Trip Report: Willow Creek (July 21, 2017)

8pm on upper Willow Creek. Photo: Ben Rowell

Some were saying last weekend could be the best fishing of the entire season. Salmon are in filling rivers all over the state, trout are still chasing flies while they wait for kings to drop eggs, and lake fishing is excellent. To top it off, the weather forecast called for 75 degrees and sunshine. 

simms sock
Simms Guard Socks

Before leaving the house on Friday night, I decided my waders were staying home and I’d wear my wading boots and a set of Simms Guard Socks. This combination doesn’t keep feet dry but it does keep them warm. The socks also prevent pebbles from sneaking into wading boots. This could be the only weekend of the season where conditions allow for wet wading so I intended to take full advantage of it.


Joining me was Kory, an experienced Valley fly fisher. We headed upstream from a popular access point on Willow Creek. The first thing we noticed was that there were no king salmon in this spot. The reason we chose to fish here was because kings usually stack up this shallow run in mid-July and dead drifting a bead behind the kings leads to exciting hookups from aggressive rainbow trout.

A creekside treasure: Worldstar am/fm cassette/8 track clock radio. Photo: Ben Rowell

We spotted less than twenty kings in a half mile section of river that normally holds hundreds this time of year. Drifting a bead behind these kings still worked, but we had far fewer hookups than we anticipated. Nymphs and streamers were still working, but overall it was a pretty slow evening. On the bright side, the weather was fantastic and I got a lot of practice tying leaders, as the low water made it difficult to avoid the branches, root wads, and other debris choking upper sections of the creek.






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