Welcome to the EWA fly fishing reports Seattle, WA 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.
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September 20, 2016
For those of us living on Washington’s west side, anglers begin to feel the tug in all directions as fall brings with it a noticeable upswing in all of our beloved fisheries. Do we pack and run to the Klick, or squeeze in a couple last days on the high mountain creeks and lakes that will soon be snowed in? Or do we finally get out of the boat on the Yak and explore the seemingly endless miles of river that spend the summer months flooded and warm?
For most of us at EWA, we can’t wait to get our salty selves back on the Puget Sound, double-hauling for our beloved Sea-run Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus Clarkii Clarkii) . As the summer sun lowers on the horizon and temperatures drop, these salty beauties begin to spend time higher in the water, and return back to some of the shallower, warmer bays and inlets, that are too warm and exposed in the summer months.
If you’re not thinking about fishing the Sound this fall, you ought to be, and we can help!
TIDES - Look for days where the early mornings coincide with large tide swings, to take advantage of low light and moving water.
FLIES - Start on the surface, then go under. One way to set yourself apart in the water is to be on the water - be the food-form on the surface, causing a ruckus and attracting attention.
APPROACH - Just like in the rivers, start short. Cast to the water right in front of you, then cast beyond it. I can’t tell you how often we catch fish on the very last strip!
- When retrieving bait-fish patterns, mix it up! Slow strips allow flies to get down, fast strips can evoke the chase response.
MORE QUESTIONS? EWA Guide Alex Collier will be hosting a free seminar at the shop to go over the ins and outs of chasing SRCs on September 27th at 7pM. Come on by!
Photo: Zach Rhoades
September 14, 2014 Fall is Here!
We feel as though we have officially hit the fall stride where all fisheries, that are open anyway, are fishing great!
Puget Sound has cutthroat looking around for anything that swims and if you are in the right place at the right time a rare coho might find its way to your fly as well. Still sun high in the sky and no wind can make things a bit challenging and watching tides remain important.
Yakima is at fall flows already and water temps are beginning to cool. Look for the fall hatches to really take shape over the next week or so when we get out of this high pressure system. With the Yak being down so is the Cle Elum so utilize this river for some walk and wade access as well. Fall or October Caddis, BWO’s or blue winged olives in both nymph and adult stages will be your choices.
Fall on the Cowlitz is always great as numbers of steelhead dwindle a bit so do the crowds but there are still fish to be had and for the novice swinging fly angler, plenty of cutthroat around to take those flies as they sweep across to help keep you awake at the wheel.
As always, let us know how we can assist in helping you be successful on the water and thanks for checking in.
photo Dave McCoy
September 6, 2017 All of WA!
This time of year it is very difficult to decide where to wet a line, there are simply too many places fishing at their peak to feel as though you have done justice in a single day of fishing. Sooooo, we are hereby granting everyone reading permission to fish a bunch over the next 2 months. Go do it, here are a few things to keep in mind.
After watching the news last night PLEASE note the following early closures (per the WDFW 2016/2017 reg book): Closed as of 8/31 - Nooksack, Skykomish and all tribs, Snoqualmie and all tribs below the falls, Stillaguamish, Green. The Skagit/Sauk will close on Sept. 15th. $150 if caught playing in the closed waters! Please note that the Forks of the Snoqualmie are still open, with the Middle and South Fork open year round for catch and release.
Tuna - We have been doing this for over 10 years now and are still amazed how few realize these fish are here, off the WA coast and readily take flies! Break out that 12wt and hit the coast.
Steelhead - No reason to wait for winter, the Klickitat has been receiving some infusions of steel lately and the good news is that these fish do indeed take a swung fly, against the rumors milling around…they DO! We have limited space left from now until late fall so call us! Cowlitz is also spitting out some fish and should continue to into the late fall as well and water flows are absolutely perfect right now. Might even be able to bring one to the surface if one were to be diligent enough to try! Sign up for small group (1-3) angler spey classes for $95 to tune up for the season.
Yakima - Flows are already down and should continue to drop for the next week or so before stabilizing. Water temps are also already down so caddis are sort of on the way out except for the evenings making room for the fall hatches of Baetis (aka blue winged olive and BWO) and October caddis. Lower flows also mean wade anglers are regaining access to much of the river both on the upper near Cle Elum and East as well as in the canyon so no excuses. Dropping a lightning bug under your dry fly of choice in the AM and don’t be afraid to rip streamers across the structure after fishing through it with your dry/dropper first. Also, don’t forget when the Yak drop so does the Cle Elum and there is some great walk and wade water here too!
Sound - Cooler water temps are here, despite not being able to be targeted due to closures for low expected returns, some coho are finding their way to anglers flies while pursuing cutthroat. If you ask any of the 12 of our staff, what fly they fish in the salt right now, you will find at least 6 if not 12 different answers. All of us regularly do well out here with our personal choice of flies which should be an indicator of them not being terribly selective. Like any and all fisheries we know in the state, we are more than happy to discuss and help you figure any of them out, just come in and ask.
Creeks/Snoqualmie Forks - While most of the west side rivers and streams are closed, the forks of the Snoqualmie remain open as do many of the east side small waters until the end of October in most cases. As water temps drop, fish will be slower to respond to surface flies so either begin your day a bit later, fish lower on the fishery or be willing to put a small dropper on. As usual, we encourage the use of small hooks on these waters so as not to terminally hook a small native fish when they aggressively take your fly.
Like all the fisheries we know well which is many, we are happy to help you be successful on the water so when questions arise please don’t hesitate to come in and ask, we live vicariously through you!
photo Dave McCoy
August 22nd, 2016 Small Water Washington
As summers end looms in the near distance and impending river closures take some of our favorite small waters away from us, these events out of our control have pushed us to expand our comfort zone. What this means is checking out more small blue lines on the map, seeing how viable they are and as usual, discovering there is SO MUCH good water to fly fish here in Washington. A literal lifetime of water to explore so don’t be bummed by the upcoming events use them as an excuse to go seek out new place, you never know, one of them may just be your next favorite stream.
This said, sun remains pretty high and intense during the day but as soon as it begins to retreat, trout are beside themselves for your fly. With water very low and warm, look to the slightly faster water for where they are holding and therefore a slightly larger fly will help entice them to the surface. Don’t be afraid to skitter your fly or even swing it across the tail out of small pools too, cutthroat in particular love it!
Puget Sound has been fishing well lately also. Salmon are a mandatory catch and release though like last year, it seems there are more around than what the expected return says there will be. Maybe us fly anglers are just that good or that lucky. And like last year, have been seeing many of the cutts and coho come to surface flies so no reason not to be out there pestering.
Steelhead have been very steelhead like this summer. Definitely fish around, particularly in those waters where hatchery fish are abundant. We will lose all of our Puget Sound rivers at the end of the month so better get after it. Otherwise look south and west for other two hand opportunities. For those looking to prep for the coming fall and winter steelhead season, we have a number of our 3 hour casting classes available as a refresher or also to find that new stick for the winter. We are now in possession of Sage X, GLoomis, Scott, Winston, Echo and Gary Anderson two handers looking for new homes.
Yakima is about to come into its best season. Despite what others say through the year, fall is absolutely its most predictable, stable and enjoyable time period. Look for water flows and hatches to come off around mid to late September. Walk and wade anglers will find the river comes back into shape and those micro seams and slow tail outs show their faces again.
Winter events are coming up too here at the store so check out tour upcoming events page for what is up around EWA.
Photo Dave McCoy
August, 19 Puget Sound
We’ve had a few days on the Sound this past week, and have managed to find some cutthroat roaming around. There’s also a few salmon on the prowl, but the salmon closures are greatly reducing the areas where you can fish for them. Be sure to do your due diligence in checking what zones are open and which are closed. Here are a few links for you to check the zone you are thinking about heading to, but definitely look for any emergency closures and updates. This closure does only affect salmon fishing however–fishing for sea run cutthroat remains open throughout the Sound and should only be getting better and better as we move towards September.
Photo: Alex Collier
August 7, 2016 Creeks Are It!
Been a dramatically different summer compared to last year and mostly in good ways. That said we are finally seeing the small water begin to perform like we would expect coming into August. Trout are looking up at just about any fly you choose to present to them. Water is gin clear so on high sunny days, look for shadows and faster water they will be using for cover. These little guys need to be kept in the water as much as possible when landing them too so be conscious of that. Forks of the Snoqualmie are a easy close hit from Seattle as are other smaller waters off all the major highways throughout Washington. Highway 2, 20 and 12 as well as I-90 are literally littered with small waters awaiting anglers.
Puget Sound - Have been seeing some nice salmon coming off the beaches this past week while out pursuing the cutthroat. Plenty of large bait around and in some places the herring have been thick enough to walk across the water on with predatory fish taking full advantage, think middle Sound!
Yakima - Hopper season is here but as usual, dealing with high flows, wind and sporadic takes, one must be patient and work for your fish. Those dedicated tot he craft will be rewarded. Streamers and evening caddis are also still lighting up the surface so there are fish to be had.
Steelhead - Cowlitz continues to jump up and down on the flow chart and fish are still coming in and should though the fall. Numbers on down here will begin to diminish but plenty will still be in the system to make it worth while.
Carp/Bass - We have been exploring some new watersheds in the area and are happy to be offering some quick hit fishing trips for those looking to expand horizons, don’t have time for a jaunt in the mountains or just want to hunt big fish close to home. Give us a call to discuss and ask for Dave, Reid, Caldwell or Sam.
Photo Dave McCoy
August 2, 2016 Cascade Mountain Creeks, WA
Well, the consensus among our guide staff is that the peak of creek season is finally here. Usually we see this peak in Mid-July, but it was a little late coming this year with all of our cool summer weather. The great news is that the cooler temps thus far this summer has allowed for great conditions on our creeks coming into August. In fact, these are the best August conditions we have seen on some of our creeks for a couple of years now. For the most part, flows are good, water temps are healthy for the fish, and trout have been actively pursuing our dry flies. That being said, the typical late season common sense disclaimer still persists: if the water feels warm to the touch, just don’t fish it…we want to see our trout continue to thrive. This is most relevant on the east side of the state, west side creeks are still cold…which we feel very thankful for.
How about fly selection on the creeks? Perhaps the most frequent question we get asked this time of year around the shop is “I am heading out to xyz area this week, what flies would you suggest?”. Luckily the answer to this is fairly straight forward. Trout in our mountain creeks (this also includes west side rivers such as the Middle/North/South Fork of the Snoqualmie, the mainstem Snoqualmie, etc) are opportunistic feeders. The best part is that these trout almost always prefer dry flies! Rather than focusing too much on “matching the hatch”, the most productive dry flies on these creeks are typically attractor patterns in fairly big sizes (sz. 10-14). After quickly polling our guide staff, here are our agreed upon favorite flies for the Cascade Mountain Creeks:
Orange Stimulator size 10-14
Yellow Stimulator size 10-14
Orange Rubberleg Stimulator size 12-14
Yellow Rubberleg Stimulator size 12-14
Elk Hair Caddis size 12-14
Red Humpy size 12-14
Yellow Humpy size 12-14
Royal Wulff size 10-14
Yeager’s 409 Yellow 14-16
Yeager’s 409 Olive 14-16
Ants, Beetles, Bumble Bees - size 12-14
There you have it, the “definitive” list. Or, to make it even easier, we offer a mountain creeks assortment complete with an EWA logo fly box.
report and photo Reid Curry
July 27, 2016 Puget Sound, WA
OK, so in all honesty, as much as we would love to say we crush fish every trip, we don’t. I know, shocking almost as if we should call this whole thing fishing rather than…you know where I am coming from.
Puget Sound - Conditions to start the day lately have been nothing shy of perfect. Big tides, cloudy with a nice breeze but bait in some places has been sparse, down south anyway. By now most of the bait such as sand lance and herring should be making their way north of Seattle but with salmon season mostly closed one must be careful where they are fishing. That said, fish a spectrum of flies from small euphasids to larger baitfish and even some polychaet worms. In other words be prepared, break out some faster sinking lines even if necessary.
Yakima - Water is high and warm, caddis in the evenings and starting to see some hoppers pop. Walk and wade is difficult with flows fluctuating between 3800-4500 cfs so pay attention.
Mountain Creeks - As the water has dropped we have been able to get on some of our more favorite streams and are amazed at how much change occurred over the winter and spring…a lot! This is one of our favorite reasons for fishing these small waters, new landscapes create new learning experiences each year which really helps keep it anything but boring or predictable. Mid sized stimi’s and caddis through likely water and hold your breath. Early morning droppers and moving a streamer through deeper water might entice some of the larger residents out of bed so play around and have fun.
Snoqualmie Forks - These have been on fire lately. Dry flies all day long, water is super low so wading is easy and for those with young kids, this is a great areas to begin immersing them in the sport. Questions on exactly where, don’t hesitate to call or email us, we don’t own the water, obviously, so we are happy to point you in the right direction.
Steelhead - Cowlitz has fish in it but flows have been all over the board the past few days which shifts fish around quite a bit and also can lower water temp also shocking fish a bit. Look for the flows to stabilize and then get after it as there is incredible water to swing through and the fish are in. This should be an easy coast into fall when the sea run cutthroat are in so plan accordingly.
photo Dave McCoy
July 22, 2017 Pasayten Wilderness, Washington
What can we say, this is a great time of year to be in the greater Seattle and western Washington area for fly fishing. Maybe not the October we love so much but it is hard to beat late July, here is some of the reasons why:
Creeks and Back Country - These are mostly in fabulous shape at the moment from Highway 20 to Highway 12 and everything in between. Water is down, clear but still cold and not at August low flows so fish are happy, aggressive and looking up for most of the day. Caddis, Yellow Sally’s, Stimi’s and other dry flies of the season are all good choices. In faster water maybe go a bit bigger with 10-12′s in the lower and skinnier water stay smaller in the 14-16′s.
Yakima - Yak is the Yak this time of year. Flows are high and fast so if you are a sharp shooter with the dry, super early AM and later in the evenings are great but be prepared to hitting small pockets fast as you fly by. Nymph if you feel like it or throw streams, we would opt for the latter of those two but that is just us!
Puget Sound - Some rumors are true, a few migratory coho have been accidentally hooked in places around the Sound while in pursuit of SRC’s. We have been fortunate to have cloudy mornings the past month which has extended that morning prime time and wind has helped that too. South the cutts have been good, tons of bait in various regions of the Sound including huge schools of Perch 1-3 inches in length, herring and sand lance. We recommend starting with maybe a slightly larger baitfish pattern as you can always trim that down to size if necessary. Also, carry a red and black Sharpie with you, use these to either create par markings, darken backs of flies or make a fly look bloody either around the eye or the gills…
Steelhead - COWLITZ!!! Fish are in here thick and water is way down. If you swing flies as we do and you haven’t been on this river before, OMG, we need to get you there. Yes, jet boats galore but mostly in their normal water. Once way from those locations the river can be very peaceful and it has some of the most elegant swing water in the state. We would love to get you down here so be in touch. Klick has some fish in it as well and for those heading west, might as well tote a two hander with you for out there as well.
Picture above was taken on our exploratory horse pack trip into the Pasayten Wilderness. We are hosting 4 day/3 night base camp trips over the next few months, let us know if interested.
photo Zach Rhoades
July 18th, 2016 Overall Report
Despite the fact that Western Washington still has yet to experience our regular “boom” of consistently excellent July weather, we are still having great luck with our trout fishing.
The persistence of gloomy, dark spring-like days still has us waiting for the mountain creeks to be in optimal shape, but they have been productive nonetheless. Although fish are not aggressively feeding on the surface, they will most certainly opportunistically rise to food, so don;t be afraid to use those top water flies. Continue to target warmer parts of the day, as the water temps are still chilly. Fishing has been better in the afternoons and evenings.
The state has increased flows on the Yakima up to standard summer levels, making fishing on this river super tough. With the flows at over 4000 cfs, the water is muddy, and there are very few apparent seams and little attractive water. Consider fishing elsewhere until the flows are reduced to fall levels.
Summer Steelhead fishing is getting into the height of its season and we have had great luck recently on the Cowlitz, which is currently in very optimal condition. The fishing has been spottier on the Skykomish, but we have still been catching Steelhead periodically. Don’t hesitate to get out there and target these native legends.
Saltwater fishing for Sea Run Cutthroats has continued to be productive around Puget Sound. There appear to be larger numbers of these fish towards the southern end of the Sound, but there are still impressive numbers near the Seattle/Tacoma area. Any and all flies of the mino variety have been working, both on the top and sub-surface. Just make sure you know how the tides will affect the beaches you plan on fishing, as this seems to make a large difference in productivity. If you want any info, feel free to stop in the shop or give us a call!
Photo: Sam Lincoln