Ocean Fresh

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THE LAST TIME I fished for steelhead the spey craze was still an ocean away and neoprene swamp pants were en vogue for winter wading. As is typically the case, a drought of marketable images and suggestive comments from clients were my primary motivations for booking a refresher trip.

“Dude, your steelhead selection is kinda…thin…”

“Tosh, I’ve already used all of those…”

“Hey man, what do you got against steelhead…?”

Plus, thirteen years is just too darn long to wait between steelhead bites. Wouldn’t you agree?

On March 14th I arrived in Seattle and drove west to the Olympic Peninsula in a steady downpour. The rivers were coffee brown when I arrived in Forks, but my friend Nate McDonough said, “No worries, they’ll drop and clear quick and falling water is what we want.”

Well, Nate was spot on with both predictions. By noon the next day the sun was out and the Sol Duc had cleared to a lovely shade of steelhead green. Over the next three days I got to sample some of the Olympic Peninsula’s most storied water, and (catch) photograph numerous steelhead just in from the sea. A few had a bit of color, others were shiny bright with sea lice still aboard. All of them were crazy battlers that rebooted my stoke for casting flies in icy rivers beneath towering spruce and snow-capped peaks.

Thanks to Nate, Andy, Jeff Brazda, and Annie for a great trip. I’m re-booked for next year, because one can never have enough steelhead photos. In the interim, I’ll be happy to sell you these.

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The Hoh River headwaters gets fourteen FEET of rainfall in a typical year

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And this fella supports that claim

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Nate McDonough dropping in on the Upper Sol Duc

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Just in from the salt

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Here’s how they get airborne

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Not Texas

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Working a tailout on the Bogachiel

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Coloring up for the spawn

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Nate releasing a bright hen

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Keep em wet

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Back to business

 

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