Washington’s Olympic Peninsula looms large in the minds of steelhead anglers wanting to tangle with some of the strongest races of steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. The Peninsula’s big coastal rivers are tailor-made for the swung fly, and leave anglers anxiously awaiting the arrival of winter.
The Peninsula’s revered steelhead rivers; the Sol Duc, Calawah, Bogachiel, Hoh and Queets all flow from the Olympic mountains through lush rainforests, eventually joining the Pacific Ocean. From January to April, some of the Northwest’s largest runs of steelhead make their way into those rivers, headed for spawning grounds in the long shadows of the Olympics. These fish, more often than not, are big and bright and anglers have the chance to intercept them just hours from the salt, still reflecting the silvery gray of the Pacific.
A trip to the Olympic Peninsula is a trip to another world. Towering, moss-draped spruce and Douglas fir trees drip winter rains to colonies of ferns below, creating seemingly limitless shades of green. Step into steelheading history with a trip to the Olympic Peninsula.
The town of Forks is located in the northwestern corner of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
Wild steelhead return to the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula during the months of January through April. We offer guided trips throughout this entire time frame, with February through Mid-April typically considered peak run timing. January is not to be overlooked however, as it offers the greatest solitude, with few other anglers and good numbers of early returning fish. Typical Olympic Peninsula steelhead range from eight to twelve pounds, with larger fish landed every season. It is no secret that winter steelhead are some of the toughest freshwater fish to catch in the world. A great day is any day that we bring a steelhead to hand, with most days providing several solid opportunities.
Drift boats and rafts are used to float the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula, allowing unlimited access to the best water. While boats are our mode of transportation between runs, all fishing is done on foot; casting, stepping and swinging our way down prime pieces of water. We exclusively swing flies for steelhead and believe spey rods are the most efficient and enjoyable way to cover the large runs typical of OP rivers. All anglers are welcome, from the advanced to those with little or no spey casting experience. Guides are true professionals who are uniquely talented spey casting instructors, and who are deeply experienced at pursuing steelhead on the swung fly, complete with outstanding personalities.
We will pick you up at your lodging accommodations each morning with hot coffee, boat in tow, and ready to hit the river. Typical days are eight to nine hours of time on the water with a hot shore lunch prepared midway through the day. We are happy to provide single day trips, however most anglers opt to fish multiple days with us on the Olympic Peninsula.
There are five primary rivers on the Olympic Peninsula, all centrally located around the town of Forks – the Hoh, Bogachiel, Sol Duc, Calawah, and Queets. We guide all of these rivers, typically heading to whichever one the guide feels is in the most prime condition. Emerald Water Anglers is a permit holder in Olympic National Park, giving us access to some of the most pristine water the peninsula has to offer.
All equipment is provided free of charge, including top of the line waders, boots, spey rods, and reels. Flies and leader are included, as well as a hot riverside lunch. Speaking of lunch, we take it quite seriously…as the old guide mantra goes, “you can’t control the weather or the fishing but you can always control the food!”.
Accommodations and Meals:
The town of Forks, Washington has a variety of accommodations available from simple to sophisticated. Our guides are happy to pick you up and drop you off anywhere that you are staying in the Forks area.
Manitou Lodge– Manitou Lodge is Emerald Water Anglers’ preferred lodging provider, offering a one of a kind Olympic Peninsula experience. Nestled in old growth forest only minutes away from the Sol Duc, Bogachiel and Quillayute Rivers, Manitou Lodge provides the perfect haven after a great day on the water. Sip a cocktail or hot cup of coffee by the fire among the company of friends, old or new. Make the quick trip out to nearby Rialto Beach to explore the mazes of driftwood created by the surf. Enjoy the comfort of warm and welcoming accommodations, with breakfast to-go provided each morning to help fuel you for each day of fishing. A true rainforest getaway. www.manitoulodge.com, 360-374-6295
Olympic Suites Inn– Conveniently located within the city of Forks and alongside the Calawah River, Olympic Suites Inn offers reasonably priced one and two bedroom suites with full kitchens available. www.olympicsuitesinn.com, 360-374-5400
Forks Motel– If fishing is your primary concern and lodging is but a warm dry place to hang your hat for the night, Forks Motel offers no-frills economical rooms. Conveniently located in the city of Forks. www.forksmotel.com, 360-374-6243
Other Lodging Options– There are a number of other lodging options in the Forks area as well, including private cabin and vacation rentals through www.vrbo.com.
Day 1: Arrive Forks, Washington
Days 2-5: Four full days of guided fishing
Day 6: Depart Forks to home or points beyond
2019 Rates: $550 plus 10.1% tax per person per day for 1 or 2 anglers
Included: Guiding, deluxe shore lunch, all equipment and terminal tackle
Not Included: Accommodations, guide gratuities, licenses and tags
Species: Winter Steelhead
Season: January – April
Capacity: 8 anglers
Map: Forks, WA