Chrome Niño

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FISHING ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET during an El Niño year carries at the very least a smidgen of risk. When my flight left for Seattle on March 13th, I’d have been much better off had I never found the online flow gauges for the various steelhead rivers on the Olympic Peninsula. A watched pot never boils, and a tall brown river ain’t gonna clear any faster if you’re hitting the refresh button every ten seconds.

When my friend Bill Hoffman and I finally arrived in Forks after navigating bridge closures and random highway timber, we were relieved when Jeff Brazda announced that we’d be fishing the next day. “Probably not early, but we’re fishing.” To date, they’d had a pretty tough season. Lots of rain, lots of river blowouts, and lots of “hurricane parties” at the Bogy House. I figured we might be in for a dice roll when Nate McDonough posted an Instagram shot of a grocery cart full of tortilla chips and video games about a week before our trip.

There were still a few waves of rain (and hail) rolling in from the ocean, the next morning, but by 10am the rivers were dropping and clearing. The next five days alternated between grey and clear, but mostly dry. The fishing was good and I cringed when Nate said, “You guys have had the best weather of the entire season.” History shows that Nate’s curse will ensure at the very least a Category 1 hurricane during my late May tarpon week in the Keys. It’s called “weather karma” and it hangs on me like waterlogged tree moss.

Thanks to Jeff, Nate, Andy and crew at the Bogy House for a great week of fishing. Thanks to YETI for keeping hot stuff hot. And thanks to Bill Hoffman for hooking photo subjects and extended sessions of river philosophy.

To see the entire shoot, please click here.

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Some call it “winter steelheading”

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Last of the morning fog

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Heave-ho

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Nate and Bill at the closing table

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Buck face

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The net man cometh

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So, Tosh, how the heck do you balance your need for photos and your desire to fish?

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An hour later Andy’s boat was full of pea-sized hail

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Sea-run goodness

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Dropping, but not quite clear

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Java stop

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