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.
March 6, 2018
The season is upon us! Fishing has been excellent recently and we are seeing more happy Sea Run Cutthroat reentering our salty waters to get fat once again. Hot flies have been Chum Baby’s, Tak’s Minnie Minnow, and small Clouser Minnows. Fishing will continue to get hot towards the latter half of the month as we have some favorable tides for fishing.
The water is low and clear but we have been seeing strong pushes of tidal fish in the lower stretches of our coastal rivers. These fish are fresh from the salt, often with sea lice, and full of vigor from their long journey. Think soft and near the bank as these fish are finding the easiest possible path to reach the spawning grounds. Hot flies have been Hartwick’s Marabou Tube, Mini Intruders, and Fish Tacos.
We have availability in the latter half of this month for both Sea Run Cutthroat trips and OP Steelhead. Call the shop to schedule a trip (206) 708-7250.
Photo #1: Caldwell Rohrbach
Photo #2: Cole Leishman
February 22, 2018
To say that the sound has been hot would be an understatement; it has been fantastic! We are finding consistently good action on hungry resident coho within casting distance of our beaches close to home. The Blackmouth fishing has been good recently as well and these fish will surely put a bend in your five or six weight rod. The hot flies have been the Chum Baby, Sound Searcher, Sea Run Bugger, and Clouser Minnows in small sizes.
Our beloved Sea Run Cutthroat will be reentering their saltwater lies shortly as they will be finishing up spawning during the remainder of the month into early March. Be sure to take extra care of these post-spawn fish as they need every bit of help they can get after their strenuous journey.
Although it is early, we have seen some schools of Chum Fry in the Sound. We are starting with small versions of these flies in order to match the early salt Chum fry. As the next few weeks progress we will start “matching the hatch” and growing our patterns with the available food source.
We have had some great fishing this week and the fish have still been grabby even with the cold temperatures and low water. As the rivers drop, decrease the size of your flies and go light on the flash. During these periods of low flows, the fish require a more subtle presentation.
Due to a last minute cancellation, we have guide days available early next week in addition to prime dates coming up during next month. If you want to schedule a guided steelhead trip, give us a call at the shop (206) 708-7250.
Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. Stay warm out there, folks!
Photo #1: Caldwell Rohrbach
Photo #2: Debbie Gillespie
January 7th, 2018
The Puget Sound has been fishing well lately. Now that we are back to the large tide swing during daylight hours we can all celebrate. With mid morning high tides, take a look at a good first light incoming tide or sleep in and hit the outgoing tide in the afternoon. With the overcast days, top water flies such as the Cutty Buddy, Sound Searcher, and Puget Sound Spider have all been fishing well. If you prefer going down under, smaller baitfish in the 1.5 inch range have been doing the trick (Glass Minnow or Foxy Minnow). Also, don’t be afraid of throwing some shrimp patterns, but remember to adjust your strip when switching over to those flies. There is some considerable rain on the horizon but that’s why we love the Sound! Be careful looking forward to Thursday, as wind is forecast to be blowing 20-30kt’s throughout Hood Canal and the Puget Sound.
As you look forward into the next week, keep an eye on flow’s as Forks and Rockport are both getting significant rain this week. Thursday looks especially hairy with over an inch and a quarter of rain predicted (Rockport). Even so, predicted is the key word. As my Dad always says, “you can’t catch a fish unless your flies in the water, DAMMIT!” If you are heading into the Skagit Valley, please read up on identifying Atlantic Salmon as we have come across a handful of them in the last few weeks.
As always, have fun and be safe out there. Give us a call at the shop if you have any questions, we are here to help!
Photo: Caldwell Rohrbach
December 30, 2017 Steelhead and Salt
Between rain and wind squalls it is steelhead time. OP rivers have been showing some signs of life with both hatchery (needing to be bonked) and wild (needing to be treasured) steelhead. We are also seeing some fantastic Atlantic Salmon fishing up on the Skagit these days between the Dollies and the few steelhead around. Sadly we are out of commission for a day or so while the rivers simmer down after this last rain. Should be perfect in a day or two.
In the mean time Puget Sound has been fairly consistent with the south end putting out some fish on a pretty regular basis. Cutts have been taking after a smorgasbord of flies from Foxy Minnow’s to Sound Searchers to small Clousers and even Muddler’s. For those who fish the Sound on a regular basis, this shouldn’t come as any surprise.
Get out there and have a great 2018 on the water everyone!
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.