Coastal fishing is a short 15 miles away and offers chances to catch steelhead as they enter the rivers for spawning in the summer and winter. There are also several charter services along the coast if you will to go out onto the water. Various rivers run through the area and include Sol Duc (pictured above), Hoh, Calawah and Bogachiel. On the Sol Duc, you are allowed to keep wild steelhead from Dec. 1 until April 30 in the section from the mouth of the river at the coast to the hatchery. The same special rule applies to the Calawah River from the mouth to the Highway 101 bridge. Most of these rivers are fast and a bit rough, some having steep drops or rocks.
To fish in Washington, you need a fishing license. You can purchase a fresh water or salt water license or a combination permit if you are planning to fish both. The basic fishing seasons depend on the type of water. Lakes and the ocean have a year-round season, while rivers are open June through October. Some waters, however, have a different season posted for just that location. In the case of the ocean waters, the state is divided into 13 zones, each with its own stipulations. Certain fish can have their own seasons in different waters as well. Steelhead are usually allowed to be kept in most streams and lakes, although there might be a limit of two or three.
Steelhead is basically another name for rainbow trout. These special rainbows can migrate in and out of salt waters and fresh waters and have been moved from the trout family to the salmon family with regard to species designation. These fish have two established runs for spawning, one in the winter and one in the summer. The summer runs typically travel farther and don't reach their destination until the next spring, while winter runs are found closer to the coast and make it to their spawning grounds in time for the spring. In most cases, you are not allowed to keep wild steelhead trout. You can tell the difference between hatchery and wild varieties with a quick look at the adipose fin. On hatchery fish, the fin will be clipped and a scar will have formed.
Article Written By Keith Dooley
Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.