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.
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
August 29, 2017 Atlantic Salmon
For those of you who are fishing the Puget Sound, please take the time to learn how to identify the Atlantic Salmon from our Native Puget Sound Salmon Species (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/atlantic.html). Our goal, is to catch and remove every Atlantic Salmon from the system as possible. This is a daunting task, however, it is our responsibility to protect our resources in order to minimize the adverse effects of this invasive species. In just 10 days since their escape, anglers have landed fish on the West Coast of Vancouver island (1 caught 8/28/2017), North of Vancouver, Canada (3 caught 8/27/2017), and as far south as the mouth of the Columbia river (11 caught 8/26/2017).
If you are targeting Atlantic Salmon, you must have a current WDFW Salt Water Fishing license and be fishing in waters that are currently open for our native salmon species. Once your daily limit of native salmon is retained, you must stop fishing. There is no size restriction or catch limit on Atlantic Salmon. Please report the number and location of fish here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/atlantic_salmon_catch.php
For an up to date map and for more information in regards to totals and dates please follow the link: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/atlantic_catch_map.php
Our Sound Our Salmon is currently organizing a Flotilla for September 16th in Rich Passage (South Bainbridge Island) between 2-4pm.
Ways to help:
1. Send a petition to Governor Inslee
2. Join the Our Sound, Our Salmon Flotilla protest on September 16th.
3. Go fishing! These fish are already being caught in rivers like the Skagit Nooksack and Columbia River. Let’s get them out of there. If you catch one post your catch info to WDFW, here.
4. Petition the permit American Gold Aquaculture is seeking for new facilities. You can do this by writing a letter to Clallam County here.
5. Attend the Public hearing before the Hearing Examiner that is scheduled for September 7, 2017 at 2:00PM in Room 160 of the Clallam County Courthouse 223 E 4th St # 8, Port Angeles, WA 98362
This is also a good source of information that WDFW just released: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XtR-O26dLg
*Pictures taken from WDFW Website as well as Our Sound Our Salmon.
August 23, 2017. Low Water Season
Mountain streams are at the late summer, low water levels when anglers begin to wonder, “Where have all the fish gone?” Well, they are more than likely still there but have become more savvy on where they sit so your approach has to change a bit.
Look for fish to sit in tail outs early in the AM and then move to faster moving water as the day moves on. Faster water will be cooler, usually contain more oxygen and have more surface disturbance creating more camouflage from predators. It is getting late in the season so they can be a bit more selective after a season of angler interactions so either match the hatch or use something big enough to warrant them not wanting to pass it up such as large stimulators or even hoppers.
Puget Sound continues on it late summer roll of Coho and Pinks cruising through the waters off most main channel beaches and not to be out done, big cutts shouldering their way in for some of the bait as well. We have been using slightly long profile flies with darker back representing larger Herring and Sand Lance as well as surface flies. COHO WILL TAKE SURFACE FLIES so don’t be afraid to use them!
Summer steelhead on the Cowlitz has been typical…some fish, lots of anglers and low clear water. A few fish throughout the season on the Skykomish and other rivers in the area but as we feel air temps begin to cool, we are excited for fall steelhead on the Klickitat and elsewhere. Columbia River numbers are not looking good so it may be a case of working hard for your steelhead…story of our lives around here.
We are pumped to hit the Albacore here in a month or so out of Ilwaco, this season has been under way for sometime and the fishing has been good. If interested in joining us next year let us know as these trips fill lightning fast.
All in all, summer is not over yet so take advantage of these next few weekends and get out there, we are happy to help!
photo Dave McCoy