The former Lake Mills is where the Elwha River now flows through the Glines Canyon. An overlook is constructed on a portion of the dam deemed not necessary to remove. J.Goerg Photo
FREE & WILD
As the Elwha River Runs Free and Wild, Will the Fish?
Compiled by editorial staff with comments by contributor Earl Sande and American Rivers.
By Jim Goerg
This summer I returned to my old stomping grounds on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Port Angeles, along the edges of the Olympic National Park.
I grew up there. Many were the Sunday afternoon family picnics with Grandma and Mike The Dog in tow, roasting wieners in a river-rock fire pit on the shores of the lower Elwha River. We kids would wade in the river, build little pools from rocks to trap anything we could, skip rocks and use periwinkles for bait.
As we got older Brother Dick and I would fish on upstream and then in some of the tributaries. Little River feed into the Elwha above the Highway 101 bridge and Indian Creek flowed out of Lake Sutherland and into Lake Aldwell, being held there by the lower Elwha dam. All were good for trout catches offering generous limits and creels stuffed with wet moss keeping the fish fresh for dinner.
Three times during the first week of our high school summer breaks my buddy Dan Lawson and I would hike the many miles in from Whiskey Bend Road to the Humes Ranch homestead on the upper Elwha, sleep in an old log lean-to with cedar bunks and eat trout fried in bacon fat for every meal.
For many of us on this part of the Peninsula, the Elwha was our closest connection to the national park for outdoor entertainment close to home. Hunting below the park’s boundary, fishing, camping, picnicking, and a road that led to the now-gone Olympic Hot Springs lodge and swimming pools. It was our backyard playground during the summer and on weekends.
“Go to our FISH FOR FUN page for the rest of this story.