If you have never ventured to the wild landscape of Oregon’s Southern coast you are missing a fisher’s version of valhalla! A mile or so walk in early predawn with the waves of the Pacific breaking off your shoulder. Soft wet sand cushioning every step and anticipation building as the mouth of the Elk River lies just ahead.
For such a small river the Elk posses prodigious fly angling opportunity each fall as chinook salmon arrive for their run inland. This is not a secret destination and it is popular for both gear and fly fishers. This is normally a very well mannered dance where cooperation by everyone is required to land one of these beautiful specimens fresh from the ocean. By fresh we mean in the last high tide as they scramble over outlet sand burms degraded by the drag of the outgoing tide. Milling about in the semi estuary just a stone throw from oceans hand makes for a setting truly unique.
For the fly fisher of course this means dealing with the elements, even in a somewhat peaceful fall season. Wind is a constant, from manageable to an absolutely shut you down howl…just part of the ambiance of testing your skills, luck and karma for a chance to hook into one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic species. Clousers, in normal and bait fish tones all will work but other options can prove productive. Our local Elk River expert Jeff Lucas shares with us one of his successful patterns for the Fall experience on the Elk in a tying tutorial you can find under Instruction/tying on the header of this site. Jeff’s Elk River Shrimp is a proven productive pattern, so have a few if you venture west to the oceans touch with land.
Bright is an understatement for Elk River Fall Chinook