Elwha River Hiking in October

Curtis Williams

Wandering but not lost
After years of dreaming, planning and then having those plans change I have finally got it set in stone to hike up the Elwha in late October for four days of fishing and good times. I am planning on taking some orange stims in case the Fall Caddis is still active, some big streamers and the usual assortment of nymphs. We are going to Elk Horn and above. Any suggestions?



Active Member
Check out the article in Northwest Fly fishing on the Elwha if you haven't already. It may help some.

Personally, I've only fished it once so I can't offer much.

Hiked in for the first time with an out-of-town friend in October last year. Stopped by Waters West in Port Angeles for some advice and ended up with some olive bodied EHCs. After hiking in to Mary's Falls one evening (BIG black bear on the trail eating blueberries, it took some yelling to get it to shuffle off and make room for us), we fished the next day up to Elkhorn and the Lost River.
About 15 fish between us on parachute adams and the olive EHCs. Biggest only about 16" but man, are they fighters (plenty of the steelhead left in them). Shared the river with the ranger and that's it (not bad for a ~5 mile stretch) :) .
Best of British Luck with the weather, it might be putting a dent in my upper Skagit plans this weekend...


Trout just don't live in ugly places!!
I just returned from a two day hike and fish in the Elwha and had a blast. The evening caddis hatch was great but it switched to something else (dun?) about ten minutes before dark and the caddis wasn't even getting a look. I tried to match up but it got too dark before I could get the right fly. I am a pretty experienced backpacker and the walk in was pretty enjoyable, some small inclines but nothing too difficult. Be advised though, the weather did catch me by surprise and the small thermometer I keep on my zipper read 41 degrees. That isn't overly cold but with the burn ban you could be in trouble if you slip and fall in the water. It's a great hike and an amazing fishery. I only managed trout in the 10-14 inch range but I lost one that would have gone 16+. Good luck and have fun

Curtis Williams

Wandering but not lost
We are going in late Oct so the weather will be even colder, but hopefully with a little rain the burn ban will be lifted. Thanks for the report
i would be shocked if you can't burn in Oct. I went several years back at that time and the problem was finding anything dry enough to burn.
I just remember the hatches being short and the river behaving sterile if the hatch wasn't active.
I hike a fair amount and I have always thought the trail was pretty crappy given the mediocre elevation rise/fall. Lots of small sharpish rocks, and just not real hiker friendly. Not being overly negative but don't wear your flip flops and carry in canned meals. I would definitely bring a tarp for under and over the tent; and another to tree hang for weather relief.

have a blast