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  • Writer's pictureAlex Tamayo Wolf

Fishing in Washington's Olympic National Park

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

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. Float down one of its wild and scenic rivers in a drift boat. Hike one of the 900,000 acres of glacier-flanked mountains. Explore a rainforest valley. You can’t go wrong. Above all, don’t forget to bring your Paxis® backpack. It’s your best fishing friend.

For Both Fly and Gear Fishermen (and women) An abundance of fishing opportunities can be found. Fly fishermen and gear fishermen alike will fall for this pristine mountainous and coastal area. This Olympic Peninsula Map has more detailed information. In addition, Lake Ozette is home to a unique population of lake-dwelling cutthroat trout. It 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. Chinook & Coho Salmon are strong as well. There are Summer Steelhead opportunities on the Queets and Ho Rivers. In addition, backpackers are especially drawn to the wilderness portion of the Queets.

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 in the Olympic National Park are subject to rapidly changing weather patterns. They have many river obstacles that are unforgiving and 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”.

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