Blue Heron Lodge: Forks, WA

portrait of Larry Ford, owner of Blue Heron Lodge
“I love teaching folks how to appreciate the water; the ruggedness and beauty of the river are something special. I like to share with people a means by which they can experience these places. A drift boat and a fly rod are just my preferred means. Passing on some of my knowledge to my clients, sharing a boat and good conversation… that’s why I do it.”

Larry Ford has been guiding fishermen on the Olympic Peninsula since 2004, but his love for fishing the rivers of coastal Washington was born long before that. Raised into the family rock quarry business in Sonoma, California, Larry has spent a lot of time around loud trucks and equipment. It makes since then that when asked what his favorite aspects of fishing are, words like “quiet” and “tranquility” make his list.

the Calawah river
The stretch of the Calawah River, just behind the lodge, at low volume.

Larry moved to Washington in 1981 to manage a restaurant chain. Over the next several years he would make frequent trips to the rivers around Forks, WA whenever he could break away from the office. It was then that he began to develop his passion for these rivers and for teaching others how to fish. “Fishing taught me to take responsibility for my place in this ecosystem, to advocate for river access and for the fish themselves. We as fishermen need to take action and be counted when it comes to the health of these fisheries.”

the Blue Heron Lodge on the Calawah river
The lodge on the Calawah River.

Larry opened the Blue Heron Lodge & Guide Service on the Sol Duc river in 2004, and recently open a second lodge on the Calawah river in 2017. From fishing King salmon and Coho in September, to deep into the classic winter steelhead runs, Larry spends 200 days a year on the water. “I always try to find the right fit for the client to give them the trip that they want to have. Whether that is learning to spey cast, trying to catch a 50-pound Chinook on a fly, or just to have a quiet day on the water, I really enjoy guiding not just for fish, but for exepriences, on the river.”

photo of a large salmon caught with a client on the Sol Duc river