Maia Sparkman Hooks Coho on the Sol Duc By: russell Sparkman, FinFixx Pro Staff

Day 1: A Flooded River

Three days of torrential downpour before we arrived. At least 7" total, we heard.

Rising water levels.

Dark, murky water, instead of the green we like to see.

There was nothing good about the conditions.

We hiked along the riverbank to an eddy. Taking our chances. Trying our luck. Not certain at all of hooking a coho. In other words, fishing.

Inspite of the less than ideal conditions, Maia twitched up her first river coho.
Maia checks out the Sol Duc River coho hatchery, on the way back to the car.

Day 2: Floating the Sol Duc River

Over breakfast with our guide Bob Ball, well before sunrise, we talked about our options. The Calawah was one option. The Sol Duc was the other.

Given the conditions, neither option felt like the right option. It could go either way.

We rolled the dice on the Sol Duc.

Guide Bob Ball prepares the Wild Hair for a float down a near flood stage river.
The float down the Sol Duc begins. What awaits? That's what we're all thinking with the first pull on the oars.

Fish On!

A guide like Bob knows every nook and cranny, every personality trait, of a river like the Sol Duc. As a result, the first eddy we stopped at produced.

A large unclipped buck hit the spinner right next to the boat. Since it wasn't a hatchery fish, it went back to the river to do its thing.

Fish on! Early morning, in the first eddy of the flooded Sol Duc river.

Further down the river, we got onto a jack (juvenile) coho.

We also got into one of the first of five King salmon we caught that day. One of those Kings, a young buck, was still fresh enough from the ocean to be table fare. The best smoked salmon in the world is King salmon.

All in all, it was a fun and successful fishing trip. Any float down the Sol Duc River catching salmon is magical. And no trip with Bob is complete without saying hello to his pups!

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