Sol Duc River

The Sol Duc River is one of the premier rivers on the Olympic Penninsula. This river hosts good numbers of hatchery winter steelhead, as well as a healthy run of large natives. It also hosts good returns of summer steelhead, Chinook(both spring and fall runs), Coho, and Sockeye salmon.

My favorite time to fish this river is in March and April, this is when there are good numbers of trophy size native steelhead throughout the river. I have hooked some of my largest steelhead on this river during this period. Steelhead in excess of twenty pounds are caught here every year, and although the state does allow limited retention of native steelhead on the Sol Duc, most anglers release these tremendous fish to complete their spawning journey.

Bank fisherman can find access to the Sol Duc from Highway 101 which is usually just a short hike away, but to truly appreciate this river it should be fished from a drift boat. Along with allowing the angler to cover more water, the ride through the many rapids adds a little bit of excitement to each trip. A word of caution to the first time drift boat fisherman to the Sol Duc. This river eats several boats every year, and even though it is not a technically difficult river to float, there are several tricky stretches that should be scouted first. Watch how the other boaters navigate the rapids and follow there path, or better yet hire a guide for your first trip down the Sol Duc. Along with getting you safely down the river, they know where these fish will be on any given day, improving your chance for a hookup.

Another plus while fishing this river in the late spring is the chance for an encounter with a spring Chinook salmon. These fish start to show up in March and are here in decent numbers by mid April. It is possible to hook both species of fish during a float this time of year.


All content and images © 2006, 2007, 2008 Brian McArthur