Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Elwha River - McDonald Bridge - Washington

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

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Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

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Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midge Hatch Afternoon #18-22 Zebra Midge
February Stonefly Hatch Morning #6-10 Hall's Stonefly
Midge Hatch Afternoon #18-22 Zebra Midge
March Midge Hatch Afternoon #18-22 Zebra Midge
Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
April Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
Stonefly Hatch Morning #6-10 Hall's Stonefly
Caddis Fly Hatch Evening #14-18 Godard Caddis
May Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
Caddis Fly Hatch Evening #14-18 Godard Caddis
Stonefly Hatch Afternoon #6-10 Hall's Stonefly
June Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
Caddis Fly Hatch Evening #14-18 Godard Caddis
Stonefly Hatch Afternoon #6-10 Hall's Stonefly
July Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
Caddis Fly Hatch Evening #14-18 Godard Caddis
Stonefly Hatch Afternoon #6-10 Hall's Stonefly
August Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
Caddis Fly Hatch Evening #14-18 Godard Caddis
Stonefly Hatch Afternoon #6-10 Hall's Stonefly
September Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
Caddis Fly Hatch Evening #14-18 Godard Caddis
October Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
Stonefly Hatch Afternoon #6-10 Hall's Stonefly
November Mayfly Hatch Morning #12-16 Adams
December Midge Hatch Afternoon #18-22 Zebra Midge

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Elwha River – McDonald Bridge area boasts a number of excellent spots for fly fishing. Here are some of the best:

  • River’s Mouth: The river’s mouth offers a wide stretch of calm, shallow water – perfect for fly fishing salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout.
  • Altair Campground: The campground offers easy river access and is an ideal spot to catch Chinook salmon, particularly during the fall spawning run.
  • Elwha Dam Site: Even though the dam now stands removed, the area is a hot spot for trout and steelhead throughout the fall and winter seasons.
  • McDonald Bridge: Fishing close to the bridge can yield catches of Chinook, Coho salmon, and steelhead. However, it’s advised to use strong leader material because of the rocks and diving birds.

Best Access Points

One of the best spots for fly fishing on the Elwha River is around the McDonald Bridge. This location combines the beauty of the wilderness with the thrill of fly fishing. Let’s check some key points:

  • Access from Highway 112:

    This can be reached by going west from Port Angeles on Highway 101, then turning right on Highway 112.

  • Riverside Trail:

    Just south of the bridge, you’ll find a small trail that leads right alongside the river. It’s a popular entry point for fly fishermen.

  • Fish species:

    This section of the Elwha River is renowned for its runs of Coho, Chinook, and Steelhead.

  • Season:

    Fly fishing here is best from mid-Summer to late Fall.

Remember to always follow local regulations and practice catch and release to keep the fishing tradition alive.

Local Fish

  • Chinook Salmon: Known as the King Salmon, they are the largest of all salmon species.
  • Coho Salmon: They are also known as Silver Salmon and are known for their acrobatics when hooked.
  • Sockeye Salmon: Also called Red salmon, they are known for their rich, red flesh and sharp fighting abilities.
  • Pink Salmon: Known as Humpies, they are most prevalent in odd-numbered years and offer great opportunities for beginner fly fishermen.
  • Chum Salmon: Also referred to as Dog salmon, they are aggressive and known for their powerful runs.
  • Sea-run Cutthroat Trout: These fish are local residents of Elwha River and are admired for their attractive colors and patterns.
  • Steelhead Trout: A migratory form of the rainbow trout, known for their trophy sizes and hard fights.
  • Bull Trout: These are large char species that are known for their predatory nature.

About The River

Did you know that the Elwha River – McDonald Bridge shares a deep-rooted history with its awe-inspiring surroundings? This majestic bridge is profoundly ingrained in the culture and history of the Pacific Northwest. It straddles the formidable Elwha River that flows majestically from the heart of the Olympic National Park.

The Elwha River – McDonald Bridge was originally built in the 1910s during the homestead era, playing a crucial role in connecting isolated communities. Here are some noteworthy elements in its history:

  • It witnessed the largest dam removal project in the U.S, reviving the river’s ecological vitality.
  • The bridge overlooks the lush Elwha valley, offering stunning panoramic views.
  • It was part of the historical Glines Canyon Dam, built in 1913 to generate electricity.

In essence, a jaunt across the Elwha River – McDonald Bridge is essentially a walk through the annals of the Pacific Northwest histo

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