Salmon Reach the Upper Elwha for the First Time in Over 100 Years

Last week, two National Park Service staff members went snorkeling in the Elwha River upstream of the site where the now fully removed Glines Canyon Dam once stood. The purpose of their outing was to confirm the possible sighting of chinook salmon in the Upper Elwha, in the area that was not too long ago home to Lake Mills and where chinook salmon have not swam in 102 years.

Glines Canyon Dam
The Glines Canyon Dam before its removal (photo: Ben Knight, DamNation).

The snorkel surveyors found three adult chinook, all between 30 and 36 inches long, between Windy Arm and Glines Canyon. According to the National Park Service, "two fish were seen resting near submerged stumps of ancient trees [while] the third was found in a deep pool in the former Lake Mills."

"When dam removal began three years ago, Chinook salmon were blocked far downstream by the Elwha Dam," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. "Today, we celebrate the return of Chinook to the upper Elwha River for the first time in over a century."

It's Not You, Honey. It's Me.

"Meetup location sounds good. I'll give you a call when I leave Harry's with the boat. I plan to bring a spinning rod along with my fly rod. I've been catching some bass on swim baits on the pond here at Five Points. So feel free to bring a spinning rod if you want."

Finn's Bass

It took some digging, but I found it. Tucked into the backmost corner of the deepest reaches of the basement. Hidden behind a flaccid float tube and a roll of plastic deer fencing. Draped in cobwebs and dust. The forgotten stick. My old 5’9” Shimano BW-2593 Bull Whip Graphite Fightin’ Rod. Medium Bass/Walleye Special Action. Quantum Escalade loaded with Fire Line. Fat black jitterbug, still strung from some midnight foray to the pond down the hill, years past.

I was young and foolish then.

Video: GEOBASS Finale, Papua New Guinea Black Bass

Chances are you've never heard of Papua New Guinea black bass. If you have, you know that PNG black bass are rumored to be far and away the hardest fighting freshwater fish in the world, snapping lines and exploding rods whenever they are encountered.

GEOBASS Papua New Guinea Black Bass

In the finale episode of Costa Del Mar's GEOBASS, the multi-award winning adventure film series that tracks a group of fly fisherman as they globe trot in search of the most exotic and powerful bass species out there, the cameras head out into remote stretches of Papua New Guinea in search of these powerful monsters of lore and legend.

Tater Weather

It's tater weather. As summer yields to the first inklings of fall water is boiled, potatoes are peeled and cubed and a mashed, starchy treat appears next to sliced meat. I take my mashed taters with plenty of butter and salt and fresh ground pepper. I won't refuse a dab of sour cream but one runs the danger of making a damn fine thing too good, too rich.

Cedar Run
Photo: Chad Shmukler.

As the evenings cool I also begin to think about the small streams that I've let lie fallow since spring. While many of these little gems run relatively cool through the summer months it just doesn't seem right to fish them when so many other factors are stacked against them. As the weather turns wetter and cool evenings keep water temperatures moderate I don't feel so bad luring a trout to take a swipe at a well placed Parachute Adams. So I give it a go with low expectations of success.

Playing Politics with Clean Water

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to undermine the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers as the two federal agencies seek to clarify which waters should be protected under the Clean Water Act and which waters should not be regulated.

Trout and Salmon Headwater Stream

In the face of an aggressive lobbying campaign from opponents of the so-called Waters of the United States rule the EPA and the Corps have drafted for public review, the House took up the “anti-government” torch and carried through its chambers in a vote that is largely symbolic, yet wholly troubling. Here’s the gist of this situation, and as anglers, it falls to us to put our politics aside and instead focus on what’s best for our fish—and our fishing, today and for generations to come:

When the Clean Water Act passed in 1972, it protected from unpermitted development the “Waters of the United States,” and those waters included headwater streams, wetlands and other naturally occurring waters—even those intermittent and ephemeral streams that run dry at certain times of the year, but are hugely important for spawning and rearing for trout and salmon.