Upper elwah

Awesome high country trout fishing in the middle of the Olympics

On of my favorite places on earth.  I headed up this past week with a few friends to Mary’s Falls campground an 8-mile walk from the Whiskey bend trailhead.

The shallow pocket water fishes best during the day, the big pools don’t turn on until evening.

The country and the hike are beautiful, the trout are a little picky between hatches, just enough to make it fun.  They run anywhere from 9 to 13 inches with the occasional15+ inch behemoth.  Elwah trout fight and jump like angry little steelhead.  It’s not unusual for a 12 incher to run line off your reel. 

Standard run of the mill Elwah rainbow.  This one ate a stimulater

There are campgrounds here and there for about 12 miles upthe trail. The river runs through deep canyons in a couple of places so be sure to check the map before you go.

The Canyon below Canyon Camp

The old saying is that the trout are bigger the farther you go upstream, for the most part I find that to be B.S.

The fishing and the scenery are great from Rica Canyon all
the way to Hayes camp. 

All the basic patterns will work on the upper Elwah be sure
you have these though. Stimulators in Yellow orange and olive size 12 to 8,
LaFontane’s sparkle pupa, (bring a bunch of these), Adams from 16 to 12, elk
hair caddis, some bead head pupa patterns.  The best hatches come off during the last hour of daylight so eat an early dinner and then go back and fish a big pool until dark.

Why would you try to pop popcorn without a lid?  Anyone should know that hot oil and popped corn are going go everywhere

The trout here can be just a bit picky, but a long perfect
dead drift with a fly that floats high on it hackles will always get more than
its share of fish. Try this; take a #12 orange stimulator and dry it off real
well, then grease it up and push the wing straight up and fan it out like a
giant comparadun.  Fish the pocket
water and put a big upstream J mend in your cast before it lands, then high
stick as much of the line of the water as you can to get a monster long dead
drift. (Keep your casts short, 15 feet or less to make this work).

If the fly starts to drag, even a little, lift it off and
recast it or you will put the fish off the bite. The fly has to be supper dry
to make this work so stop every four or five casts and dry it back out and push
up the wing.  It will be well worth
your effort.

Small but strong, 10 of these make for a nice afternoon

This may be the last year the Elwah is open to fishing, run up if you can.

Jim Kerr

Rain coast guides


Posted in Summer Steelhead Fly Fishing Report | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Upper elwah

  1. Jeff Westerlund says:

    Hey Jim,

    I hear that my friends ran into you on the Elwha just after I had to leave to walk out. What a beautiful place, and the trout were plentiful and willing too. It will be amazing to see steelhead, kings, and silvers in those pools in a few years or so. Can’t wait!


  2. Jim Kerr says:

    Pretty sweet! Good to meet your friends!

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