Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Little Fishing in the North Cascades

Mount Shuksan, North Cascades National Park

Last Friday my dad, my grandparents, and I took a drive into the North Cascades to check out Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan from Artist's Ridge. On the way down the valley we stopped at Nooksack Falls, where the North Fork of the Nooksack River plunges 88 feet into a narrow slot. I found out later from the interns staffing the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association table at the ranger station that trout are present above the falls, although they didn't know much about the population since their organization is dedicated to restoring threatened salmon runs. That piece of information, coupled with the tenkara-perfect water I'd spotted above the falls was enough to tempt me back for a fishing trip.

Nooksack Falls

North Fork of the Nooksack River above the falls - fast, pocketed, and clear

Sunday morning my cousin Sam and I headed back up the Mount Baker Highway to see if we could find any fish in the Nooksack. This was Sam's first time out fishing in a long time, and his first experience fishing with flies (and tenkara too!), so I was pretty happy when we got into fish fairly quick. We found the little stream bread rainbows to be quite ready and willing to take a sakasa kebari once we got a little farther upstream from the crowds at the falls. As it worked out Sam got the first fish - incidentally his first on a fly, and his first with tenkara! 

We had a blast of an afternoon boulder hopping, fishing, and soaking in the scenery. The river was absolutely fantastic for tenkara, with an ideal mix of plunge pools, shallow bouldery runs, deep slots, and pocket water. As mountain streams go, this was probably one of the most beautiful that I've had the good fortune to fish. It was great to have the chance to teach Sam a little fishing, and having some plain old fun in the outdoors with my cousin.

Sam fishing the tail of a long pool


  1. Beautiful country.
    Nice photos.


  2. Beautiful scenery. Pics are great as always. So is your cousin hooked or what?

  3. Thanks guys, we had a great time!

    If the fishing didn't get my cousin hooked, lunch the following day would have! There's nothing quite like wild trout lightly fried with onions, garlic and thyme...

  4. Fantastic Pictures....Great Blog!