Methow Backcountry Fly Fishing

Backcountry Dreams

Sunrise over Buttemilk Ridge and Oval pk.

Sunrise over Buttemilk Ridge and Oval pk.

In my dreams I often find myself atop a high ridgeline watching the dimples of fish a thousand feet below or I am just pulling myself up over the last haul and seeing the jewel like color in the first glimpse of a piece of water I have pushed for miles to get to. Then there I realize it’s real and I’m really seeing this place that is truly amazing and remarkable and that I am so lucky just to be here and here is in the great Cascade Mountains that surround my home, the Methow Valley.

Oval Peak

 

I often say that if my heart is in the Methows rivers (the Twisp, Chewuch and Methow) then my soul is in the mountains that surround it. I love so much to be on the river yet I am constantly haunted by the wonders I have seen in the mountains. From waking up to the wind gently blowing on the surface of a high mountain tarn to the sound of the wind tearing at the ridgelines slowly breaking them piece by piece and you hear it as it happens, rocks clattering to the lake opposite your camp.

Westy on Sunrise during sunrise

Westy on Sunrise during sunrise

There is something to be said in getting the chance to wonder if you are the first one to have walked somewhere or the opportunity to push yourself back into what it is to be part of nature. Of course for that matter I really enjoy a challenge, such as off trail hikes for Golden trout or just a nice circe tour just to see what’s there. Don’t get me wrong though I also love to just take it easy sometimes, bring everything and the kitchen sink, that’s when I call my buddy Ryan at Backcountry Safaris he makes it a much more cushy experience when I’ve had enough roughing it.

Headwater basin West Fork Twisp River

Headwater basin West Fork Twisp River

Ryan at Backcountry Safaris offers simple pack and drops or you can jump on a horse yourself, I like the pack and drop because I like the walk but being met with all my stuff and then some as well as a light pack for the trail well it’s all fun then. Pack and drop or pack and ride gives you the option of bring nice beds, real food and boats which can be a big advantage in many high mountain lakes.

Rayn and hand loadin up

Ryan and hand loadin up

Mule train

Trolling in the sun West Oval lk.

Trolling in the sun West Oval lk.

 

As well as a place of amazing beauty as well the variety and beauty holds true in the fish of the Methow backcountry rainbow, brooke trout, golden trout and native westslope cutthroat are all within reach. With the Methow, Chewuch and Twisp drainages as well as the North Cascades Park, Sawtooth and Pasayten Wilderness it could take a lifetime to see all there is to see in the mountains of the Methow Valley.

Sawtooth Wilderness Westslope

Sawtooth Wilderness Westslope

Stilleto lk. cutt

Stilleto lk. cutt

 

Whether it be a fully outfitted base camp and fish or just a hike and guide Methow Fishing Adventures is fully capable and excited to pass on the experiences to be had in the Methow Backcountry. All levels of experience and ability are welcome as there is something for everyone out there! If you are interested in booking a backcountry fishing trip with Methow Fishing Adventures just go to our Guides page and send us an email or give us a call we’ll get you out into the hills and having some fun!

Grace Lake

Grace Lake

Grace Lake Bow

Grace Lake Bow

Fishing the Twisp River

Luke casting on the Twisp

The Twisp, how should I describe it? Twisp was the Methow Native’s word for the wasp and yes there are some on this rough and tumble little river but what I would think of first would be all the fish! Of course there are what seems like a million steelhead smolt in the river as well though there are more than a few nice cutthroat, resident redband and of course chunky cuttbows.

Luke with Twisp Cut

The Twisp meets the Methow in the town of Twisp and starts in the mountains to the west of town almost parallel with Lake Chelan, just separated by a short pass at the end of many of the Twisps tributary drainages. The lakes situated in the top of some of these drainages have produced Washington States record Westslope Cutthroat as well as the standing state record Golden Trout.

Nice Twisp Cut

But back to river, fishing the Twisp is one of my favorite ways to start the year as it seems to come down soonest from the spring run-off and the fishing is great. I like fishing the Twisp with either a dry-dropper or on the swing and as the water calms down I love to skate bugs. The water being short and fast with many grabby rocks can prove a bit tricky for nymphing which is why I prefer dry, drop or swing.

Fat Twisp Cut on Hopper

The Twisp is usually fishable starting in the first week or two of June depending on flows. All rivers in the state now open May 25th, whether they are fishable at such point would be to the angler’s judgment. Being a small stream like the Chewuch all fishing on the Twisp is walk and wade if you are interested in booking a trip with us on the Twisp, Chewuch or Methow Rivers just click on our Guides page and drop us a line we’ll get you on the water having fun!

Twisp Cuttbow

Fishing the Chewuch

Chewuch gorge

The Chewuch is a river that takes it’s time getting where it’s going and maybe you should too when fishing its tannin colored waters. From its origin hear the Canadian border to its confluence with the Methow River in Winthrop the Chewuch has a slower pace than its sister stream the Twisp. I’ve found that the Methow and Twisp rivers are much more similar than the Chewuch to the other two.

Resi Redband on the Chewuch

For one the color of the Chewuch is much more tannin colored and golden where as the Twisp and Methow are very clear as well the Chewuch for some reason seems to produce more resident redband trout than the Twisp and Methow.

Butter Cutthroat Chewuch

Now don’t get me wrong the Chewuch has what seems to be on some days a limitless supply of butter yellow cutthroat from green to red to gold. As well the Chewuch like the Methow can produce huge cuttbows, progeny of resident or anadromous redband and cutthroat parentage. The Chewuch for a small stream can surprise any fisherman with everything from bulltrout to spring Chinook, cutthroat and redband the Chewuch has all the same fish packed into its small banks as its bigger neighbor the Methow.

Giant Chewuch Cuttbow

There is one thing I look for on the Chewuch though and its dry fly fishing, from a size 14drake to a size 6 hoppers there are fish ready to rise to the occasion. Dead drift or skate, it’s usually one or the other if not both and the scenery is unparalleled .

last hole last cut.

Fishing on the Chewuch for me usually kicks off around mid July just after run-off. If you are interested in fishing the Chewuch just drop us a line via phone or email, info is on our Guides page. Happy Spring Ya’ll!