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.
December 9, 2017 A Shift in Focus
Weather has been fabulous for flinging flies around these parts for all sorts of things including some summer steelhead though we are anxiously awaiting their winter cousins to arrive here soon. We are booking up fast for the winter season so if looking to swing flies on the OP or even the Skagit while it is open, please be in touch soon to grab up some of the available dates we have remaining.
Puget Sound continues to kick butt. What many consider to be a local give away spot like Lincoln Park has actually been fishing quite well lately as have all the beach heading south and west of there. Foxy Minnow has been a go to for much of our staff, Sound Searcher always a good choice and don’t be bashful about throwing some Clouser type flies as well.
Late afternoon on these past few days has seen some great midge and Blue Winged Olive hatches coming off on the Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers. Snow hasn’t packed them in just yet either so walk and wading nearly all sections is completely available still so get on them while you can. Stripping some streamers through or across some of the log jams has also been productive for some large trout. Take your time and work the water, step back and watch and/or rest it a bit as well if need be, especially in the afternoon.
Rocky Ford heats up this time of year too so if a longer drive doesn’t scare you and some sight casting small flies sounds appealing then go for it. We have some great Zebra midge and emerger patterns for you.
Happy Holidays everyone, hope we see you soon.
December 2, 2017 It’s Been That Good!
We know, it’s time to hang up the gear and break out the vise and feathers for the year…wait a minute, no it’s not! Fishing on the Sound has been crazy good lately, good enough to find us doubling up with clients on fish multiple times.
Foxy Minnow, Sound Searcher, Euphasid (small shrimp) and even some larger shrimp patterns have been working, depending on who you are talking to. So if you have waders and boots, a 5-6wt fly rod with floating line and a rain jacket, you are completely prepared for the Sound right now, come in and grab a few flies and get out there.
December 14th we will have our customer appreciation evening at the store, in store specials that evening with some things to sip on and all the advice you could possibly want. Have a great Holiday Season everyone.
November 20, 2017 Fresh Salt
When we started this business just about 20 years ago, one of the biggest draws to opening it here in Seattle was the sheer diversity in fly fishing opportunities. This time of year exemplifies why that decision was made as 2 of Washington’s iconic fisheries collectively provide such wonderful angling so close to Seattle for so much of the year.
Currently the Sound is littered with Coastal cutthroat willing to trounce just about anything you put in front of them. Foxy Minnow and Sound Searcher have been our staff picks for the past couple weeks. This isn’t a normal trout fishery however with regards to tackle. Only fish your 9-10ft 4x and 5x if you are hoping to make it more challenging on yourself. With the wind, size of flies and distance of cast, 7 ½ to 8ft leaders to 1x or 2x will turn over better and will keep more flies in your possession, just saying.
The Yakima and Cle Elum on the other hand are at that stage of the year when a 2 hour window opens up and the trout are all over your small fly patterns that otherwise don’t get much attention. 18-22 midge and Baetis nymphs, emerger’s and dries are the ticket when you start seeing little dimples on the surface of your favorite run. 5x to even 7x isn’t a bad call as they can be a bit discerning on your presentation. With water as low as it is, pick a run or two and just cover it well, no need to travel miles during that time frame. End it with a beverage of choice, for us a little Bailey’s and coffee warm us right back up after that sun drops.
Happy late fall everyone, PLEASE don’t hesitate to ask us questions if you have them, we are here to aid in your success.
Photo Caldwell Rohrbach
November 15, 2017 Fall Focus
Let’s keep this short and to the point. Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers are fast and furious right now, fishing wise. Small bug time of year is upon it so break out the Zebra Midge and BWO box. Water flows are down too so lots of wade access right now and the snow has not quite yet descended.
Puget Sound is also fishing very well and because it is on this side of the pass, no need to be taking the snowy pass to get your fly fishing fix if you don’t want to. Sound Searcher and Foxy Minnow are both being well received. This is the time of year when knowing your beaches pays off. Which ones at high tide and bad wind aren’t available and which ones at low tide aren’t worth your time. Come in and let us help you build that picture. We will be guiding the Sound all winter long and this is a fabulous way to learn it through our very experienced staff’s eyes.
Photo Caldwell Rohrbach - Alpine lakes at the turn of the season!
November 7, 2017 Winter Already Here???
Wow, we had quite the weather around western WA this past week with snow falling and temps in the high 20′s and wind blowing…completely uncharacteristic of this area for this time of year. Fortunately things are warming a bit so don’t hang up the fly fishing equipment just yet, there is great fishing to still be had so let’s get to it!
First and foremost Puget Sound is fishing so well right now. I know most think of this fishery when it is nice and sunny out but actually this is our favorite time to fish here. Few anglers and fish that don’t have any idea how miserable you are standing there trying to catch them. Surface flies and baitfish patterns with a few polychaete thrown in work great right now.
We use mostly floating lines and seem to do just fine so just our opinion but if that is all you have, no reason unless you want to to go buy a new line. Don’t get us wrong, we have new ones waiting for you like the Airflo Beach line (which is coming in full intermediate in January) and Rio Outbound Short if you are itching for one, happy to set you up!
Fish 1x-3x tippet at about a 7 ½ to 8ft leader. Turns over flies better in the wind, leaves fewer flies on the beach behind you and even fewer in the fish when you get too excited on the hook set.
Yakima and Cle Elum are in full BWO mode right now and we have been loving the micro spey rods from everyone lately, swinging emergers across and taking both the rainbows and cutts on the swing…yes, the swing. Adult and emergers in 18-22 are working great, slow down and work the obvious water, you will find more success this way than trying to cover miles of river with our shortened daylight.
Rather funny when you think about all the talk out there about the dead drift of both a dries and nymphs but very few discuss how incredibly well a swung fly represents the emergence of these insects. Give it a shot, next time your fly comes tight at the end of the drift, let it swing towards shore…
Steelhead season is so close we can taste it. For those who like swinging flies, if it wasn’t obvious, this is all we do so if looking to book for the Olympic Peninsula this year, do so soon as we book up pretty early, especially for weekends. Call and set up your trip now for the Hoh, Queets, Sol Duc and Bogachiel. We will also be on the Skagit in January so book now! 206-708-7250
October 29, 2017 All Things Fall - It’s Gravity!
Haha, in all seriousness, this fall has been fabulous so far and the forecast continues to show a terrific fall season for fly fishing.
Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers are littered with hungry trout slurping BWO’s, October Caddis and Midge. Wind has been down as has the water levels so they can’t hide as easily as they like and when sipping bugs on the surface, they give themselves away even more. Colors over here have been outstanding too so double down and let’s get you over there.
Puget Sound is simply sublime right now. At times casting a longer line will help reach the fish but all in all the cutts are quite happy to come out and play right now. Most of our staff are using the Sound Searcher or similar surface pattern to cover the water and find fish but subsurface works too. Some anglers are using heavier sink tips as well to get deep on beaches where the shoreline descends more quickly which shows us basically all the ways to pursue these fish work so choose your favorite and get out there.
Skykomish and Cowlitz have hit their prime time water temp and water level wise for swinging flies. Not a tremendous number of fish around but walking through favorite runs this time of year, what could possibly be better? A steelhead of course but the only way to make that happen is to go do it.
Most of the small streams close tomorrow but a few remain open. If you are still wanting to be on the little blue lines come on in and we can help you find some to go check out.
October 11, 2017 Puget Sound
This is just to reaffirm that the Sound is fishing so ridiculously well right now. Yesterday 2 of our staff fished 3 beaches for a mere 2 hours and collectively had 9 to hand of well over 20 takes all on the Sound Searcher, our surface fly imitating an injured baitfish. Along side us we also saw several other anglers hooking up on regular basis for an hour or so and it appeared they were using subsurface flies on intermediate lines.
We were throwing 5 and 6 wt rods with floating lines. My preference was the 6wt Winston B3+ with the Airflo Cold Saltwater line with an 8ft leader to 1x.
So the moral of the story is how can we get you out on the Sound and taking advantage of the state of affairs here? Let us know so we can help!
October 8, 2017 Cutthroat Time of Year
This is a shout out to the fact that living in Seattle pits fly anglers dead center of a difficult decision, to chase native West Slope cutts on the east side of the mountains or stay home and get after Coastal cutts in our local saltwater of Puget Sound. You really can’t go wrong either way, it really depends on what you have a hankering for the most.
Yakima and Cle Elum have October Caddis coming off and these big bugs are the trouts last chance of the season at large quantities of calories in a single bite before winter sets in. Skating and skittering these giant insects on a micro spey is about as fun as it gets as these trout simply get excited about them and show it in their pursuit and eventual take.
On the other side of the coin we have our beloved sea run cutthroat within minutes of our doors cruising all over Puget Sound. This time of year, sun is low, tides remain pretty good and while not imitating an insect, these cousins of the east side trout will gladly give you a show on a surface fly meant to imitate an injured baitfish or just about anything you like really.
Just because kids are back in school and the weather isn’t in the 80′s doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t be out bending the rod! Winter clothing is in now so no excuses. Happy fall everyone…
September 25, 2017 This One is All Sound…
As we speak the leaves are changing, weather is cooling, daylight is dwindling and Coho salmon are arriving! Not all of Puget Sound is open this year but where it is, fishing has been a bit like a roller coaster but in general, fish are around and being caught.
Big Sea Run Cutthroat (SRC’s) off many of the southern beaches mixed with Blackmouth and Coho salmon. Now our favorite thing is to fish with surface flies because not only are the SRC’s curious and always looking up so are the salmon. Conventional thought is to go deep for salmon and there is certainly merit in that however, floating lines and small surface flies like the Sound Searcher, Cutty Buddy and Surface Squid are much more fun and easier to cast. Nothing quite like a 5lb or larger Coho inhaling your dry fly!
If looking for an excuse to buy a new rod, having an 8wt could help with the larger migratory fish but we also fish 6wts pretty regularly as they are a bit better suiting to the smaller fish who will invariably be in the same water with the larger salmon.
Southworth, Olalla, Lincoln Park (yes Lincoln), Narrows and Hood Canal beaches have all been productive lately so hopefully you live within close proximity to one of those.
Any questions, come on in, call, email, text or face time us!
September 12, 2017 Yak, Creeks, Sound, Steelhead and Travel!
It is the time of year every fly angler in the U.S. looks forward to. The long, hot and smoky summer has ended and we are now into lower water and cooler temps bringing fall hatches to the trout rivers, salmon into the Sound and steelhead into our big rivers.
The Yakima flows are down and perfect timing too. Still feels like summer out there yet cool nights have dropped water temps to where some BWO’s are showing in the early AM with caddis taking over the mid day to evening time frame. A few stone’s still around and an occasional October caddis will show its face now but more of those to come. Winds have died a bit too so bring out the 4wts and toss dries. Maybe drop a lightning bug off the back in the AM or late PM and definitely skate those caddis!
Creeks and forks of the Snoqualmie are SUPER low right now and fish are wise, not providing many chances at them so have your line management dialed and fish the most obvious of water depth wise but also realize they will be sitting in the water disguising them from above too so put your fly in the faster water on the edges and the white water on pour overs. Morning water temps are pretty cool so expect a slow morning if there super early otherwise should still be dry flies all day.
The Sound is so hot right now it isn’t even funny. Orca’s are quite a distraction for those lucky enough to see them and the cutts and coho are just all over surface flies like the Sound Searcher and the baitfish are all big so fish longer herring and sandlance patterns and hold on! Hood Canal has been very good lately too for coho and some blackmouth. Kelp has been limited too making the fishing rather enjoyable. Early AM is still great even with the lower sun angle and the tides right now are pretty good so no excuses.
Steelhead are around…that is really about all we should need to say. Skykomish, Cowlitz and the O.P. rivers that are open all have a few fish in them so grab the long rod, put the Scandi head on and swing some small flies.
Travel for us these days has taken us all over the globe…Sudan, Oman, Bahamas, BC, Greenland and Iceland to name a few. Right now we are putting together trips for Argentina for Dorado, Alaska for trout/bear (see above), Tahiti, Gabon for giant Tarpon other locations so come in, check out our calendar and join us on one of these amazing Hosted Trips.
Happy almost fall everyone!
Photo Dave McCoy