Wynoochee River Question

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by flyfisher1023, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Hey All,
    Spent day fishing the upper Wynoochee River about 6-8 miles above the lake. Outstanding water but no fish. Did not see any spent stone flys on the rocks or any fish while wading. Are there resident trout above the lake or anywhere in the Nooch or is it all steelies and salmon?
    Thanks all.
  2. I had a couple different people tell me about some "nice cutts and bows" in the area below the falls, and I decided to check it out a few years back. I saw what you saw (not much). Maybe someone has some beans to spill about the upper Wynoochee, but it ain't this guy.

    The dearth of insect life throughout that watershed is something I have always thought to be a bit peculiar. The neighboring Satsop has pretty decent populations of stoneflies, mayflies, and caddis, but the Nooch is fairly barren by comparison. Probably just one more reason why it makes for less productive fly fishing than bait and gear fishing in general. A cool river, but not a fly fishing destination, in my opinion. Of course, I don't let that stop me. I make a note of wasting lots of summer hours trying to find a fish that will eat a bug. I'm by no means an ace steelhead fly angler, but I'm not a total slouch, and while I've caught numerous winter runs on the Nooch, I have yet to catch a summer fish there on a fly. Sad but true.
    Jim Wallace likes this.
  3. Shad is telling it like it is. The Wynoochee is a steelhead stream. Forget about trout fishing there for resident trout. It sucks. Not very many bugs. Locals might bait fish above the lake all summer, and any legal sized fish there get will caught and eaten.

    I have had fair luck at times on the Satsop for cutthroat, though. The fishing can be kind of spotty, but we hit a few when we float it. I have my 4 wt out swinging a Wounded Sculpin or something similar, and usually find a few. Not a lot. They are spread out kind of thin throughout the river.

    I've also caught hatchery steelhead smolts in the mainstem, while fishing for cutthroat. Haven't ever caught an unclipped rainbow there, though. (Other than a wild hen steelhead I caught drifting a corky and roe several years ago. We took her pic and released her).
  4. An exception on the Wynoochee might be the lower river below the Hwy bridge. The tidal reach gets backed up and there's a lot of "frog water" in that stretch. There are a couple of deep, dark and slow pools that look like they would hold cutthroat. There must be some cutts that move in and out of the lower river from the main stem Chehalis.

    I hiked and fished above the 7400 line bridge, and never saw a cutthroat. We did find a pool with some whitefish in it, though.
    I remember finding a dead Bull trout about 12" long on a float from Whitebridge to Blk Crk. Its belly was slit.
  5. Key with the Nooch (like steelhead fly fishing it) is to look OUTSIDE the box. Don't try so damned hard to match the hatch, or wait for one to come off (yes, they do come off). Resident trout? Eh, not so much. Future steelhead? More then likely what you'll be catching. But we catch plenty (and Brad the academy grad will give you the spiel on the Nooch lol). Lots of cutts. Some bows too of course (again, more like future steelhead). We do pretty well. Found a new love of fishing them in the early season. Mostly because it's Brad and I doing it. They love those elk hair caddis. You won't get a ton of big sized bows, but you'll catch a lot of ones from 5-10". But I have a cabin on the Nooch, so fish it a bit more then most. :) But I've caught from as far up as Crossover down to the mouth. But most of my trout fishing is around the cabin near the spillway.
  6. Hey Jerry thanks for delivering the WORD on this. I've not had much luck trout fishing there, but then again, I really haven't done much of that there. Just some hiking above 7400 line in the late summer and some slow water below Blk Crk in the fall and winter.
    The guy I floated it with a few times is more of a steelhead and salmon angler than he is a trout nut, so we were always fishing there for steel when we floated in his drift boat and never had time to really go after trout. One time, below Black Creek, I got a nice hen Chum on a fly I tied.
    I sometimes got to make a couple of casts with my 4 or 6 wt, before we had to row on downstream. Trout just weren't the main ticket on those floats.
    I usually just swing and strip conehead sculpin patterns when I must hurriedly make only a couple of casts for trout, before moving on. Rarely have time to switch up patterns in any one run. Have to do that while getting rowed down to the next good looking steelhead water.
    Down lower in the tide-affected zone and in deep, dark frog water pools, I'd try to cast and strip a hot-orange Reversed Spider, but by then we were usually done trying to tempt steel, and just rowing our way out.
    There's gotta be some wild resident 'bows in there other than the wild anadromous smolts.
    But I probably won't go there again to fish for trout, as I prefer certain other rivers for trout. I might paddle up as far as I can with the incoming tide from the hwy 107 ramp on the Chehalis, though, and target cutthroat in those deep frog-water pools. Maybe worth a try.

    I actually caught steelhead there above White Bridge when I used to hike in with my spinning rod, and drift bait. 14 or 15 years ago or so. Never got one there on a fly or while floating the river, though.
  7. Since I posted my remarks about the upper Wynoochee, I had a "cool" day floating a section below the dam. We hit one gorgeous summer run, but we only saw one more all day besides that one. What we did catch in decent numbers was... Wait for it... Whitefish and what must have been resident cutts. Go figure. It wasn't a blue ribbon fishery, by any means, but it made a great day that much better, and it made me rethink many of my prior conventions about the Nooch. I should add that, while it was still not as buggy as any classic trout stream, this particular stretch had considerably more insect biomass than what you see on most of the river. Might very well explain why this section had at least a few resident fish in it.

    Would I consider making this a future trout fishing destination? Probably not, but I always get a kick out of learning just how little I really know about what is possible in even my home waters.
  8. There are a ton of aquatics down low. Just have to actually look. Say it this way, we got three of our soldiers into their first fly caught trout at my cabin this weekend. Not including the others fishing around us. Still a little early on the summerruns. They're there, but not in serious numbers yet. Those big rains and river spikes moved fish in a hurry. Nope, not a blue ribbon, but it can be a fun day with smaller wt rods in the boat (like my son bringing his 2 wt). :)

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