Photo by Tim Pask

Dylan Tomine Part 2. Steelhead Tactics and Conservation on the Olympic Peninsula

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In Episode 177 we WadeOutThere for Part Two of our conversation with Dylan Tomine, from Washington State.  Dylan was one of those children who always loved fish and fishing.  He developed a love of steelhead at an early age and has spent most of his life fly fishing. 

He is a passionate angler, Patagonia ambassador, conservationist, and writer.  His books include Headwaters: The Adventures, Obsession and Evolution of a Fly Fisherman, and Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family’s Year on the Water, in the Woods and at the Table.  Dylan was a producer of the film Artifishal and played an important role in the films Damnation, and Chrome.

We discuss steelhead tactics on the Olympic Peninsula, including reading water, presentation, and fighting fish.  We also talk about steelhead conservation and the challenges facing these fish. 

The ideal time is when it first starts to drop and clear. So if you have rain, and the river comes up and turns brown, as it starts to drop, the first day that it’s like a green, with two or three feet of visibility is usually my favorite time to fish… Still pretty high, but it’s dropping and lowering.

Dylan Tomine


We never fished for steelhead. I had no idea where or how to find them, and I don’t think my father did either. Back then the idea of fishing for steelhead was like a secret book hidden away in a dark room that no one could help me enter.

Steelhead have always been a mysterious fish in my mind. The rivers that I grew up around in Washington are so different from what I think of when I think of fly fishing. I guess it’s because my knowledge of fishing grew from trout streams in Montana. The waters of my home state never quite seemed the same, but I knew of steelhead and salmon, and I knew these fish were a part of the wild rivers that cut through the western slope of the Cascades and the Peninsula, where my parents took my brother and I camping.

Now, the more I talk to steelhead fishermen like Dylan, the more I realize how many nuanced and detailed chapters would fill that hidden book. The migratory nature of these fish makes everything different. They don’t live in a river like trout, although these waters are still their homes. Their birthplace makes it their home. And we have to catch them as they move along on that return journey. Always moving. Moving on to continue the cycle.

Talking with Dylan made me want to return to my home and the mysterious waters of my birthplace. Wade the green water and swing a fly line. It made me want to learn more about how to fish for steelhead and how to keep these fish coming back. Dylan taught me about both during our conversation. I’m grateful for the knowledge he shared and the efforts he is making to save steelhead.

Thanks for listening.

VR- Jason

Learn More

Find Dylan’s Book, Headwaters, here…

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