Fishing near Olympia

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Chris Brittin Johnson, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. Hey everybody, I had another great (not) experience at Blue Creek this morning. Gear guys arguing with me, boat guides drifting there clients over my swing, and even one guys cast landed about 2 feet in front of me… all in all I had one take down while I watched gear guys blantenly trying to snag a steelhead. Not my style of fishing and not how i was raised to fish around others, but I was raised in a fly fishing family. But to each there own...

    Rant over….

    I really need to find some better spots for steel fishing. I am very new (very) to the two hand casting. I have only successfully caught one steelhead to hand on the swing so basically I'm totally addicted but i don't know enough about different areas.

    I have fished blue creek (obviously), the Skookumchuck which is down the road from my place in Rochester, and the Kalama but thats a serious drive for me. Any help / Ideas would be very appreciated!

    Thank you
  2. Brittinj,

    Any day at Blue Ck where you don't get a sand shrimp in your face is a good one. BC is a hatchery blood hole, and such places bring out the lowest common denominator in human behavior. Behavior that could get a guy thrown in the river elsewhere is normal in places like BC. Nonetheless, there are times of the year when BC is uncrowded enough to offer some pleasant fly fishing. I just fished it one afternoon in October for the first time in about 10 years. The Cowlitz has some nice fly water, but a boat is necessary to get to it.

    I've had zero luck on the Skook and gave up on it as water that just doesn't suit me. The Kalama is a nice river, although I don't fish there much either.

    If steelheading is your interest, then driving, and burning a lot of gas, is a central part of the steelheading equation. To develop your personal steelheading repertoire I suggest getting out a map and calculating the distance and drive time to all the steelhead rivers within 3 hours of your home. That defines your day trip radius. Then calculate where you can get in 5 or 5.5 hours; that is your extended weekend radius. Like it or not, that is the reality of contemporary steelheading in this region. Mind you, when I was a teen and living near where you are, I considered it unthinkable to drive over an hour "just to fish."

    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  3. I couldn't agree with you more about BC. I think you are right about driving. Looks like i need get myself a map and starting marking rivers.
  4. Flyfisher's Guide to Washington is a fairly useful book that could probably give you some ideas for places to explore as well.

  5. Just looked it up on google. Seems like a good read. I have always been kinda… weary.. of fly fishing books. Didn't know how accurate they are or how up to date they are.
  6. It's accurate enough to show you a few rivers to look into, with some very basic maps. Some parts of it aren't great, but overall it's a useful resource to have around IMO. Probably the main thing is just to double check the regs after you do find something in there that you want to fish.
  7. Right on. Thank you.
  8. Ill take you to reiter if you want
    BASS_TURDS likes this.
  9. Reiter is comparable to the dean
  10. Reiter is the Fenway Park, the Pebble Beach, the and Tahj Mahal for Steelheaders.

    Also its a great way to brush up on your Eastern European languages.
    NateTreat likes this.
  11. I have never heard of the reiter...
  12. Toutle ?
  13. I have never fished the Toutle. Is there any good fly water on it?
  14. If you went to Blue Creek and that was all you experienced, that was a pretty calm day. I have seen it much worse. Living near there I fish it a fair amount. Lower your expectation of others and you will be ok. There are days when the stars and planets align and you can have it almost to yourself.

    As to other rivers:
    1. The Kalama is hit and miss. It is worth the drive most of the time. Had some good fish come to hand but also been there 3 or 4 times in a row and got zero.
    2. SF Toutle is a fun fish but you'll have to hit it more than once to succeed
    3. The Satsop and the Wynoochee are not that far from you but you will need to scout and possibly do some hiking.
    4. The Queets has some walk in fly spots but if you have access to a drift boat your chances go up

    I concur with the fact that you will need to drive a bit to have a chance to get into some steelies. Find someone that has the same passion that you can trade driving with and it will take the burden off the cost of gas a bit. I have a couple of guys that I go with that we car pool when possible. It also makes or a great time to have a buddy there to see you bring one in and also when he does too.
  15. Thank you. I agree on Blue Creek. I had some awesome sea run fishing there this year.
  16. Th Wynoochee is close to home for you, great water, plenty of bank space. Try the Toutle around the Green river. But like everyone said, the further you drive, the less a-holes you'll find. However, if you want to avoid them, the terminal fisheries are the wrong place to go. Sacrificing numbers of holding fish for extra bank space is the name of the game with steelhead. Sometimes you have to budget your time, make one drive to a good spot rather than 3 trips worth to the close to home area.
  17. Good point. I'm going to head to the Wynoonchee Friday for a little recon mission. My friend has a drift boat, trying to talk him into taking that out. He's kinda a baby when it comes to cold weather.
  18. Brittinj,

    Not to dissuade you, but the Wynoochee is better suited to plug pulling, drift fishing, side drifting, or nymphing. Not so much for swinging, IMO.

  19. Thank you for the heads up. I'll start with a nymph set up then.
  20. There are a lot of opportunities for steelhead in the Olympia area. Are there a lot of publicly known fisheries, no. The cold hard facts about the south sound are that the fish are endangered. All the rivers that drain into the Chehalis will have fish, how many will depend on the river. I think you cannot go wrong with the Satsop or the Wynoochee as they will offer a lot of walk-in access. The problem with the Cowlitz is that if you do not have a boat, you are pretty much sequestered to a few very and I do mean very crowded spots.

    The beautiful thing about Olympia is that is is central to just about all steelhead fishing in the wet side. You can drive 2 hours and fish for steelhead 365 days a year.

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