My home water to guide for wild winter run steelhead is the Queets river. It is a large glacially fed river that runs emerald green. This river is almost entirely inside the Olympic National Park. Guiding on this river can only be done by a licensed guide with a permit to guide within the park. I have gone through this process and am one of only a few guides that can say they can guide within the Olympic National Park. The Olympic National Park is a temperate rainforest. The west side of the Olympic Peninsula can average 140 to 167 inches of rain a year. With that said, good rain gear is a must. If you have any questions on gear please check my equipment used page. While floating this river in my 18' Clackamax drift boat, you will not encounter a single house or anything man made for that matter. The Queets river is three hours from Sea Tac Airport and about 45 minutes south of Forks Washington. The beauty of this river is that there are not many rivers nearby. This brings the fishing pressure down and increases the chances of having a peaceful day on the river. The Queets river is my river of choice during the winter in Washington. The river gets a healthy returning run of wild steelhead each year, many of which eclipse the 20 pound mark. To date my hardest fighting best fish was from this river. A wild twenty pound buck that left me breathless. There will be times when the Queets river will be "blown out." This is when there has been a large rain event, or the snow level has dropped or a combination of the two. If this happens, I will work with you and we will find a suitable back-up.
The Clearwater, is my main back-up river to the Queets. This river comes into shape much quicker and generally runs clearer than the Queets. It is the main tributary of the Queets, and is much smaller. This river is set up very nicely for a switch rod.
The Cowlitz river is the river that I spend most of my time on. It is an hour and a half South of Sea Tac on Interstate 5. It has a very healthy run of hatchery steelhead in it year round. It is also a dam controlled river so the chances of it being fishable are much higher than almost any other river in the state. Being that the Cowlitz is so fishable and has the numbers of fish that it does. It is also one of the most heavily fished rivers. It is however a beautiful river with many long gravel bars well suited for swinging a fly. The Cowlitz river also has some of the best Sea Run cutthroat fishing in the state. From July to October you will have a very good chance of catching cutthroat in the double digits. I have had many 10 to 20 fish days of catching sea run cutthroat as a pure bycatch to steelhead fishing, not a bad day!
There are many other rivers, and beaches that I fish regularly and will bring clients to. Many of these places are well known, some other are only known by a few. If you want a personalized experience please feel free to let me know. If you give me enough advanced notice we can plan almost anything for you. Making your experience a memorable one is my job.