7 Photos from Fly Fishing the Olympic Peninsula

Secluded scenes in the damp maze of the Olympic Peninsula.

"Yup, I'm stuck." The thought went through my head as one hand numbly held the mossy canyon wall while the other gripped the fly rod handle. Below me the turquoise water of the Duckabush River swirled by before it exited the narrow canyon and into a deep pool. "Don't be dumb." Taking a swim in the cold current was reason enough to inch my way back. 

A few dark figures swimming under the surface had caught my eye and enticed me to scramble into the canyon. But their strategic positioning paid off, I would not be a threat to them today. So often does this happen in the Olympics that I finally decided to start packing my camera along to photograph the wilderness I had snuck into. If I could not catch the trout then I might as well capture the moment. Below are seven of my favorite photographs from countless fly fishing journeys into that densely green forest of wild confusion:


Streams like this one braid their way through the dense undergrowth of the forest. Over 140-200 inches of rain cascade down onto the Olympic Peninsula each year. In late spring, when the snow begins to melt and the rain drenches the landscape, these streams swell the rivers and make it almost impossible to fly fish.

Many of the streams and rivers I navigate into have native populations of rainbow and cutthroat trout. Most may be small, but they are not picky eaters and will throw a hook if you underestimate their fight.

View from a high steel bridge over the South Fork of the Skokomish River. I actually have not been able fly fish this area near the bridge, though I have tried.

A footbridge over the Dosewallips River. The Dose Forks campground is located here, the hike is long but the wilderness is enchanting and the trout wild.


Near the Graves Creek Campground, the Quinault River and Graves Creek tumble out of two narrow canyons and merge together. Salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout provide a diverse range of angling opportunities. 


Before the fall season closes many of these rivers down to fishing, the low water levels provide a chance to hike into gorges and ravines that are inaccessible throughout much of the year.

Another majestic river tucked into the dense temperate rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula. Hike and wade around the canyon corner and another mystic scene draws you in to explore.

Published: January 27, 2018

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Marc Fryt

Seattle

Into way too many outdoor sports to be really good at just one of them.