Fishing in the Olympic National Park
By Darin Koob | Outer Escapes
Tips for navigating this pristine area in the Pacific Northwest and finding the best places to fish.
In the Pacific Northwest, it doesn’t get any better than the Olympic National Park. It is widely known as one of the most scenic places in North America. There are over 800 miles of maintained trails and countless backcountry trout lakes. Whether you’re floating down one of its wild & scenic rivers in a drift boat, hiking one of the 900,000 acres of glacier-flanked mountains, or exploring a rainforest valley, don’t forget to bring your Paxis® backpack. It’s your best fishing friend.
There is an abundance of fishing opportunity for both the fly fishermen and gear fishermen in this pristine mountainous and coastal area. This Olympic Peninsula Map has more detailed information. Lake Ozette is home to a unique population of lake-dwelling cutthroat trout and is also a spawning area for Ozette sockeye salmon.
The lake contains the highest density of freshwater native species in the Olympic National Park. The park’s rainforest rivers host the healthiest stocks of Winter Steelhead in the lower 48 states, as well as strong returns of Chinook & Coho Salmon. There are Summer Steelhead opportunities on the Queets and Ho Rivers. Backpackers are especially drawn to the wilderness portion of the Queets.
Here’s a list of the prime rivers for targeting Steelhead & Salmon.
- Sol Duc River — Wade access available. Only experienced oarsman to float.
- Elwha River — With dams removed, the Elwha will become a fly fishing paradise.
- Calawah River — Very technical river consisting of mostly class II and III rapids.
- Dickey River — A small stream with Sea Run Cutthroat and Coho Salmon.
- Bogachiel River — Best know for large run of hatchery Steelhead.
- Queets River — Big trees, remote wilderness valley, wildlife and no crowds.
- Hoh River — Great wade fishing access off of the Upper Hoh Road.
The “Oly Pen” rivers are subject to rapidly changing weather patterns & have many river obstacles that are unforgiving & can be extremely hazardous to the inexperienced oarsman. There are many skilled guides on the peninsula. I’ve fished for years with Mike Zavadlov and he’s one of the best on the Washington Coast. This photo shows us navigating through one of the coastal tribs. You can find more information regarding his guide business by visiting his website at Mike Z’s Guide Service.
Good luck! Share and tag your photos with “#mypaxis”.