Duckabush River Trip Report

The Duckabush river is a smallish mountain river on the Hood Canal in Washington state. Like so many other rivers on the Olympic Peninsula, this one used to be known for its Steelhead and is known to have active salmon runs. The weather was cloudy and threatening to rain. Temperature was low 60's. Water was low and extremely clear. The water temperature was 58 degrees. I haven't fished this river for several years, so decided to give it a whirl. As it turns out, very little has changed. There are two hatches of interest to the fly fisher on this river. Those are caddis and BWO hatches. Those two are still all over the river. The volume of stone cased caddis nymphs in this river is amazing. On to the fishing...

On this trip I started at Camp Collins, the only camp grounds on the river. Once I parked and geared up, I started upstream. Samplings showed caddis fly nymphs and the caddis in the air over the river and on the water made me choose size 16 elk hair caddis imitations, light wing, with dark brown body. It was roughly noon when I entered the river. On previous trips, this river has proven to be a late day/evening river. The hatches typically start around 6:00p till dark. I fished 7 hours and covered around 3 miles of river. The water being low and clear right now, fish tend to stick to the deeper pockets and pools, so you end up doing a lot of up river wading. The catching was pretty good, although the size was small. I was fishing a G Loomis 4 wt system. The average size was probably 7-8 inches, with an occasional 10-11 incher thrown in once in a while. Around 3:00p it started raining and did so heavily for the remainder of the day. In one deep pool, I managed to catch a 13 and a half incher and lost what appeared to be a healthy 15 incher in another pool, tangled in a submerged brush pile. The BWO hatch started sometime around 6:00p and emerger patterns drifted through the pools worked great. I left the water around 7:00p, when it started getting too dark to see the flies (under those trees).

All in all, it was a nice day. Lots of catching, with a couple of adequate fish. This is another of those northwest rivers that could have excellent fly fishing for larger trout, but receives a lot of bait fishing from the locals, that seem to think they are immune to the minimum size rules...

The total fish count of the day was probably close to 50 fish, but with the exception of those two fish, were all pretty small.


Active Member
Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the great report. As a new guy, it's very informative to read how you determined what fly to use. Most of the time I end up clueless when I'm on the river and waste half the day before figuring out my selection. -Thanks for the lesson!