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It does not have to many people but the people here are very active. It's nice to have a more laid back place to post with other steelheaders. What are everyones home rivers?
I grew up on the banks of the Washougal River and fished it regularly from 1980- 1989.
During the early 90's there was a steep downward trend in steelhead there and thinking it was pretty much the same everywhere I pretty much gave up steelheading only doing it 10-15 days a year: a few days on the Washougal, a trip to the Wind every fall and the Deschutes and Klickitat. I spent a lot of my time fishing for smallmouth bass on the backwaters of the columbia in the Gorge. In 1997 I decided I was tired of working in a cabinet shop and sent out resumes all over the west,to fly shops and lodges. That Feb I was offered a job at Steamboat Inn on the North Umpqua. I worked there doing maintenence and some small woodworking projects. When not at work I relearned to have faith in northwest steelhead rivers ans what a place to do it. During the 9 months I was there I hooked 34 steelhead 2 of which were winter runs. These fish gave me a window to my momories on the Washougal. The work I was doing there however was not what I had in mind. The next two summers I spent working at the Madison River Fishing Company, while there I traveled all over western Montana and did more great trout fishing than anyone deserves to have. Now back here in Washington I am desperatly scratch a winter steelhead out of the East Lewis river. All the places I have fished, picking one home river out of all of them is difficult at best. Each river touches me in a different way. Best I can do is a list and a reason why. If forced to say one river was my home there is no choice but the Washougal. I fish it only rarely now and haven't caught a fish out of it in 8 years or so now.

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Somehow I didn't see this message until now... great thread.

To say what river is my home river is tough; I've moved around a bit like you and now live on the east coast. While living near Seattle, I would have to say that my home river(s) were the Green, Snoqualmie and Skykomish mostly because of their proximity to my home. I could fish the Green for a few hours and show up at work for the first meeting without much trouble. When I worked in Issaquah I could hit the Snoqualmie and be at my desk bright and early too - particularly in summer.

I definitely fished these rivers more than others by a long shot but it's still hard to say that the Sol Duc is not one of my main rivers, or the Elwha, the Wynoochee, or the Kalama, East Fk Lewis, or Cowlitz (even though it's a hatchery show), or the Upper Skookumchuck which I often fished, North Fk. Stilly, the Hoh - boy the list goes on and on. Even still I couldn't call them my home rivers in fairness to the first three that I lived so close to for over ten years. I'd like to think my home rivers are all of the great PNW rivers I've fished over the years!

So let's talk about the East Fk... I've had great luck down from the Daybreak bridge and up near the falls stretch (downstream pools). Most success came at first light or last light using dry line and l-o-n-g leaders. The summer run pod hanging in the deep pool below the bridge gets crazy after a hard fall rain sometimes. I find fish in the run below daybreak too, swinging from the gravel pit side to the cut bank and working down stream with a muddler headed caddis.

If you are EF/Lewis range then I suppose the Kalama isn't too far of a shot for you and by late August there are tons of summer fish in the river as you probably know; by early October they are pretty hot to trot on caddis patterns.

I've worked a couple of very good stretches of the Washougal and love the river. I lucked out and landed a few nice summer fish in great spots up and down the river. I don't know the names of these pools but I could get there again if I needed to. One is a long deep pool alongside a road that runs along the perimeter of a wooded park. Upstream from that the river splits into two branches, and where they join is a pool almost in private property (left branch) steelies are always laying in that pool. I also hit one on a slow greaseline in the swimming beach area in front of those giant boulders on the far mid section, and watched a display of steelhead going nuts on a caddis hatch in the deep bouldery pool near the bridge where there is room for one car to park and houses on both sides of the bridge (you probably know where I mean?). I tried down there by the mouth, saw fish rolling but could not hook up on the new arrivals.

Anyway, thanks for reminding me of the many years I spent swinging a fly in beautiful "home" rivers like the Lewis and the Washougal!
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