So I headed west recently. Went to the Olympic Pennisula. The OP.
It’s been close to 10 years since I have been out that far. I fished a lot of river’s in a short time. I was hungrier for big fish and had the steelhead bug from the Klick, Wenatchee, and Methow. I wanted to see the rainforest and test myself on the famed OP. As a younger angler in the PNW I felt it was part of the process to try my hand and cast at OP Steel.
I sucked at steelhead fishing. My spey cast is still shit. It’s never been my thing. I nymphed a lot which is dirty, and I did throw gear for steel and salmon at that time.
I only swing now. Not because I am pretentious, its just how I prefer to fish for salmon and steel. I personally want to improve my spey and swinging skills and if I hook or catch fish thats great. I have caught my steelhead and salmon of a lifetime already. These days I am not chasing much more than a better spey cast.
That takes a lot of the pressure off and gives me a different perspective than I had when I was younger. And with the current state of our salmon and steelhead fisheries I am just out for the experience and place, fish or not. Its more therapeutic. I never want to guide steelhead. Just want to get my swing on in a pretty place. I am also a much better angler compared to my younger self so I am interested to see how things go.
I remember winter steelheading back then. I remember one adventure 4 straight days of rain on 2 different rivers. Rain so heavy it hit the river and splashed so hard it hit you in the chin. It rained so hard it rained up. The last day I did hook into 3 and land 1 which is better than I usually do.
I remember being cold and wet and full of whiskey for a good portion. I was eager for fish and didn’t appreciate the place I was in as much as I should have. I would tell my younger self to slow down and delve into the experience more…fish are secondary. That is my mentality going into winter steelheading for the first time in a long time. Peer pressure coupled with my current situation, epic boredom level, and just for the pure wanting to do it and having the ability…so why not.
I spent some time visiting friends, getting my bearings over there again, get familiar with the area and drive since me and the hog gotta trek over the pass in the winter. May have to find a place to stick my boat on that side…hmmm. I also just wanted to see the place again. It is one of the most unique places I have ever been. From the mountains of Colorado, deserts of south Idaho, mountains of north Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone, Glacier, B.C., Alaska, and anywhere in Washington…the OP and the Rainforest and waterways of the area are by far some of the coolest places to let your outdoorsy side out.
Its cold here in Roslyn, here soon we won’t see temps above freezing very much. The OP is a little warmer, albeit wetter.
There is old water there I would like to rediscover for myself. There may be a fish or two, maybe some to harvest, but I am chasing a better cast, days spent in a faintly familiar place, having and sharing new experiences.
See ya riverside somewhere over on the rainy side.