Mainer Coming to Washington...Need Help

So, my wife and I are in possession of two vouchers for air travel anywhere in the continental US. God bless her, she said it would be a good opportunity for me to finally take a crack at realizing my dream of swinging a fly at a steelhead. (Gonna' have to keep her around for another 40 or 50 years, I think.) We have essentially no disposable income, so this is going to be an adventure run on a shoestring budget - UPS some camping gear to a friend in Seattle, rent the cheapest set of wheels we can find, and see what Washington has to offer in the way of natural beauty, and hopefully, a summer run steelhead or two.

Because we're teachers with a kid in college, we're limited to a week or so around the third week of August. Not stellar timing for steelhead, I'm guessing, but hey, I have to play the cards I'm dealt. We know we'd like to see Olympic NP and probably the Lewis and Clark/Fort Clatsop site down in Astoria, Ore., but beyond that, the schedule is open. We're used to traveling long distances (we make the ten hour, one way drive to see our college student a few times a year), and we find rustic campgrounds, like the ones with pit toilets, to be delightful.

If any of you would be willing to recommend rivers or streams where a wading, self guided, reasonably good spey caster might have a chance to hook a summer run steelhead, I would be grateful. I'm certainly not looking for anyone's well kept secret, and I promise not to low hole, leave anything behind except footprints, or in any way act like a jerk. I'm okay chasing hatchery fish, and should I be lucky enough to make contact with a wild one, it will be handled with the utmost care and respect. I'm also fully prepared to get skunked (it is steelheading, after all). If anyone wants to go fishin', I'm also happy to supply a reason.

Many thanks in advance for any help. Hopefully, I'll see you on the water this summer.

Alan Yuodsnukis
Brunswick, Maine


Active Member
Though its about a 4hr drive, your best bet for a steelhead in August would be the Deschutes river in Oregon. Drive to the mouth of the river and park in either the lot on the East side or the West side of the river. Walk up the trail on either side 1-1 1/2 miles and start fishing. At that time of year your best bets will be the East side early in the morning and the West side in the evening. There is a camp ground at the mouth of the river and a nicer one across the Columbia (on the WA side) a few miles away. Another option with promise at that time of year is the Klickitat in WA (about 15 mi. from the mouth of the Deschutes). But if its been very hot that river can be off color from glacial till at that time of year.
The Deschutes (and perhaps the Klickitat) would be your best chance to actually connect with a steelhead. Allso the high desert scenery would let you know that you're not in Kansas, or Maine. In terms of travel distances, the Skykomish east of Seattle and the North Fork of the Stillaguamish, n.e. of Seattle, both within an hour, are probably most convenient. And the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula are fairly close, already part of your plans, and certainly scenic.


Sculpin Enterprises
The Klick, Deschutes, or Methow would be good choices. The Cowlitz will have summer-run hatchery fish. The OP rivers (Hoh, Bogachiel, Sol Duc, etc.) have some summer fish. You may be as likely to run into a bull trout or even an early silver salmon. There will be hordes of pink salmon heading into Puget Sound rivers in August too.

If you would like to see the Olympic N.P. that is where you should start. Kalaloch is a great campground on the beach, Bogachiel State park just south of forks is central in it's location and Klahowa to the north is a dandy forrest service campground on the Sol Duc. Plus you are not that far from the strait of Jaun de Fuca,if your around in august there will be humpies and silvers around, have a blast and good luck.


Well-Known Member
Deschutes and Klickitat are good bets, as is the Cowlitz in that time frame. Summer steelhead are fewer on the OP, but there are a few locations worth checking while you're there. I may be gone fishing that week, or I'd invite you to join me for a day locally. When you get your plans sorted out PM for more information.


Big E

Active Member
Besides steelhead, I wouldn't pass up going out on the salt neither. This is a pink year and they will be showing around then. Get with me closer to the time and I may have a couple seats for you and your wife and a shot at some Dungeness crab, chinook, coho, and pinks.

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