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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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
July 6th, 2016 Snoqualmie River
Flows on the South and Middle Forks of the Snoqualmie are becoming super ideal with the South Fork in slightly better shape than the Middle. The entire river system is running gin clear, and water temperatures are ideal, dependent on daily weather systems. During cold days, the water remains chilly, so target the warmer afternoon temperatures for more productive fishing, However, on clear days, the fishing is good from morning through evening. Trout are beginning to look upward with more consistency, and bug activity is prevalent all along the pass. Dry flies are the way to go, but don’t hesitate to use wet flies and fish deep in buckets if nothing is rising. It is past July 4th, so summer is officially here in Northwest Washington and the Snoqualmie is a great place to target fish at this time of year!
Photo: Sam Lincoln
June 25, 2016 - Fisheries Re-open throughout Western Washington!!!
Puget Sound area fishing closures lifted!! Great news from the WDFW yesterday, all fishing closures that had been affecting the Puget Sound region have been lifted and fisheries have been reopened according to current fishing regulations. Most notably for fly anglers, this includes the Cedar River, Skykomish and its tributaries, the Snoqualmie, and the Skagit/Sauk, among others. Make sure to check the new 2016-2017 WDFW fishing regulations, as there have been some significant changes from past years. Here is the official press release:
May 28, 2016 Yakima River, Washington
Flows on the Upper Yakima are very ideal currently, with clear cold water creating perfect habitat near structure and seams. Heavy winds make dry fly fishing difficult due to tricky line manipulation and a general void of bugs on the water. While there is no consistent top-water feeding occurring, fish will rise opportunistically to a fly, so don’t hesitate to throw them on well-oxygenated sections and most seams. The streamer bite is on. Trout are aggressively targeting large flies near any and all structure. Target agitated water near banks, log jams, and buckets near large rocks. If all else fails, go to a nymph/indicator rig. Target fish slightly higher in the water column as many will elevate slightly to take a passing bug. This requires an angler to shallow his or her depths to the top 1-3 feet. Conditions are varying daily, so if one pattern fails to attract a fish, be willing to change it up. The water is beautiful right now so go get em!
Dry Flies: Humpy, Parachute Adams, Pheasant Tail Adams, Royal Wolf, Any Stimulator, Chernobyl, BWO, All Colors of Caddis, Salmon Flies (All Sizes 14-18)
Streamers: Sculpin, Skulpzilla, Black and Brown Articulated Leeches, Dolly Llama
Nymphs: Stone Flies (10-16), FB Pheasant Tail (12-18), Natural Pheasant Tail (12-16), Prince Nymph (14-18), Black Copper John (14-16), Lightning Bugs (14-16)
May 25, 2016 Yakima River, WA
Well at this point we can’t ignore the fishing on the Yak…caddis time with a mix of nearly all other things for the spring and early summer season. Walk and wade is pretty difficult at the moment but if you are hiring guides like us or floating your own boat, not a bad place to be right now.
photo Dave McCoy
May 23, 2016 Snoqualmie River, WA
As we sit here waiting for some consistent weather in our area we are potentially wasting away some fantastic time to be on the water. At this moment the flows on the forks of the Snoqualmie River are a bit high but water clarity is good and temps are rising quickly. Multiple hatches can be seen throughout the day on both the Middle and South forks. These hatches are consisting of BWO’s, PMD’s, Salmonflies and caddis to name a few. Evening has proven to be most active with fish on the surface as of late but this should change very soon.
The jury is still out on when we might find out about river closure’s being reversed on our Puget Sound watersheds but in the meantime we at least have Puget Sound we can ply for sea run cutthroat. Yesterday saw small groups of baitfish being aggressively picked apart by SRC’s to the point it felt like March all over again, what a blast. Surface flies worked great as they lost their minds in the frenzy of the situation and just hit whatever you threw at them. So no excuses!
Yakima flows have been fluctuating but for those with boats the fishing has been pretty good with caddis throughout the river and hatches of March Browns, PMD’s and even BWO’s still depending on the day and what section of the river you are on.
Lastly the Cowlitz still has some fish strolling in so for those with a two handed itch, there is always that! Both summer and winter steelhead are showing up and there remains a strong number of spring Chinook coming in each week and flows are pretty good for swinging flies…
Hope everyone has a great weekend and as always we are here to answer your questions as we cover most of the western part of Washington’s waters in our daily foray’s. Have a great week everyone.
photo Dave McCoy
May 17th, 2016 Puget Sound
Fishing for sea runs out on Puget Sound has remained good on cloudy days, and decent on the bright, sunny days. Most of the fish have been on the smaller end of the spectrum, but in most cases you will find quite a few of them together. A few of the bigger fish are still around and are being spotted on several beaches, but haven’t been willing participants very often. On the bright days target the early and late hours when the tide is moving, and then fish flies with some weight (or sinking lines) to get flies down during the brightest part of the day.
Just a reminder, fishing for salmon is completely closed in Puget Sound, but fishing for sea runs, ling cod, and other species remains open. See the following documents for more details: salmon closure on Puget Sound; impact on freshwater fisheries; sea run and non-salmon impact (see final 2 paragraphs)
Additionally, fishing on the Yakima has remained good, with good hatches of caddis and multiple mayflies (PMD’s, BWO’s, and some March Browns) all coming off depending on the weather.
On this side of the mountains, both the Middle and South Fork of the Snoqualmie are open to fishing, but are high and cold with run-off. With our cooler temperatures the last few days, flows are creeping down and are getting closer to decent levels. Targeting the soft edges and deeper holds with heavier nymphs and some small streamers will be your best bet even though there have been solid hatches of mayflies showing up. In a few weeks these should start to stabilize and get the Summer fishing kicked off.
Let us know if you have any questions about open/closed waters, and how the salmon closure will affect the normal trout opening in June (if the ban isn’t lifted by then).
Photo: Alex Collier
May 10, 2016 Yakima River and Beyond…
Ok, so we are a bit past or ahead of these depending on how you look at it but either way, for the moment the Yakima has dropped down to an approachable level to fish for the moment. Flows are still hovering at 4,000 cfs or higher and some tribs are coughing up some fantastic color after hot days. Probably going to be like this for the rest of the summer. That being said, as we move into mid May and beyond, caddis are the primary staple in the diet of these fish with some great activity on the surface later in the day and into the evening. Stay up high…
Creeks and other small water are a mere few weeks away from opening and if warm weather persists some could be ready to go on the opener which is the first Saturday in June, June 4th. Some are still going to be snowed in but a few will be fishing well very soon. For those looking for an excuse to pick up a new stick here it is! Month of May, we are paying your sales tax and you get a free fly line with rod/reel purchase and a new glass stick would be a fantastic way to begin summer.
Cowlitz has been pumping out or bringing in some good numbers of steelhead lately and we are looking forward to the summer season of swinging some flies down there as well as on some other waters in the region. For now the Sky, Sno, Green, Skagit, Sauk, Stilly and Nooksack are closed until further notice. Questions on this matter, please be in touch…
Warm-water species are in full swing right now with carp and bass in local lakes being very cooperative. We have a great selection of bugs for them both and are happy to discuss tactics.
Puget Sound has found itself in a bit of a quagmire with closure of all salmon fishing for the foreseeable future due in part to low expected returns. Sea run cutthroat however are out and about. Hood Canal has been showing some huge cutts but they have been selective lately, don’t be afraid to drop a small euphasid off the back of a surface fly as you wake it slowly along. We are also in the throws the high summer sun but with that comes big tides too so sort of a mixed blessing. If you haven’t noticed, it is light at 4:30AM so early starts when fish are less weary and light is low will be a good bet, almost despite the tides.
In short, lots of fishing to be had right now, and as usual let us know how we can help you figure one or all of these out. Parting thought, Washington also has some Pike and Muskie fishing…
photo Alex Collier