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I made my yearly (if I lived in Pt. Angeles, weekly) trip to this area in mid-September. The fishing this time was spotty. I had one evening of fast fishing in the Humes area, including a 18" rainbow that took the dry fly I was using for an indicator. I was alittle concerned about the amount of fish being kept with the 12" size limit. I can't make everyone see it my way, but I hope that that big fish won't end up on a frying pan next time. Anyone else fish this river wishing to share their opinions?
 

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Slainte
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We were in the upper reaches between Elkhorn and Mary's Falls about two weeks ago. In the 4 days we fished no one we saw kept any fish. I suspect those that fish Rica Canyon to Lillian River are more prone to keep fish. Those willing to do the grunt up out of Lillian are probably catch and release kind of folks. There is a relationship between lazy and greedy vs motivated and respectful, I believe.
The Elwha is a beautiful river, one can only imagine what it was like when it was wild. The flooding in February had an impact on the river, obviously, and the fishing as a result. Taking fish for the fry pan when the river is impacted just illustrates ignorance and greed. If there was an abundance of fish I could understand taking some to eat.
In today's world, we don't need to take wild fish to survive, not when you have Cliff Bars... :WINK
 

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Slainte
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how far is upper?

Well, Hulmes Ranch is only a couple of miles from the trailhead.
Lillian River Camp is about 4.5 miles, Mary's Falls is 8.6, and Elkhorn is about another 2-3 after that. If your going, you better go now, it's getting cold fast up there. No overnight frost two weeks ago, but I'll bet that's changed.
 

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I grew up in Port Angeles and the Elwha is still one of my favorite places to fish. The real problem I have is with the Olympic National Park allowing fish to be kept at all. If there was ever a place for C&R and fly fishing only regulations this is the place. It is a river with a small wild trout population and the already protected bull trout. The people that would be more apt to keep fish are the ones that might not know the difference between the two. All of this being said I would have to say that the majority of people I've seen on the river are practicing C&R so thank you for protecting the fishery.
 

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how far is upper?

thanks roper, one last question,i realise that conditions can change,but can the river be fished wet, or are waders a must? i assume it will depend on the water level and temperature, but i would welcome your comments. thanks! by the way i am infull support of c&r so maybe i can help the big ones get bigger. jer
 

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Slainte
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waders or not

The water level was down about 12 to 18", but the latest showers may have helped. As a result, I only used my waders to cross the river to explore the other side.
Wet wading would be very cold, not advised. Plus the rocks are slippery and felt bottom boots are highly recommended.
 

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Cliff Bars rule.....lol

Will be going up to the Elwha for the first time this weekend...the wife is going to the beach with a friend from work so it lets me go fishing all by my self....can't wait

Dann :BIGSMILE
 

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Not in regard to the Elwha, but the peninsula in general.

The Hoh used to have the same 12" regulation, but now it is up to 14". Now, there are a ton of good trout in there and I relly think people only keep the 14ers. Also, the river has a good population of dollys, which anybody will tell you is a good indicator of a "healthy" stream.
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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If you want to make a diference there you should write to Dr Brian Winter at the Elwha Restoration Project office at the Olympic Park offices, and tell him you want to stop killing Elwha rainbows to help support the restoration of the genetic stocks of the river.You go up there and harvest an elk or a squirrel or a dandelion and they will shoot you on sight. We shouldnt be killing those fish at all.Partly because it's a national park and mostly because those fish are the genetic descendants of the wild steelhead stock of 100 years ago. At any rate, there's certainly no such thing as too much fisheries biomass on the olympic peninsula. Let them live and die in the river.
 
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