Regional Reports-West

Quillayute River

While many Pacific Northwest steelhead populations are on a decline, such as the Columbia River fish, the Quillayute River system still supports good populations of both wild and stocked fish. Among its tributaries, the Soleduck River has a strong run of winter steelhead. (The Soleduck originates from several lakes just north of Bogachiel Peak.) The fish start to enter the river in November and the last arrivals are in early May. A good section to focus on is the roughly eight-mile run from the Highway 101 bridge downstream to the Quillayute Prairie Road Bridge. This stretch is a favorite with drift-boat fishermen, though there's some tricky water along the way. There's a launch site near the Highway 101 bridge at the Whitecomb/ Dimmel boat ramp. Several areas below the highway bridge can be waded as well. Bounce sand shrimp and roe along the bottom, or drag or cast Hotshot plugs and size 2 or 3 spinners in bright yellow, gold or orange. Flyfishermen catch steelhead on Skyokomish Sunrise and Fall Favorite flies. The fish run from 5 to 20 pounds. The daily bag limit is two steelhead 14 inches or longer including only one wild steelhead (hatchery fish are fin-clipped). A season resident license is $20; nonresidents pay $40. A two-day license is $6. Contact: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (360-902-2700).