High Water

Doug Rose has passed away. Cancer.

We were friends, but not terribly close.  I will miss Doug a great deal, he was an original inspiration to me when I first came to the Northwest. His books and his lectures made it clear there were secrets to find all over these mountains.  Secret little brooks and ponds, secret steelhead runs high in the head waters.

Fly fishing is a sport of discovery, big fish, small fish, no fish, maybe you take a walk to a new section of river and discover you can’t get there from here, Doug personified this.

Finding a mushroom on the way to a steelhead spot, or getting there and finding cutthroat instead of steelhead, all are part of the larger idea that is fly fishing.  When you see Doug on the river you understand how truthfully he embodies this idea without even speaking of it.

More than anything Doug was truthful.  When you read his best writing you discover that he does not have to explain his feelings because you feel what he feels.

Read everything he has written, if you don’t own his books, go to your local fly shop and buy them. Tie the flies he writes about. Doug went on a awesome journey, if you retrace his steps you will arrive at a great place.  Sometime this summer, pick a spot on a old paper map and hike through the woods until you get there. Try to catch a trout, take a picture, sit on a log by the river and enjoy being in a perfect place by yourself.

Jim Kerr



Posted in Searun Cutthroat Trout Fly Fishing Report, Steelhead Fly Tying, Summer Steelhead Fly Fishing Report, Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing Report | 7 Comments

7 Responses to High Water

  1. Jeff says:

    I heard of his passing yesterday, tied up one of Doug’s flies, a “keta rose”, and went out and caught a skinny searun cutthroat this afternoon.. How he loved those searun fish, big, little or skinny!

  2. Sam says:

    Doug was a very special person. I feel very lucky to have spent a day exploring the OP rivers with him. He gave us some of his flies, which I have copied and fish every visit to your fantastic area.

  3. Steve Erickson says:

    I am originally from Ohio. What does it take to get a goofy kid from Ohio to get interested in mystic of the Olympic Peninsula ? Simple Doug Rose’s book. Thank you Doug for giving me the incentive to leave Ohio.

  4. Kris Thomas says:

    Nice write, Jim. Wish I could’ve met the man. JKT

  5. Andrew Lawrence says:

    You could not have said it better. Thanks!

  6. Mike says:

    I’m very sad to hear about this. It was so fast and so sudden. I too got to know Doug
    through his books and felt close to him just from reading his books and articles. This may
    sound strange but, just like you said his feelings were quite apparent just by reading his works.
    I was really hoping to meet him some day and thank him for the way he opened my eyes
    and heart to what this thing called fly fishing really is. I know he trully loved the Olympic
    Peninsula and I hope people can carry on his stewardship of the area and it’s fisheries.

  7. Jeff says:

    I thought of Doug yesterday. I was fishing the beach for searuns, not getting much, when this eagle came down and grabbed about a 12″ searun about 20 feet to my left. I am sure that Doug would have laughed and enjoyed the heck out of that. As you mention above, fly fishing is not always about catching fish, sometimes it is about eagles catching fish I guess.

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