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.
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
August 13th, Cascade Creeks
Working our way up a beautiful Cascade stream, I look over at Christy as she gracefully hops boulder to boulder rod doubled over fighting a nice rainbow. Unfortunately, my own boulder hopping stopped going so well earlier when I slipped on what looked like a good foothold and went for a cold swim. it was a refreshing break to the summer heat we have been having here in the PNW and a good chance to watch as she pulled in another solid fish.
The Cascade creeks are some of the most beautiful streams I have fished. Boulder strewn and gin clear, the fishing has been consistently good. Dry flies are the name of the game and watching native trout rise to these patterns in such a stunning location is a great way to spend the day, even if you do it soaking wet.
Dry fly patterns: 14 and 16 Never Sink caddis, 14 and 16 Rubber leg yellow stimulator, 16 Chubby, 14 and 16 Para Madam X, 16 Hippy Stomper purple
Photos: Ben Panico
August 10, 2017 Greenland and of Course Local
Well, just returned from our 2 week adventure to Greenland and Iceland in pursuit of Char and Atlantic Salmon, my what an experience! It is rare we travel somewhere and wish the fishing wasn’t as good as it was but in this case, Greenland just makes things a bit too simple but who are we to complain.
Arctic Char as chrome bright as any fish you will find as they are within literal feet of the saltwater they just left and stacked in the small streams connecting glacial fed lakes to the ocean. Go if you can, it is unlike any experience we have had in the fly fishing world!
Puget Sound continues to be alight with resident coho and SRC’s in such good numbers we have been pinching ourselves, its been that good. Some pinks around as well. A quick notice to all beach anglers, a new land owner has moved into the area at Southworth and has threatened us with calling authorities for trespassing if caught on the beach south of the ferry terminal. New signs are up so be warned, it wasn’t a pleasant email and he doesn’t sound like a pleasant person. Anyway, have fun out there, plenty of other shorelines to chase fish from.
Creeks are in the shape you would expect this time of year, low and clear. Water is warming so fishing earlier is always better for the fish but there shouldn’t be any reason to be doing anything but dry flies right now. If water is super clear, put the fly in a bit faster water, those fish are extraordinarily hydro dynamic so they can stay in fast water without much effort. This provides them cooler, more oxygenated water with more cover from predators…think like a fish!
Summer steelhead has boiled itself down to the Cowlitz for the most part. There are a few, a few fish in the Skykomish and OP rivers so if those are convenient for you or are traveling to these areas, definitely hit them, worst case scenario is you have a great day swinging flies!
Carp tournament is Saturday at Banks Lake and we are pumped to see who comes away with the big prize as winner of our first tourney. Costa, Echo and Casey Underwood sponsored with some great prizes for the top few anglers.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and as always, never be shy about asking questions about anything as close as Greenlake or as far away as Greenland, we likely know and are willing to answer them for you.
photo Dave McCoy
July 26, 2017 Puget Sound and More…
Well, what can we say; choose your adventure! If you are bored with one switch to another. EVERYTHING is fishing well right now.
In the last few days we have seen Salmon coming in good numbers and size. As many may know, targeting early mornings and late evenings can increase your odds of connecting with these special fish. Albeit, those who can only fit in a mid day trip shouldn’t shy away just because of the old adage. One of our guides had the best 2 hours of fishing in the last 20 years during the MIDDLE of a blue bird day.
FLIES:Small clousers in Chartreuse or Olive and Pink Commits.
The creeks are beginning to warm and flows are dropping. The fish are slowly working closer to the heads of runs, plunge pools and more oxygenated parts of the river. We are trending towards smaller flies. If you are having trouble seeing your fly, try dropping a second dry fly roughly 18″ behind your first fly.
FLIES: Smaller Chubbys, Madam Parachute X, Simulator’s in size 14, Parachute Adam’s in size 16, The Better Foam Caddis in size 16
Photo: Ben Panico
July 9, 2017 Pink Season is Upon Us!
We can talk about the little blue lines up in the Cascades and the true fact that a few steelhead have made their way into several of the local rivers but the real news is the Pinks have arrived in Puget Sound!
Every two years these salmon arrive in mass (albeit not the mass of the past few seasons) and are willing participants for fly anglers around the entire Puget Sound.
Very quickly here is what we recommend…
1. Intermediate sink or sink tip lines
2. 6-7 wt rods
3. Beaches near their path to spawning rivers or near the estuary
4. PINK FLIES
Any questions please come by the store and let us know, otherwise we look forward to hearing stories of your escapades over the nest couple months.
July 8, 2017 It’s Game On All Over WA!
Where to fish is the question we are hearing in abundance right now and the answer is generally just about anywhere you like! Over the next couple of months all of these will be in shape:
Mountain Streams - wild cutthroat and rainbow trout
Snoqualmie Forks - cutts and rainbows
Cedar River - cutts and rainbows until end of August!
Puget Sound - cutts, pink and coho salmon
Steelhead - Skykomish and Cowlitz immediately
Carp - Banks, Tapps, Green, Columbia River and others
Yakima - flows are high but hoppers are around the corner
Come in and ask questions, email or call if this isn’t an option and if you are hoping to become better at some of these listed above then book a trip or a school and let’s get you out there to help figure them out.
Photo Reid Curry
June 28, 2017 CREEKS and Cedar!!!
Just spent the day up on some of our favorite little blue lines in the Cascades and they are just about there. Some are still a raging torrent but others have dropped to a place where water is clear and if you know where to go, the fish are waiting.
To this day it astonishes us that more anglers don’t value these small streams within in an hour of Seattle. Not another person up there yesterday and we fished 3 different streams. Water was diamond clear and fish were feeding both on top and sub surface.
Bugs of choice would be Parachute Adams sizes 12-16, Rubber Legged Stimulators sizes 10-14 in yellow or orange, Lightning Bugs, Copper Johns in red, copper and brown in sizes 14-18. Caddis and other attractor patterns will also work.
Wading can still be a bit aggressive these days on all the smaller waters so take steps cautiously and when getting out there, way out there tell someone exactly where you are headed.
If you would like to figure these waters out, please be in touch or book a trip as we are happy to help you find your next little piece of mountain paradise.
June 24, 2017 Forks of the Snoqualmie
Take a quick look at the size of this fish caught on today’s guide trip with Karlie Roland on the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River!
Cascade Creeks - WE ARE SO CLOSE!!! We have had success fishing the upper stretches of some of the I90 rivers and are counting the minutes until the HWY 2 rivers are ready to rock. Dust off those 2wt rods, grab your attractor fly box, and find your Aquel! Size 10 and 12 stimulators or rubber legged stimulators.
Puget Sound - The sound has been fishing well during low light conditions. Do your best to set your alarm early and beat the sun. If you have time after work, the last hour of light can turn on as well. We have seen success on topwater patterns before sunrise but the fish quickly find shelter from birds of prey as soon as the sun comes up. We have seen large numbers of sand lance so grab your long skinny baitfish patterns!
Yakima - With warmer temperatures, the mid day and afternoon float tube hatch is INSANE! In all seriousness, there are lots of bugs in the system right now. With consistent may fly and caddis coming off, make sure to have a variety of sizes and colors ready to go. Fishing chubby’s to droppers will get both sub surface and top water eats. Double dry fly patterns will also help you see the smaller trailer flies. Targeting shady zones can be effective. - PMD’s, Emergers, and your favorite bead head nymph size 14-16, lightning bugs.
Steelhead - The Cowlitz fish numbers are still low. However, we are expecting things to heat up in the next few weeks!
The Sky will hold onto these early summer swinging conditions for another few weeks as the snow packs continue to melt.
Carp - For those of you looking to fish carp, the time is here. Start to scout out Banks Lake for our Carp Tournament August 12th. With a limit of only 40 anglers call the shop to find out more and to reserve your spot today!