installed and the flows from the lake were regulated... I don't know. Smalma?