Great river. i wish was closer to it. the farther you go past blue creek the more water you will have to yourself. wish i had time to chase cutts there this year.
i miss those south wa rivers. Washougal was almost like home river for 15 years.
Fished it Sunday myself since there isn't anything closer of consequence. No steelhead either, but not crowded, 2 other trailers at Mission, good water height, altho rising through the afternoon. Practiced casting my new line from Steve Godshall on my little Clay 'boo 11'er. A couple cutthroat, no size. Got some sun, shoulda' used sun screen.
Bringing this thread back as my last couple trips triggered thoughts that have likely been brought up before.
Seems to me in just my 20 years of fishing this river there's been a decline in good holding water. I've seen nice tailouts and shallow flats that produced fish, some classic flywater, disappear over a winter. I see that's the nature of these big dammed rivers with prolonged high sustained flows. I see how these high sustained flows can scour out features in a river and create fast flowing, almost canal-like water that fish are not likely to hold in. You get a river with one deep trench where most of the fish travel. You get a river ideally set up for gear fishermen to back-troll and side drift. You don't get a river that creats classic flywater. Riprap banks and levees of course do not promote holding water either.
Wondering if perhaps a lack of holding water can be a factor causing hatchery fish to race back to their birthplace.
There is and cand be a difference between suitable steelhead holding water and suitable fly swinging water. There's no shortage of holding water for steelhead. I think it's the more frequent and sustained high water flows that motivate the steelhead to keep on truckin' until they reach Blue Ck or Barrier dam.
Because it's a flow controlled river, uncontrolled flood flows are infrequent. And it's those high flows that both maintain, destroy, and build new holding water, including good fly swing drifts. It sure does seem like we've had more good runs destroyed than created since the 1996 flood of record.
I wonder what your thoughts are on the genetic non biter theory? I feel that over the years of hatchery sustained stocks on that river, only the non biting fish return to the hatchery gates. Thus passing down the train to not move to a fly. Just a thought.