North Fork Clearwater & Kelly Creek

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Dan Nelson, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 754
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +248 / 5
    A couple of the Nelson brothers try to gather annually far up the North Fork Clearwater valley for a week of camping, fishing and catching up. We camped at Kelly Forks Campground this time, and fished both Kelly and the North Fork up Black Canyon.
    This year, our folks joined Jim, Donna and me for the first few days before they had to depart suddenly when mom decided she wanted a root canal procedure done on a tooth (her own, fortunately for the rest of us). A few days later, our oldest brother Kevin came in, bringing his wife Kathy and sons Jeremy and Jesse as well as Jim’s wife Sue.
    Donna, Jim and I caught plenty of cutthroat, and a few rainbows, during the week, with Donna and Jim pulling in the largest — a couple slab-sided fish the length of their forearms. All fish were caught on dry flies, with stimulators and royal wulffs proving the most effective patterns. I was able match hatches once or twice when small hatches of PMDs came off, but generally attractors worked better than any attempts to match naturals.
    When the clan from Boise (recently relocated from Omaha) arrived, Jeremy and Jesse also tried their hand with the fly rod. Both showed good skills, though by day 2 of their stay Jesse had switched to spinning gear.
    After this outstanding fish-rich week, I’ve renewed my love of the North Idaho wilderness. Whats more, my nephews seem ready to continue angling with a fly, and Mom has recovered quickly from her dental surgery.
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    Mike Ediger and atomic dog like this.
  2. Bruce Baker Active Member

    Posts: 515
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +39 / 0
    Thanks for sharing. Those trout are awesome looking!
  3. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,266
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,229 / 9
    Great report and hope mom is really okay.
    Dan Nelson likes this.
  4. Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

    Posts: 2,036
    Columbia Basin
    Ratings: +480 / 0
    As Ed said, best wishes to your Mom. Sounds like a fantastic trip to a little slice of Heaven (complete with spotted angels) . . . thanks for sharing.
    Dan Nelson likes this.
  5. Kenneth Yong Member

    Posts: 161
    Rome, Italy
    Ratings: +74 / 0
    Love the lab, and what beautiful trout! I would also like to echo the others in wishing your mom all the best.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Kenneth
    Dan Nelson likes this.
  6. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 754
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +248 / 5
    Mom's doing well. Only lingering problem is she is mad she didn't get to stay the full week especially since there were 3 of her 5 kids up there.
  7. Mike Ediger Active Member

    Posts: 1,366
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +135 / 8
    Love the area, great report, thanks for sharing.
    Just seeing that crystal clear water makes me want to be there.
  8. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,231
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +631 / 0
    Congratulations on getting the nephews into some fly fishing. What a great spot to learn.
  9. quazman Member

    Posts: 86
    WA
    Ratings: +12 / 0
    Really need to get up there. Thanks for the report and pics.
    Dan Nelson likes this.
  10. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 754
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +248 / 5
    Note that it is about a 9 hour drive from Puyallup to Kelly Forks CG if you only stop to fill up on gas and unload other fluids. That's without camper or trailer -- when towing a trailer or hauling a heavy camper, add appropriate extra time. The last 30+/- miles are on gravel and while the North Fork Road is in fair shape, the Orogrande grade section is very washboarded.

    Also, add another 30+ minutes to Hidden Springs CG up Black Canyon if you prefer a prettier location for camping, with a GREAT hole to fish right behind camp.
    Jim Ficklin likes this.
  11. quazman Member

    Posts: 86
    WA
    Ratings: +12 / 0
    Not afraid of long drives....and thanks for the heads up on camping sites.
  12. Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

    Posts: 2,036
    Columbia Basin
    Ratings: +480 / 0
    Good info, Dan . . . thanks!