We had a great spring season of steelheading here on the OP. Superb days of fishing and much improved weather patterns compared to a year ago and snow pack in the Olympics at 140% of normal made for good early summer flows on the rivers. After closing the spring steelhead season we headed to Montana for the Orvis OGR event and did a little fun fishing afterward. Found some lunker rainbows that really handed it to us but was worth the effort for sure. Below is yours truly and friends spending a little down time, and yes, fishing since we don't get to do much of that any more. There were some beautiful rainbows caught at Lake Pend Oreille. The last photo in the group is in memory of our wire haired pointing griffon. Midge passed away this past May from what appeared to be a heart attack according to our vet. At the age of two this was really a shock to the family and pretty hard to reconcile. She will be missed and loved always.
Summer came and went in the blink of an eye it seemed with guiding and a major home remodel project by yours truly during off the water days. Steelhead fishing this summer has been slower than usual, scratching out a fish or two a day was typical. The summer salmon season however was excellent. Good flows thru July with big numbers of spring/summer Chinook arriving and tons of summer Coho. Sight fishing to these fish is a ton of fun during summer months. It's late September now and were beginning to finally see the fall rains arrive...this is my favorite season of the year. Grouse, mushrooming, big game hunting, lot's of salmon and late summer steelheading here on the OP. If you can't find something to do outdoors your not trying very hard.
With the low numbers of steelhead and chinook salmon returning to the Columbia basin this year, we'll be staying right here at home this fall instead of guiding the Klickitat river in south central Washington. We should see a great fall Coho run here on the OP this year, based upon the fish counts from three years ago. If you've not pursued salmon on the fly before or think that they don't make a worthy target on a fly rod you'd be surprised at how much fun they can be. Large pods of salmon to sight fish at and aggressive strikes on a tight line make for some incredible action. With a mixed bag limit of three hatchery Chinook/Coho per day, it's a great time of year to put a few fish in the freezer. The season runs thru mid November and then a two week break before we start the December steelhead season. We'll be chasing large broodstock steelhead on the glacier rivers then and hatchery fish on the Bogachiel. By mid January we'll be in full native winter steelhead mode thru mid April on all the area rivers. I still have some open dates for myself thru December. If your interested in some fun angling shoot me a text or a call.
Above, Christopher, holds a hatchery summer Coho with his dad, Phillip. This young man has a pretty amazing story behind him. At the age of 14 he told Phillip that he wanted to catch a fish on the fly in all 50 states before he went to college. His dad told him he thought it was a great idea and since the age of 15 he has pursued what they termed Catch 50. He's 18 now and I had the pleasure of fishing these two for three days on the OP this summer. Washington would wind up being his 49th state traveled over the past several summers. His dream was to catch his first wild steelhead on the fly. We worked hard for two days in a down year for summer runs to find a good one but we finally did land a 10 pound summer steelhead on the Queets. I could not have been more honored to help this young man toward his goal and what an angler he's growing into. I can't remember fishing with someone of his age with the drive and angling skills he possess already. Thanks to Christopher and Phillip for the opportunity.
Some of you are aware, but for those that are not, Chrome Chasers became an endorsed guide service with Orvis last year, a move up from a single endorsed guide. That means we have multiple Orvis Endorsed guides working for Chrome Chasers Fly Fishing with a full working knowledge of the program and expectations of them from both myself and Orvis. In short, we have added a contract with our guides to uphold an agreed upon standard of excellence. Moving forward I believe this will be a benefit to our clients as well as the business. No more trying to find another guide to run a multi-boat trip and trying to work with multiple schedules to accommodate clients. We will have five total guides available this winter form February thru mid April. If your thinking of fishing with us again this coming winter/spring steelhead season now is the time to get it on the books as those dates are filling up! The list of available guides remains the same including myself, John "Johnny" Whitlatch, John Wilcox, Darrell Johnson and David Buckingham. There are no twenty something trust fund kids turned "professional" guide in this group, they are all seasoned Olympic Peninsula anglers and guides with a positive attitude and a get it done mentality.
If you need some motivation for the upcoming steelhead season, put on some sunglasses and take a look at the action and a few of the fish our clients caught from this past winter/spring season. We look forward to spending some time on the water soon. Tight lines!