Olympic Peninsula - About The Rivers

The rivers that we fish are the Hoh and some of the rivers of the Quillayute River System which consist of the Bogachiel, Calawah, Dickey, Sol Duc, and Quillayute rivers. These rivers, on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, are considered to be among the most scenic and beautiful in the world. Although all the rivers share the common trait of scenic beauty, each river has its own character - from the mild meandering of the Bogachiel to the wild rapids of the upper Sol Duc.

Hoh River

The Hoh, which is a Native American term meaning "fast moving water", is the famous rain-forest river that serves as the centerpiece of the developed portion of the Olympic National Park. A big, fast, cold river even in its lower stretches, the Hoh offers some excellent fishing and challenging boating.

Located about 20 miles south of Forks, Washington, the Hoh has many personalities, often changing from one day to the next. Because of its wide floodplain it can change its course by dozens of yards after a heavy rain.

With its headwaters just to the east of Mt. Olympus in the Olympic National Park, most of the Hoh lies within the park boundary. From the uppermost launch at the Olympic National Park boundary the Hoh winds through glacial deposits and log jams for most of it's length. Then, about 9 or 10 miles from the Pacific, the river suddenly drops into a small canyon cut out of the bedrock. The canyon lasts a couple of miles and then, just as suddenly, it emerges into the broad plains of the lower river.

Bogachiel River

The Bogachiel, which means "muddy after rain", is a frequently flooding river, one that has occasionally washed out highway 101. It is also a prime salmon and steelhead stream. Much of its course is forested, though there is also agricultural land along the way. Its waters clear whenever the rains stop long enough to let the river drop its suspended load of rock debris.

Beginning on the western flank of Bogachiel Peak near Seven Lakes Basin in the Olympic National Park, the river lies mostly within the park boundary. The river is best known for its large run of hatchery steelhead, yet some of the largest steelhead to return to any of the Olympic Peninsula rivers return to the upper portions of this river.

As you approach the Bogachiel's confluence with the Sol Duc, the river begins to flatten out and often forms long, slow pools. These pools can provide a good time to relax and enjoy the scenery but we usually push on through to the more productive waters below.

Sol Duc River

The Sol Duc, a Native American term which means "sparkling water", is probably the best known of the area's rivers. It begins in the Seven Lakes Basin in Olympic National Park and cascades downstream through countless boulder fields to its confluence with the Bogachiel where the two rivers combine to form the Quillayute river.

The Sol Duc has more white water than the other rivers and provides fisherman with an exciting ride even on the days when the fishing is slow.

We spend more days fishing on this river than any other during the year. The river's ability to stay in good fishing shape even after a heavy rain allows us to spend more time on this river than any other.

Calawah River

Calawah, which means "middle river", referring to the river's placement between the Sol Duc and Bogachiel rivers, begins just three or four miles northeast of Forks, Washington, where its two forks, the North and South, join. It dumps into the Bogachiel about three miles southwest of town just below the steelhead hatchery on the Bogachiel.

The river receives light fishing pressure because of it's relatively poor bank access. The nearly constant class II and III whitewater rapids make navigating this river dangerous for drifters not familiar with the river's many obstacles.

Salmon and steelhead don't return to this river in especially large numbers, but those that do are often quite large. Many 25+ pound steelhead have been caught in its waters.

Quillayute River

Formed by the confluence of the Bogachiel and Sol Duc rivers, the Quillayute, one of the shortest rivers in Washington at less than 6 miles, is totally tidal. It is a true rain-forest river and provides a beautiful drift through corridors of gigantic trees covered with mosses and ferns. There are log-jams, to be sure, but the flow is so mild in this flat-terrain river that they present no real problems unless the whole river is blocked.


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