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With support from: OrvisFat Tire, and Yakima

Some animal species are indicators of ecosystem health—the proverbial canary in a coal mine. In the case of Washington state’s North Cascade Mountains, two such species are Dolly Varden trout and Sasquatch, both of which require pristine, intact environments to survive. On a recent expedition, The Flyfish Journal editor Jason Rolfe joined conservationist and modern-day monkey wrencher Bridget Moran to search for both. Moran and Rolfe employed a variety of techniques and technologies—some science-based, some not so much—to learn about and/or establish the existence of these iconic Pacific Northwest species. Though the results were mixed, one thing is certain: if we want to save native species, we have to start by protecting the places they call home.

above Flying high above Dollysquatch country in Washington state’s North Cascades. Photo: Colby Mesick

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Over the hill and through the woods in search of Sasquatch and good campsites. Photo: Copi Vojta

Check out the tailgate on that one: a duo of wading boots dries out at camp after working all day. Photo: Copi Vojta

above Mossy canyon walls and crystal-clear water create an ethereal fishing experience Photo: Colby Mesick

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Jason Rolfe and Bridget Moran descend a steep hillside toward small stream paradise. Photo: Copi Vojta

Ice-cold beverages awaited us in the creek, we just hoped Sasquatch wouldn’t steal ‘em. Photo: Copi Vojta

above Bridget Moran drifts a fly stealthily through a deep, emerald-green pool hoping for a splashy rise from a hungry trout. Photo: Copi Vojta

above Copi Vojta searches a deep pool for bigger fish. Photos: Colby Mesick

above Bridget Moran cradles a Dolly Varden from a small North Cascades stream. Photo: Copi Vojta

above Jason Rolfe and Masha the dog set up for a beautiful bend in the river. With moss on the rocks so thick, naps could not be avoided. Photo: Copi Vojta

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After finding several of these slip-and-slide prints in the mud, we laughed collectively at the thought of a bear slipping and sliding its way along. Photo: Copi Vojta

A North Cascades gem. What they lack in size, they make up for in beauty and willingness to eat a well-presented dry fly. Photo: Copi Vojta

above During a streamside fishing break, Jason Rolfe scans the hillsides for signs of Sasquatch. Photo: Copi Vojta

above Bridget Moran collects water samples to test through North Sound Trout Unlimited’s eDNA study. Photo: Copi Vojta

above Another North Cascades gem. With the short growing season, these trout are almost always willing to eat dry flies, often more than once if they miss it on the first drift. Photo: Copi Vojta

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Dawn at camp. Rods sit on standby, ready for short casts in beautiful waters. Photo: Copi Vojta

You can always rest easy knowing the quiver is safely stored for travel and easily accessible for the next stop. Photo: Copi Vojta

above Loading up at dusk after an afternoon on small water. While fishing always feels great, it’s sometimes just as nice to get out of wet boots and into good company for the rest of the evening. Photo: Copi Vojta


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