Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Calawah River
The Calawah River is a 31 mile long tributary of the
Bogachiel River on the Olympic Peninsula of
Washington. Its headwaters, the North and South Forks
of the Calawah River, flows from the virgin forest of the
foothills of the Olympic Mountains. Fly fishing the
Calawahy River produces anglers a good opportunity to
catch a very nice size steelhead. Its water is crystal clear
and fast. This is a high-gradient stream with great pocket
water for nymphing. It also has plenty of water where
swinging a fly works well.
The Calawah River will challenge anyone's rowing skills
to the utmost. It really consist of three different sections -
its upper North and South Forks, the upper section of
the main stem from the confluence of the North and
South Forks to the highway #101 bridge, and the lower
section from the bridge to the Calawah's confluence with
the Bogachiel River. The upper section of the main stem
is considered moderate to difficult. The lower section is
dangerous. We suggest first floating it with an
Anglers can fish from the banks on the lower section of
the Calawah River by walking back of the Bogachiel
ponds to the river. You can also access the river from La
Push road at the Tall Timbers access. The lower two
miles of the river can be crowded with anglers fishing
from the bank but but once the hatchery run slows down,
the crowds thin out.
Winter steelhead hatchery runs will stay strong through
early January but slow down in February. The best
opportunity for a shot at a big twenty pound wild
steelhead is from late January through early March.
The Calawah River is open for fall salmon from highway
# 101 downstream. Winter steelhead fishing from the
forks downstream to highway #101 has special
regulations that are different from those below highway
#101. The upper section is open for winter steelhead
fishing from the National Park Boundary to the forks until
February 28, also with special regulations.
Varies with species and area of the river - make sure
you see the current special regulations
March and mid-April, Chinook salmon begin to show up.
Winter steelhead are still in the river until well into April.
Summer steelhead run from June through September
Salmon fishing starts about the second week of October
when the river levels start rising from the Fall rains.
Steelhead fishing begins about mid November.
January to April is the best winter steelhead fishing time.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths
10# and 12#
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
For 7 to 10 weight lines
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Calawah River Fishing Report:
11/09/13 Anglers reporting Coho fishing
waning down. Steelhead haven't appeared
yet but will by the end of the month. Fish
should be ranging from the lower stretches
of the river to the hatchery on the Bogachiel,
12/22/13 River has risen some during the
last three days but still below normal. It is
flowing at 819 cfs and at 4.59 ft. More
water is needed. We just don't have
anything good to report yet.
01/04/13 The Calawah River is suffering
from the same thing other northwest coast
fisheries are or low, clear water. No reports
of fish being caught. Wait a couple of day
after the first heavy rain.
01/11/14 It is raining and rain is in the
forecast for the next few days. This should
end the drought and improve the fishing
Fishing Report Updated 11/26/16
(Bottom Of Page)
01/18/14 The Calawah River and the
Bogachiel are both producing steelhead
lately. The rain has helped the situation.
01/25/14 Water levels are back down
below normal and very clear. No reports of
fish being caught recently.
02/01/14 There are a few fish in the river
but catching them has been very tough
due to the low clear water. Nothing really
good to report.
02/08/14 Same old lousy condition but they
will be changing this week with warmer
weather and rain. Keep a check on the
levels and this report.
02/15/14 Stream levels are up and high
with much more rain to come for the next
02/22/14 I guess the recent lack of rain
caused the ground to swallow the rain and
high water level much faster than expected.
Plenty of fish are in the river but it has
already fell back down to a low level.
03/01/14 The Calawah is in the best
shape it has been in this year, with good
levels and plenty of fish. This may change
fast. There is rain in the forecast every
day for the next week. .
03/08/14 Currently running very high and
03/15/14 The Calawah River fishes best
when the water first drops and clears up so
03/22/14 The stream is in good shape but
we don't have any fishing reports from it.
03/29/14 The river is high and rising with
rain in the forecast every day for the next
04/05/14 The big problem has been the
high water levels. The very few days
anglers could fish, there were a few fish
taken but only a few.
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04/26/14 Waiting on the summer hatchery
fish. No reports of any steelehead caught
for the past two weeks.
05/17/14 The fishing season is closed and
reopens the first Saturday in June. We will
resume our report then.
06/07/14 Season is now open. Don't expect
much until the end of the month when some
steelhead begin moving in.
06/14/14 Low water conditions but trout
fishing should be good. No reports from
anglers fishing last week. No reports for
07/27/14 Fishing for all species is very slow.
08/10/14 A few sea run cutts have moved
into the river but the fishing has been very
slow. Rain is needed to move more fish
into the river.
08/16/14 Still need more rain. According to
our local contact, some steelhead and a few
sea-run cutts are being caught. We had
some anglers ordering flies for the cutts,
which should get better later in the monthy.
08/30/14 Steelhead fishing is still lousy but
the weather is cooling off some. Low water
conditions are also hurting. Some resident
trout are being caught.
09/27/14 A very few sea-runs being caught.
We will resume this report when the season
10/11/14 Some sea-runs are being caught
and Coho and Steelhead should be moving
into the river as it is currently raining and
should continue for the next few days.
10/18/14 It is raining and more is forecast
every day for the next week. Fishing will
improve but check the levels - Steelhead,
coho, sea run cutts.
11/08/14 No steelhead yet, but some Coho
are being caught by fly anglers.
12/14/14 More good "catching" reports from
anglers playing with the hatchery steelhead.
12/20/14 Lots of hatchery steelhead being
caught by our customers. Conditions have
12/27/14 No reports from the past week.
Conditions remain good.
01/10/15 Anglers are catching plenty of
hatchery steelhead. Good conditions still exist
at this time.
01/17/15 One report of a winter winter
steelhead from a loyal customer and that's it.
01/24/15 Two reports of winter steelhead
caught this past week. It is getting better.
02/07/15 A couple more good reports came in
about a week ago but the river is high and not
fishable at this time.
02/21/15 The river has produced some
steelhead for the past two weeks since falling
out. Our customers are reporting out Perfect
Fly steelehead nymphs are working best.
03/07/15 The action has slowed. You must
use small, light color steelhead nymphs untill
the levels come back up some.
03/28/15 The past two weeks have produced a
few good days and a few wild fish but altogether
it has been slow.
04/11/15 There have been a few fish caught
but all together, very slow.
05/23/15 Send us an email and let us help you
plan your next trip.
06/13/15 Look for summer run steelhead to
arrive within the next two weeks if not sooner.
06/27/15 Summer runs are showing up in decent
numbers. Two reports from customers.
07/11/15 Not exactly a destination stream during
the summer but the locals are well aware of the
summer steelhead in the river at this time.
08/08/15 Rain is likely today and the first of next
week. That should bring sea run cuthroat in the
river and improve the conditions BUT Closed to
fishing at this time.
08/29/15 It is still closed by hopefully, rain and
cooler weather will change this soon. These
conditions should bring fish into the river.
09/05/15 The lower Calawah River is open to
fishing thanks to the better water conditions
the rain and cooler weather brought.
09/12/15 Some steelhead and coho being
caught but not many. Cooler weather and rain
expected this next week should help.
09/26/15 Open in state waters. Hatchery
steelhead are in the river. Few anglers are fishing.
10/10/15 One report of a few summer runs
caught near the hatchery. Overall, it is slow.
10/24/15 Conditions remain about the same or
worse. Low and clear water but hopefully, that
will change. There is a chance of rain every day
this coming week.
10/31/15 The rains came and the stream levels
are still up with more fish in the river. Conditions
should be much better very soon.
11/14/15 Coho fishing has been good when the
levels were okay but about finished. It won't be
long before the winter steelhead begin to show.
11/28/15 There is a lot of rain in the forecast
next week. That could bring some hatchery fish
into the river.
12/05/15 Reports are a few hatchery steelhead
have been caught in the lower river near the
12/26/15 About the time the hatchery run
started, the rain started. Yes, it brought the fish
in but many returned to the hatchery under the
cover of the high water. It is just now getting
back down low enough to fish.
01/23/16 Our customers have done well the
past two weeks from the bank and boats but
you will have to watch the stream levels. Lots of
rain is in the forecast and the levels.
02/06/16 Anglers are catching and releasing
wild steelhead in decent number.
02/27/16 The river has been high and stained
for a long time but is now back in good shape.
Steelhead are being caught in good numbers.
It is flowing about 798 cfs and very clear.
03/12/16 High water and rain every day through
03/26/16 The stream is at a good level and
clear. Steelhead are being caught by our
customers in good numbers.
07/02/16 The river is low but trout fishing is
good. Fish the upper river. There are some
hatches taking place. Sea-run cutts should start
coming in soon. No reports of summer runs
07/23/16 Those fishing for trout are doing rather
good. Resident cutts are plentiful and hatches
are taking place. Little Yellow stones, Spotted
sedges and other insects are hatching.
08/06/16 Summer steelhead are finally doing
good. Trout fishing also continues to do good for
those fishing tor them.
08/20/16 Hot weather and low water continues to
hamper the fishing. Some sea-run cutts are in
the river but few are being caught.
10/08/16 Closed until November 16.
11/26/16 The season is open from the Bogie
confluence to the 101 bridge. Opening the first
of Dec. from the 101 bridge to the forks.