Sol Duc River

sol_duc_river

Species:
Winter and Summer Run Steelhead, Spring and Fall Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink and Sockeye Salmon, Sea-Run Cutthroat
Location:
North and west of Forks, flowing into the Quillayute River.
Directions:
Drive west from Port Angeles or north from Hoquiam on U.S.101, which parallels much of the river and crosses it just north of the town of Forks. Whitcomb Dimmel Road, Clark Road, Sol Duc Valley Road, and others to the east and south of U.S.101 provide access to the upper river. La Push Road and Quillayute Road will take you to the lower portion of the river.
Facilities:
Three Rivers Resort has cabins, RV and tent sites, a grocery store with tackle and fishing licenses, a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner, hot showers, and laundry services. Other motels, bed and breakfasts, gas, groceries, restaurants and other services are available in Forks.
Fishing the Sol Duc River:
One thing about the Sol Duc River that is rare, the river offers all five species of the Pacific Salmon. While most people come to the Olympic Penninsula to catch the steelhead, the river offers a little bit of everything. But, as I said before most come for the steelhead and that’s where the odds are. Winter Steelheading is the best bet of all, since anglers catch 1200 to 1500 fish every winter. A slow starter, the river isn’t to hot in December, but the months of January through April offer excellent opportunities. January and February offer lots of hatchery fish, but by March the late runs of big Sol Duc River natives are on the scene, and you stand a reasonable chance of hooking one in the high-teens or even 20 pounds or more at any time of the month. Bif fish remain a possibility through April. Summer-run steelhead aren’t stocked here, but the Sol Duc does produce a few dozen per month, beginning in June.
This river is the best producer of spring chinook in the Quillayute system, but low, clear water is more the rule than exception during the height of the springer runs from April to June. A period of rainy weather during this time may spur some hot chinook fishing, especially if it produces enough water to raise the color of the river. Without such conditions, you have to work hard, fish early, and fish late to catch the Sol Duc springers. Although difficult to cast and fish with, especially from the bank, herring baits account for the high-percentage of the fish caught during these times. The normal low water at these times not only makes it difficult to fish for ban anglers, but also makes it difficult and life miserable for boat fishermen too, as they bang, clang, and scratch the heck out of their boats, as there are many rocky stretches on the river.
The fall salmon fishery on the river has traditionally been dominated by some good coho fishing that begins as early as August and holds up well into November. Before planning an assault on the river, check all regulations, since some closures have came into play here in the recent years past. The last time I was here we where camping along the river on the fourth of July weekend and my good friend Scott Barrows woke before everyone else one morning, he wasn’t gone one hour and returned to camp with two 30 pound plus kings!
sol_duc_river_morning

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