Welcome to the Emerald Water Anglers Seattle fly fishing reports page for all your local, western Washington and PNW region fly fishing information. We cover more water as an outfitter and guide service than anyone in Washington and as a retail store we want to be your portal into the sport with honest and current fishing reports so your upcoming time on the water with or without us can be planned as well as possible for maximum enjoyment.
Thank you for visiting and if we can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to ask. To receive special reports and news on upcoming events, new destinations and products please sign up for our newsletter here or call the store with questions, even while on the water — 206-708-7250.
Mid March Fishing Around Seattle
Here we are hitting our stride into the spring season and while it is raining pretty hard outside, many of our local fisheries are in great shape. Here is a brief look and some suggestions to consider for the next month or so.
Steelhead - Nobody is going to deny it has been a wet and cold year in the area. What the rain seems to bring to everyone is a doom and gloom regarding being on the water in search of steelhead which is unfortunate.
Yes, rain brings high water but high water does not always mean not worth fishing, in fact it can mean just the opposite. Knowing which rivers and which runs on those rivers are going to allow for standing, casting and swinging flies is part of each anglers quiver of knowledge that helps them be successful.
High water often times bring the steelhead closer to the bank where longer casts are unnecessary. Some rivers clear faster or don’t color at all. Yes, high water will mean things such as back cast space, wading depth and favorite runs are not ideal, having to work a bit harder for your time out there will always make the success fishing feel that much better. Get to know which these and don’t be afraid to take notes when in the store talking with us, we are here to help. That said, we have a ton of April dates still open if you want to get out with us and learn how, where, when, why and with what from us.
Puget Sound - With all this rain, the Sound remains steadfast in its ability to stay clear and provide a terrific fly fishing experience when all else is shot. In addition, it has been fishing extraordinarily well of late so really no excuse for not wetting a line this weekend. Lincoln Park, Saltwater State Park, Meadowdale Park and Bridge View Park have all been turning out consistent fish to anglers. Blackmouth, resident Coho and cutthroat have all been greeting anglers willing to grab their 5,6 or 7wt rods with floating lines and couple streamers.
Yes, it isn’t the Yakima but with the Yakima flowing at about 5-6K cfs, this would be a great time to get to know your local saltwater fishery. It is close and easy and more than likely the equipment you have will work no problem, just provide a nice freshwater rinse after use. Any questions let us know.
Yakima - A few Skwala stones have been showing themselves on the Yakima. This means trout are on point looking to gobble up those calories after having been deprived all winter of big juicy bugs. At this time the Yak is pretty high but the Cle Elum is down and clear and the cutthroat in there are just as willing to play the game. Pat’s Stones, LIghtning Bugs, Copper John’s, PT’s and if you are just a little bit crazy throw some Skwala dries, just in case!
Photo Reid Curry
February 23, 2017. Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound…Again!
For the first time in some time it does appear the entire WA coast will be in shape this coming weekend for those steelheaders looking to find one of these. Fishing during the past week has been quite good with steelhead coming to the swung fly every day on a number of rivers. We just had a lat minute cancellation for Friday through Sunday so we have a rare weekend opening if anyone was hoping to get on the water with us on short notice.
Puget Sound - What we wait for every new year has already begun, the Chum fry migration. Small little Chum salmon have officially started to enter the Sound which means every sea run cutthroat will be acting as if they are at an all you can eat buffet for the next couple months. If you have ever even once thought of getting yourself out on our local saltwater to just try it out, now would be the time to do so. Joining the fiesta have also been some very good sized resident Blackmouth and Coho salmon. Small tan and gray clousers, Chum Baby and for those with an affinity for surface flies the Sound Searcher have been working very well. Hood Canal to Lincoln Park and beaches every where in between are seeing fish so no excuses right now!
Yakima River - Another time of great interest to fly anglers in the region is the presence of winter stones Skwala;s. They are climbing as we speak out of the water and onto the surrounding rocks, grass and logs, bringing trout to the banks in search of them. As usual subsurface will be most effective but the occasional opportunistic trout may pay your dry fly some attention if you persist. Blue winged olives continue to impress during the morning and evening too.
All in all, good time to be fishing around Seattle right now so don’t be bashful. Ask us where, when, how and why so we can help you find success this weekend.
Photo Tom Mahan
February 6th, 2017 Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula
This Resident Coho was landed on the top water Cutty Buddy fly. The South Sound is fishing well, if you are willing to battle against the elements and find some moving water. We have had some extremely high tides lately which can limit back cast area. Although most anglers try to cast as far out as they can, during these high tides, fish are more willing to eat close to shore. Therefore, casting parallel to the beach or just slightly off can be a great way to fish when limited backcast room presents itself. Also, knowing the individual beach’s structure can help you navigate shallow water which allow you access farther away from the bank. If you are unsure of the structure of a given beach find a low tide and take some notes!
Although the SRC, are fewer and farther between, we are seeing remarkable numbers of resident Coho willing to hit top water flies. These fish have been in small schools and remaining pretty localized so if you see a rise, jump or slash it would behoove you to get your fly over there.
Come check out our Cutty Buddy, Sound Searcher and the Pan Fish Spider for some great top water flies this time of year.
It is important to start filling your boxes with chum fry patterns like Bob Triggs Chum Baby among others. These flies will be very important further into spring when the salmon smelt begin to enter the saltwater. It is important to have a variety of sizes because the fish can be selectively eating and it pays off to “match the hatch.”
If you are interested in learning a new fly, we are offering private fly tying classes as well as Tuesday Tying nights. Please call the shop with any inquiries.
The Washington Unicorn… Those who are putting in the time swinging fly’s have found success. Numbers are starting to increase and more encounters are happening on a daily basis.
With the push of rain we saw on the 4th, rivers are coming back into shape and should bring with them a fresh push of fish. Looking ahead, we are expecting another push of rain later in the week so keep an eye on the gauges for the most up to date information when choosing where to fish.
Call the Shop today to book a day with one of our Guides on some of the famed rivers of the Peninsula.
January 21st, 2017
Recent heavy rains throughout the Olympic Peninsula have increased flow levels on all of our targeted OP rivers. With the exception of only a few, hard to reach stretches, the rivers will remain blown out for the weekend. Looking forward, moderate rainfalls and generally acceptable OP winter weather bode well for the week to come. As the rivers come back down and get in shape, get out there and swing for steelhead. We have experienced success on all of the keystone rivers within recent weeks and the numbers should only continue to rise into February and March. Be cognizant of each watershed’s weather patterns as you plan a trip out to the area. Precipitation and run-off will dictate which rivers you should hit. With that said, be ready for a change of plans. Conditions can change quickly and you need to be ready to adjust. Winter flies are working! Call the shop for up to date information on all of our OP rivers and advice on how to target these legendary fish.
January 8th, 2017
It’s that time of year ladies and gents. Get out to the Olympic Peninsula and start swinging for steel. Wintry weather and variable rain falls have made the various OP rivers fluctuate in flows and productivity, so be mindful of which river you choose to target in order to have the best shot at linking up. If traveling from the greater Seattle area, or traveling into town to target this fishery as a destination, this becomes even more important as foresight and planning can make or break a trip to the OP. The fish have been responding well to winter flies, so don’t be afraid to whip out the Jan-April fly box. Be cognizant of where your fly is moving in the water column, and change tips accordingly. As you work down stream, your “targeted” depth is bound to change frequently, so don’t hesitate to change your tips and terminal tackle several times within a section. Emerald Water Anglers has up to date discharge figures and river reports, so please use us as resource to give yourself the best shot to hook up to one of these legendary fish. 206.708.7250
January 2nd, 2017 Puget Sound, WA
HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’ll begin this report with a double dose of SRC and resident Coho from the south Sound. It has been written in places in the past that fishing this time of year in the salt isn’t worth it. Well we are here to bunk that statement. It can be downright phenomenal. While these were both taken on the Sound Searcher, many other fish were caught on a variety of patterns from small shrimp patterns to larger baitfish on a very fast strip. So, go get yourself your first bent rod of the New Year…if you haven’t already!
Steelhead - Olympic Peninsula has been turning out some early winter steelhead already on the Sol Duc, Bogi and Hoh. With air temps as low as they have been, water conditions have been pretty good, its the frozen guides slowing things down a bit. Water is clear, so some of us fish sparser patterns while others fish the same old large winter flies as in high water conditions. Being cold, slow your swing down across the likely water and maybe lighten your tip if ticking the bottom too much.
Yakima - Been cold, hatches have been few and far between but though lethargic the trout remain hungry. Nymphing through a variety of water with stones followed by Lightning Bugs, Copper Johns and Pheasant Tails among others will bring at least something to hand…
As always, be safe, have fun and call, text, email or stop in with any questions. We are here to assist in your success on the water!
December 20th, 2016
Live in Western Washington and looking to do something different with your winter fishing? Try heading up to the Yakima to fish for some trout. Sea Run Cutthroats in the Sound are still biting, but it’s tapering off a bit and we’re stil anxiously waiting for winter Steelhead to show up. So in the mean time, why not change up the routine? The flows on the Yakima are ideal for wade fishing right now and fish are being caught. Snow drifts can make access tough, so find an entry point that will afford you the most bang for your buck where you can move to different holes with relative ease. We suggest areas with good road access in both the canyon and up towards Cle Elum. What should you throw? You guessed it…Big Ole Nasty Bugs. We highly suggest streamer fishing at this time of the year on those stretches of the river. Predatory fish are looking for big easy meals to stay full during the cold months, so let’s give them what they want! Nothing like stripping streamers during the holidays. Stop by the shop for specific fly selections or info on access. Happy Holidays!
December 16th, 2016
The fishery is transition as we delve into the winter, and so too should your tactics for finding Sea-run Cutthroats. As most of the chums have now made their way through the ends of their life cycles, the show is almost over for flesh flies. The remains of these fish have all but been eaten and absorbed by the ecosystem, so don’t target this tactic as much as you would have a month ago. This fact should alter your focus from the river and stream deltas back to open water structure. Moreover, we are at the time of year when bait fish numbers are not as significantly high as they were in the belly of autumn. With that said, mix it up! Try throwing quid patterns, and other predatory attracters. Just because the bait are moving on doesn’t mean that the Greenbacks are. The shifting of this fishery makes beach and tide selection paramount, as you will want to find the best structure you can to target these trout. Please feel free to stop in the shop with any questions or help with location and fly selection. Don’t have the time? Give us a ring. 206-708-7250
Happy Holidays and Happy Hunting
December 4th, 2016
It’s officially holiday season, but there are still plenty of beautiful and productive days to be had on The Sound before we are elbow deep in winter Steelhead season. No matter what the weather looks like or what condition the water is in, there will always be several places around Puget Sound to come tight to some SRCs.
Want help with fly selection? The shop has an impressive stock of both top-water and sub-surface salt water streamers that you won’t be disappointed with. Like to tie your own? No problem! We’ve got a great selection of tying materials specifically for Greenback flies. Per usual, different conditions call for different patterns, and we can help you unlock some of those secrets. If you can’t make it in to the shop, feel free to give us a call and we’ll help you in any way that we can!
December 1st, 2016
It’s been going steady, and there’s no sign of it stopping. SRCs are feeling the generous holiday spirit with everyone’s flies right now. Need we say it again?…… It is an unbelievable time to get out onto The Sound right now. Cutthroats are being caught in every corner of our fishery, and will readily eat flies on both the surface and underneath.
If the saltwater is proving to be intimidating, DO NOT panic. EWA has some tips and tools to help you come tight to some December trout. We are here for YOU, as a resource to help you find and catch fish, so feel free to stop in or call with any questions or concerns that you may have. We have an expert staff of professional guides who know this fishery as well as anyone, and they are eager to share their knowledge with you. As a quick overview, a few basic tips that might help you hook up to these Greenbacks are:
-Be cognizant of tides. Learn your beaches and choose the correct beach for the current tide level.
-Keep moving. Don’t catch yourself fishing in one part of a beach for too long, or one part The Sound for any longer. If you aren’t finding productivity, giddy up. Fishing is an adventure, and it’s meant to keep you on the move!
Try different tactics. If one fly isn’t working……..try another one. If they refuse flies on the top-water, try sub-surface.
-Read the big water like you would the little. The more you can treat the salt like it’s a moving water system (such as a river), the more success you will have. Target “seams” for your casts. These include, but are not limited to, wind, current, and tidal lines, break, back flows, river/stream deltas and mouths and shadow lines.
Get out there and hook em!