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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November 29, 2015 Puget Sound, WA
Unseasonably cold weather around here the past few days and looking to stay that way for a while. Water in many of the rivers is in good shape for the fish of the season - steelhead. Also not to be forgotten are the sea run cutts who are always present and ready to play. We were out testing the new Winston B3+ 690 rods are hands down the new 6wt is as crisp yet smooth a casting rod for this fishery as we have ever spent time with. Looking forward to getting these into our clients hands on trips here soon.
photo Dave McCoy
November 23, 2015 Grande Ronde River
The shoulder seasons of the Pacific Northwest keep steelhead anglers on their toes. You wake up one day and it’s forty-five degrees outside, the water only slightly colder, and you know that if you find fish, you’ll find them in those juicy lies that make up classic steelhead water: boulder-filled pools with walking-speed water, slots and seams, ledges and buckets.
The next day the air temperature plummets; you wake up to frost on the tent and break through a layer of ice in the jug when it’s time to make coffee. The river has cooled as well overnight, dropping to the upper thirties, and the fish are no longer in that easily swung water. They’ve dropped down into the larger pools to find a couple degrees more warmth, and a fly swung through to find them has to move slow and deep, excruciatingly so.
A recent outing to the Grande Ronde river followed this formula exactly. Two days of “warmer” weather had us finding fish in all the usual places: the heads and tailouts of runs, and all the slots, buckets, and pockets in between. The Ronde is full of this type of water–very swingable runs with easily identifiable structure that tells you where to expect the fish. A fly swung well, when there are good numbers of fish in the system (which usually begins to happen in November), gives you a great chance at connecting with a steelhead.
Of course, being at a high elevation in the Pacific Northwest in November means the weather can change abruptly. We woke up to snow on our last day on the river, and water temps had dropped. While we still fished the usual spots, the fish we found were down deep in slow moving pools. This water can be difficult to fish, if only because of the patience required to allow the fly such a long, slow swing. But on those especially frigid days, this water can’t be overlooked. It might not look worth fishing from above–flat and featureless, and perhaps a bit deep–but what it lacks in classic steelhead water juiciness, it makes up for with a bit of warmth that pulls fish in.
No matter what weather you find on the Grande Ronde, we like to come prepared with two-handed rods in the 7 weight, 12-13 foot range. We had a good time fishing the Scott L2H 1257, and the Echo 3 1307. Airflo’s Skagit Compact helped us cast the slightly larger winter flies we were fishing, and for the most part a Flo tip in the T-10 sink rate helped us get our flies down to the fish without constantly hanging up on the abundant structure in the river. Our most productive flies weren’t necessarily “big,” but they had large profiles and plenty of action. Sparsely tied marabou patterns are great for this, and those tied on tubes, or with stinger hooks, will help to ensure better hook-ups when you find fish.
Stop by the shop, give us a call, or shoot us an email if you’d like to learn more about this fantastic river.
Photo Reid Curry
November 16, 2015 Tanzania, Africa
Well, with all or most of our rivers here in the PNW totally blow out and as they begin to drop are about to blow out again as another big winter storm moves into our area. So, how about a great tigerfish shot from Africa a month or so ago. Was pretty weary of putting hands and camera in the water with these crazy fish but quickly realized that like most other fish, after release, they just want to go hide for a spell. If you have ever dreamed of going to Africa for any reason, be sure to schedule an encounter with one of these while down there.
photo Dave McCoy
November 9, 2015 Klickitat River, Washington
After receiving a healthy dose of rain last week, the Klickitat has dropped back into excellent shape. Better yet, the recent rain has brought with it a fresh push of bright and energetic steelhead into the system. Swinging flies with two-handed rods is always our preferred method of targeting our region’s most fabled fish, and right now the Klick is putting out consistent results.
One thing to keep in mind about the Klick is that even when we consider the river to be in “good shape”, it rarely runs perfectly clear. Green is the ideal water color that we hope for, but much of the time on the Klick, we are confronted with some degree of brown…creating that ohh so wonderful “steelhead greenish-brown” we love so much. What all of this boils down to is the need for fishing larger profile flies. While anglers enjoy fishing small and natural traditional patterns on many of the neighboring rivers (think Deschutes, Grande Ronde, etc), big flies often reign king on the slightly more colored up Klickitat. One of our favorite large profile flies that we have consistently found success with on this river is Hartwick’s Hoser, shown above in our preferred two colors. Ultimately, in any steelhead river during any time of the year, the most important factor in choosing the right fly is matching the size of the fly to the clarity of the water. Dirty water = big flies, clear water = small flies.
One more tip for finding success swinging flies on the Klickitat is to look for areas of slower moving water with large underwater structure. The Klickitat River drops at a very steep gradient - approximately 45′ per mile. There is a lot of fast water and the fish predictably sit in the pockets and runs where the current slightly slows. Target your efforts in the slightly slower currents along the bank and in runs with large subsurbace boulders to break up the current. For the swing angler, this often times means working the slower water along the high bank side of a run, making short casts, often swinging with only the tip and part of the head outside of the rod. A general rule of thumb for steelheading anywere is to look for “walking speed“ water, 3 to 5 feet in depth, with distinct structure. This rule certainly holds true on the Klick. However, where on other rivers we find entire long runs that meet this description, on the Klick we usually find this type of water only in small stretches within each run. Focus on this water and there will be fish!
If you are planning a trip to the Klick or any of our region’s other steelhead rivers, stop by the shop or give us a call and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.
November 5, 2015 Puget Sound, Washington
A screen capture of a nice cutthroat airing it out while filming a new conservation movie here on the Sound yesterday.
Small tan clousers, Sound Searcher, Sound Skimmer and Miyawaki poppers have all been working great and will continue to. For being versatile, we suggest using Airflo floating lines to easily go between surface and subsurface flies.
As we move into the time of year where people focus either on steelhead or give up most of their fly fishing for the year, the Sound will continue to fish great all winter. Tides just need to be moving, daytime won’t make as much of a difference with the sun lower in the sky.
photo Octave Zangs
November 2, 2015 Puget Sound, Washington
This past few days is one of the other main attractions to the Sound for us here at EWA. While we love our swinging for steelhead and small stream fishing for native trout, when we get storms that blow through the region like we just experienced, much of the Sound remains clean and clear and open for fishing as the rivers hit flood stage. Chum are all over the place down south, Chum Turd’s, Chum Candy and chartreuse and pink sparsely tied flies are working well for them. In and around them are scattered cutthroat as well so pick your poison. Cutts should fish well all winter long and Chum should be around for another few weeks so now is the time. Happy November everyone.
photo Dave McCoy
October 29, 2015 Snoqualmie River, Washington
We have been getting a steady amount of much needed rain in the area lately making for perfect steelheading conditions on many of our local steelhead rivers. The Sno and the Sky are in absolutely perfect shape to be swinging flies right now, water levels are sweet and there is just a hint of color to it. Water is low enough and still warm enough that a type 3 or T 10 tip will likely suffice for now. We can custom make these in any length for you at the store at any time.
As with all things fly fishing, fly selection for steelhead is a very subjective topic. For many of us here at EWA, we subscribe to the idea that presentation is what will make the difference, not the fly. That said, every angler should be fishing a fly they have complete confidence in. Intruders in black and purple are some of our favorites.
photo Dave McCoy
October 26, 2015 Puget Sound, WA
While most anglers are heading to the rivers for the salmon, a few of use are still on the beaches now searching for SRC’s again but also holding out for those late arriving Coho that continue to push into the Sound. This one took our new surface popper the Sound Skimmer about 20ft from the shoreline on a moderately paced retrieve. Cutthroat are going to do the same thing and as we get some rain here in the area, some of the smaller streams we have been loving so much since June are going to begin seeing their flows climb upward. For those in western Washington, this means the Sound is one of your easiest alternatives to get out and fish through the entire winter. We will be hosting regular seminars in the store on how to become proficient on the Sound all season long. Check our Upcoming Events page for details or give us a call.
photo Dave McCoy
October 23, 2015 Snoqualmie River, WA
Fall is here but the fishing in the forks of the Snoqualmie remain summer like for part of the day. As the day time temps warm just a bit the trout are realizing their window of opportunity is closing so surface activity with BWO’s and smaller orange Stimulator’s has been good and dropping a small Lightning Bug off the back doesn’t hurt either. Allow this set up to swing a bit below you, the dropper rising in the water column imitates emergence well and will draw strikes. With the weekend here, get out and take advantage of it.
photo Abbie Schuster
October 22, 2015 Puget Sound, WA
We are not letting the sun set on fishing the Sound for salmon. Still plenty of Coho around willing to play while Chum continue to arrive in more and more numbers. Olalla is a great access point to take a shot at the silvers and Chico Creek as well as parks in the Hoodsport area will put you in front Chum. Get out and bend a rod before the weather turns and makes you want to tie flies instead…which we hope you still choose to fish!
photo Abbie Schuster