Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Sol Duc River
The Sol Duc River is one of Washington's great
steelhead rivers. It's located in Washington's Olympic
Peninsula in the capital of the winter steelhead country.
This is a great winter destination for any steelhead
angler but it's winter steelhead fishing that isn't for the
faint hearted angler. It's fishing under harsh weather
conditions, very cold water, short bleak days, and if
your not careful, frozen fingers can test your steelhead
fishing ability to the utmost.
There's good runs of both hatchery steelhead as well as
natives. It also has good returns of summer steelhead,
Chinook salmon, both in the Spring and Fall, Coho
salmon and Sockeye salmon.
The Sol Duc River is also one of the very best coho
salmon rivers you'll ever fish. You'll find them in the
same type of water as the steelhead. You will need a
sink-tip line and a down and a across presentation of
one of our Perfect Flies, and before you make very
many strips you will probably hear the reel scream.
The fish enter with the rain. Just after a good rain is the
best time for fly fishing the Sol Duc River for the coho
salmon. The river is one of the Olympic Peninsula's
typical small streams consisting mostly of pocket water.
Short cast are normal for the Sol Duc. Switch rods are
The Sol Duc stays in as good of shape as any in the
Olympic Peninsula. It starts high in the mountains and is
one of the first streams to clear after high water.
Winter steelhead fishing is generally from January into
April and Summer steelhead fishing June through
If you fish from the bank, you can access to the Sol Duc
from Highway 101 which runs fairly close to the river. To
get the most from fly fishing the Sol Duc River, fish it
from a drift boat. You can cover more water. Use caution
when you use a drift boat on the Sol Duc. Though it isn't
a technically difficult river, there's some sections that
The season regulations is subject to seasonal changes.
Be sure and check the current year regulations and
dates for seasons.
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.
The wild steelhead head
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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.
11/29/13 Customer ordering some
steelhead nymphs from us reporting water
still low and clear but rain expected. No
reports of any winter steelhead being
Sol Duc River Fishing Report:
12/07/13 We were ask about the steelhead
regulations by one angler today. It is open
for winter steelhead fishing from Hwy #101
bridge downstream of Snider Creek to
salmon hatchery pump station. Limit 2 fish,
wild steelhead must be released. It is also
open for winter steelhead fishing from
salmon hatchery pump station to the mouth
with a limit of 2 steelhead and no more than
one wild fish daily / annually.
Fishing Report Updated 10/01/16
(Bottom Of Page)
11/08/13 One customer reporting Coho
beginning to show up in the lower river in
good numbers. Fish are being caught on
our PF Pink Egg Black Sucking Leech.
12/22/13 Like all the Olympic Peninsula
stream, the Sol Duc has been low but that is
changing and new steelhead should be
coming in the river. The stream levels have
gone up for the last three days. Stay tuned.
12/30/13 our local contact reporting he has
fished two days without catching a chrome
and has not seen one caught. Still no good
01/18/14 Our local contact reporting he and
others have caught a few wild steelhead
during the past two or three days.
01/25/14 There was a short lived peak in
levels. They are back down low and clear
with no fish being reported.
02/01/14 The water is very low and clear
and few fish have been caught.
02/08/14 The lousy fishing reports are
about to change. Currently snowing but
turning warmer and raining for the next
few days. Fishing will improve big time so
keep a close check on the levels.
02/15/14 Stream is blown out from rain with
much more to come. Heavy rain is forecast
for the next week.
02/22/14 A lot more wild fish have entered
the river but the water is already low and
clear. Hopefully, more rain is in the near
03/01/14 The stream is in great shape as
of now. There are lots of newly arrived
fish but conditions may change rather
fast. There is rain in the forecast every
day for the next week.
03/08/14 Currently the river is blown out. It
will be a few days before it becomes
03/15/14 The water should be down at a
good levels soon and fishing should be
03/22/14 Customer ordering flies report he
has caught two large steelhead this past
week. He is swinging Spey flies.
03/29/14 The river is rising and there is
rain in the forecast every day for the next
04/05/14 The fishing has been okay the
very few days the river levels have been
suitable. There is only about 10 days left in
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fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
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with a budget for flies and we will select
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04/26/14 No reports of springer fish this
past week or from anyone fishing. There
are Chinook in the river.
05/03/14 Chinook but no reports of
05/10/14 No fly fishing reports received
this past week.
05/17/14 No reports from anglers.
06/07/14 Season is open. There may be a
few summer run steelehead but no reports.
Resident Cutthroat trout is about it for now.
06/14/14 Two cutomers reported catching
cutts this past week. They ordered Little
Yellow and Golden stoneflies.
06/21/14 One more good report came in.
Conditions have remained good. The water
is a little low but fine for trout fishing. Lots
of hatches are underway.
07/05/14 Trout fishing has been very good.
Two good reports came in from customers
catching good numbers of trout.
07/27/14 Trout fishing remain good. The
water has been easy to wade and trout can
be caught from the headwaters downstream
to the park.
08/10/14 Sea run cutts are being caught
along with some summer steelhead but
fishing is slow. Fish the uppermost sections.
Conditions should improve later in the month.
Some trout are being caught in the upper
sections of the river. Hatches have slowed
but terrestrials are working.
08/16/14 A very few steelhead and some
sea run cutts were caught this past week but
fishing is very slow due to low water
conditions. Headwater trout fishing should
still be good.
08/30/14 Low water conditions are still
hurting the fishing opportunities - too low to
float but easy to wade. Resident trout are
being caught in the upper part and into the
09/13/14 One customer reported catching
some nice trout on BWO nymphs, size 20
and black carpenter ants but that is it.
09/27/14 Fall Kings and Coho will begin to
show up in October, so it won't be long.
10/11/14 Still waiting on rain but that is
happening now and should continue for a
few days. Coho should begin to move in.
10/18/14 There's lots of rain in the
forecast and fishing will be good
unless it is blown out. Check the levels.
10/25/14 Stream flows are high and
more rain is in the forecast.
11/08/14 Plenty of Coho are in the river
but no steelhead yet.
12/14/14 No reports recently. Things
should change soon with the arrival of the
12/20/14 High water levels has prevented
any fishing opportunity.
12/27/14 Stream levels have been a
01/10/15 Everyone is waiting on the arrival
of the wild winter steelhead.
01/17/15 Still no reports
01/24/15 Three good reports on winter
steelhead from customers. It has definitely
pickup up some.
02/07/15 The Sol Duc is blown out but is
one of the fastest to clear. It usually takes
only two or three days at the most.
02/21/15 Several good fishing reports from
the past two weeks. The water is getting a
little low again and fishing was a little
tougher the past week. Our Perfect Fly
steelhead nymphs are working best.
03/07/15 The catching has slowed down due
to much lower water levels. Use small, light
03/21/15 There have been a few fish caught
the past couple of weeks. Higher water
levels has helped some
03/28/15 Customers reported several
steelhead were caught this past week.
04/11/15 There has been a few more steelhead
caught recently but it is slowing down.
05/23/15 Send us an email and let us help
you plan your next trip.
06/13/15 Summer run steelhead are coming in
the river. Sea Run Cutts are showing up.
Golden stoneflies are hatching. It will only get
06/27/15 Customers reporting catching sea-run
cutts, native cutts, and a few summer run
07/11/15 Sea-run cutts and native cutts are all
we know of being caught the past two weeks.
08/08/15 Warm, low water conditions continue
to be a problem. Rain is forecast and if that
happens, summer runs and sea-run cutts
should move in. Closed to fishing at this time.
08/29/15 It is still closed to fish but hopefully,
that will change soon. Sea run cutts and
summer steelhead will move in with the rain
coming and higher water levels.
09/05/15 The lower Sol Duc is open to fishing
thanks to the rain and better water conditions.
Anglers are doing good on the sea-run cutts. .
09/12/15 Sea-run cutts being caught. It will be
cooler next week along with more badly needed
rain and that will help big time..
09/26/15 Cutthroat fishing is red hot with lots
of them being caught. Call or email us for fly
10/10/15 The sea run cutts are still coming in
and very plentiful. Anglers are having very
good success catching them. A few Coho are
also around. Check out our Salmon Flies
10/24/15 Fishing remains slow. The river
level is very low and clear and few fish have
come into the river. There is a chance of rain
every day this coming week, but low
percentage most days. We feel like it will
improve before the week is over.
10/31/15 Stream levels have been up and
customers catching a good number of Coho.
11/14/15 The Coho fishing continues to be
good. The water gets off color quickly from
rain but clears fast.
11/28/15 The river has been high and off
color but back down now. There is rain
forecast every day this coming week and that
should bring some fish into the river.
12/05/15 Lots of coho in the river but few are
being caught due to high levels. Lots more
rain coming and it will be good when the
levels are in good shape.
12/26/15 Heavy rain and high water levels for
the past three weeks have all but eliminated
any fishing. The levels are down now to near
normal levels. The Sol Duc gets the late
hatchery fish and maybe they will begin to
show if not already.
01/09/16 The stream levels are in pretty good
shape and nymphing with indicators is working
good and some swinging. They are catching
good numbers of wild fish and a few hatchery.
Perfect Fly Steelhead patterns.
01/23/16 Steelhead were being caught in
good numbers. There is a lot of rain in the
forecast this week, so you better keep a close
check on the levels.
01/30/16 Good numbers of wild steelhead are
being caught. Bank and boat anglers are
02/06/16 The river is high and going on up. It
is raining today. There have been good
numbers of steelhead caught. Just watch the
02/13/16 The boat anglers were doing okay a
couple days ago but the river is high again.
Watch the levels. It is best at 800-1000 cfs.
02/27/16 The river is back in good shape level
wise and it is clear. Steelhead are being
caught. Our Spey Patterns are catching fish.
03/12/16 There have been a few wild steelhead
caught. The high water is dropping fast and this
will be one of the first to clear, if ever. There is
rain forecast through Wednesday.
03/26/16 As usual, the Sol Duc cleared up fast
and dropped. Anglers are catching lots of
steelhead. Our Spey, streamers and nymphs
are catching fish for our customers.
04/02/16 Good conditions exist and lots of
steelhead are being caught.
04/15/16 High water and no reports from anglers.
05/28/16 The first runs of Sea-run cuthroats are
coming in. Summer steelhead will soon start to
06/11/16 Summer runs are coming in good, sea
run cutts are coming in good, there are still
some springers in the river, and resident
cutthroat fishing is very good.
07/02/16 The river is running low and clear.
Trout fishing is good with Golden stones, Green
Drakes, PMDs and other insects hatching.
Sea-run cutts should be starting to come in.
08/06/16 Trout fishing continues to be good for
rainbows and cutthroat. Fish are being caught
in all sections of the river.
08/20/16 There are summer steelhead and
sea-run cuts in the river but it is very low and
clear. Trout fishing is okay. Fish early mornings.
09/03/16 Summer coho are showing up in the
lower river. The water is still low but a little
10/01/16 Coho are in the river but the water is
low. It is open below the concrete pump station.
10/08/16 There are some coho and some trout
below the pumping station. The river is still too
low and clear to be very good.