The Bogachiel River, Olympic Penninsula


Species:
Winter Steelhead, Chinook Salmon, and Sea-run Cutthroat
Location:
Follows the Clallam-Jefferson County line to join the Sol Duc River west of Forks, WA.
Directions:
Take U.S.101 north from Hoquiam or west of Port Angeles and drive to Forks. Turn west at the south end of town to reach Bogachiel Road, which goes to the Bogachiel rearing ponds. Turn west to 101 onto LaPush Road about 2 miles miles north of town to reach the lower end of the river. To reach the upper portions of the river, drive east of U.S.101 on South Bogachiel Road or turn off the highway at Bogachiel State Park, which is well marked.
Facilities
Bogachiel State Park has a few tent and RV sites, plus restrooms, showers and a boat ramp. Several other boat ramps are located upstream and downstream from the highway. Forks has motels, restaurant, grocery stores, gas stations, some rough and tumble bars and taverns, and several river-guise businesses.
Fishing the Bogachiel:
Although there is an open salmon season on this major tributary to the Quillayute River, winter steelheading is the main reason virtually everyone comes to the “Bogey”. As many as 50,000 winter steelhead smolts are released from the Bogachiel Rearing Ponds every year, and when adult fish from those plants return to the river things really get busy. The most productive months are December and January, and the most productive and crowded part of the river during this time is the four-mile stretch from the boat launch at the rearing ponds to the boat launch at the Wilson access, just off LaPush Road. Every weekend during December and January, and especially during the holiday period, there are a steady parade of drift boats through this part of the river. And most will have fish to show for their efforts. Bank anglers also catch their fair share of the hatchery bound steelhead along this portion of the river. The best access and most productive fishing is from the rearing ponds down stream to the mouth of the Calawah River, but you won’t be the only one who knows about it, so don’t bother looking for solitude. Unlike some Northwest rivers that are heavily stocked with hatchery steelhead the Bogachiel also provides good fishing later in the winter season, and it stays open through April to accomodate anglers and their late-winter fishery. March and April can be nearly as productive as December and January on the Bogachiel, and the average size of the fish is considerably larger. This is the time of the year when the Bogachiel gives most of its 15 to 25 lb. trophy steelhead. It is also time to consentrate on the upper sections of the river, above the rearing ponds.

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