It has been about a month since our Annual Steelhead Trip has come and gone. The trip was once again a success for anglers that made the long journey to the Pacific Northwest in search of Wild Steelhead.
Of course the weather was there to greet us with open arms as our commuter flight got tossed in high winds flying to Forks. What had lined up to be perfect timing was again thrown by the wayside when another front pushed in and dropped another round of heavy rain. Go figure I had spent weeks worrying about low water and bam all at once. The weather curse had found me once again. We had a new face in the group this year, Derrick Blackard from CO joined us for a week of shenanigans and was able to put some steel on the bank. It is nice to introduce new people to the OP and see their different reactions. The deep green mossy forests are something you will never forget, truly a special place.
Despite another tough year weather wise the steelhead graced us with their presence and allowed us to catch a few in the high water. We saw Sasquatch clearing a tree off the road on the Upper Bogy and then again swinging at the Red House Hole. Regardless of the conditions we all had a good time, shooting guns, using chainsaws, drinking whiskey and catching the occasional Steelhead. And if you cannot have fun doing that. Well, I am sorry.
Well another Steelhead trip has come and gone. I am humbled to say that it was mediocre at best, in the past we have prayed for no rain and this year it was opposite. The water was low low low in the whole system and the fish were moving in at a slow pace. After going to the OP for many years and having lights out fly fishing, I was bound to take one in the teeth. That being said the fishing still wasn’t bad, but I will take a blow out day over low water anytime.
The new program is to fly directly into Forks, WA. What a beautiful flight over the Olympics and Crescent Lake, we saw where they have been removing the Dam on the Elwah, snow capped peaks and a family of Sasquatches having a picnic in a clear cut. All enjoyed the scenic flight which took about an hour from Boeing Field. Newellsy turned a bright shade of green when we had to buzz the tower to scare the Elk off the runway.
Here is what Agent Newell had to say about the trip.
Ten nights ago I pulled into the garage around 2am. Happy to be home, but my mind was still reeling about the travels I had just endured. The two-hour drive home from DIA over two mountain passes always does that to you, regardless of the hour, and especially in the winter. A week away from home, four legendary rivers, one treaty line, countless Rainiers and empty flasks, and a handful of photos to remember an epic adventure with great friends, both old and new, that I will recall often!
Aaron O’Leary Photo
Jump back ten days , text from J Mac reads, “One spot left on the OP steelhead trip! It’s yours if you can swing it!” I do what any responsible businessman would do; I jump on the phone and cancel next week’s appointments, book the flight, and take an inventory from the last steelhead adventure to see what I don’t have. No time to make an order! Swap out gear, reels, and line from an upcoming saltwater trip, I mean my wedding trip, and hope somebody can lend me a leader and re-teach me the Snell knot over a few whiskeys!
Ho Ho Ho
Next thing I know I’m rolling up to the Bogy house after a private charter from SeaTac to Forks to meet up with the rest of the junkies as well as the most impressive and knowledgeable guides in this industry. Let the carnage begin!
This trip isn’t for everybody! It’s cold, it’s wet, the days are long, and we fish HARD! But we love it and that’s the reward.
Papa Mac On The Hangdown
These fish migrate through a magical place and seem almost mystical themselves. You can’t imagine how these fish will entice you to return year after year the same way they do. This sickness is something you’ll never understand until you make the journey and submerge yourself into this lifestyle if only for a short time. One time and you’ll understand! One time and you’ll plan your vacations around the annual pilgrimage to the rain forest of the Pacific Northwest to chase chrome!
Thanks for the post Jason, it was a pleasure to fish with you on the coast once again. Crazy that it has been over 5 years since we were last up there together. Like above mentioned, the trip this year was not an easy one and despite less than ideal conditions everyone in the group was able to push hard and come out with good results. Thank you all so much for making it back out to the Bogy House, for some of you it was your first and others your 4th trip. I know it sounds like a vacation but I needed about 3 days of rest after taking a steelhead beating. See you all soon. – jmac
Aaron O’Leary Photo
Here is a short video I threw together of Tothman dropping bombs on the lower Bogachiel River.
My phone was buzzing and the number on the screen read Seattle. I thought it might be Ed Mcmahon with my check so I picked up. Instead it was Jon Owen with the Wild Olympic Campaign. Jon wanted permission to use some of the Steelhead Content we have shot over the past few years to promote long term protection of Natural Resources on the OP…. Sure thing. Below is the video that they created with some content from Lateral Line Media. The beautiful man spey casting is Joe Willaure as well as Jeff Brazda. Both extremely awesome fellas. Be sure to check out what they are doing at Wild Olympics, these folks are trying to protect salmon and steelhead habitat, Protect clean sources of drinking water, Protect world class recreation and much much more.