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.
June 16, 2017 Raining Again!
While we wait for clear water to arrive, we are in the store helping outfit angler after angler for Alaska for these beauts shown above.
For those who moved to Seattle in the past couple years hoping all they hype about gray and rain were just myths attempting to keep the world at bay, well, they have been proven to be true!
Here we are amid what should be the onset of summer and we are again reaching for rain jackets and watching river levels rise and the color go on on some of them. From the perspective of the fish, they likely enjoy the lack of early season harassment by us fly anglers so maybe they will be more will participants in the coming months…maybe!
All of this said we do have some positive points to make, the Yakima River is down at a reasonable flow at this hour anyway so for Father’s Day weekend, hopefully some of you can get out and take advantage. Caddis in the evenings are going to the key if you have to pinpoint a particular time to hit the water.
Puget Sound is always there but will be at times a bit more difficult due to sun, tides and kelp but the SRC’s are still there so be persistent. Go with flies you are confident in and fish accordingly.
Creeks and the Forks of the Snoqualmie are almost there. Water is still a bit high (bit more now with this rain) and still a wee bit cold but we are literally days away from the start gun going off so find your next project water and start scoping it out.
Skykomish is in fantastic shape right now for swinging flies so if you want to check this out now is the time. Cowlitz will be on our radar in the next couple weeks too and this is a fabulous river to learn to spey cast on and we love to teach people this facet of our sport, LOVE IT!
Happy June everyone, let us know how we can help make this summer a success for you.
June 12, 2017 Puget Sound, WA
SWEET! According the new 2018 regs, we will indeed have a salmon season in areas 10 and 11, check the latest regs and know what is legal.
Other areas up north of Seattle will have some restrictions this year so check those out as well.
June 8, 2017 Sound, Creeks and Steelhead
Summer has been showing some glimmers of hope around here which has ignited the local fly fishing community into a frenzy of “Where should I go?” Great question, here are some ideas….
The Sound is warming up, kelp is quickly developing into its summer time nuisance which while annoying is good for the small food forms looking for cover. This is the time of year is when a stripping basket is very helpful for the Sound regardless of type of line being employed. Fish are still actively looking up but sun and light on the water can push them down and out so start your day early and pay attention to the tides, outgoing will take much of the kelp away from you. Have flies in all shades, sizes and sink rates for this time of year as baitfish will take many forms out there from small and linear to big and broad across their sides. Check our Food Forms page for more images of what is out there.
The small waters of the Cascades are beginning to show some signs of life. We like to use the South Fork of the Snoqualmie as a barometer of what might be happening elsewhere. This past week, trout were paying attention to dry flies there and on a couple other small streams within in hour of Seattle that opened on Saturday. While some will remain high here for a bit, there are a few where access is already available, now we just need water temps to help usher in those hatches to encourage fish to come to the surface. In faster water on these small freestone streams, we like slightly larger flies that appear to be of more caloric value to the fish hence having them leave their underwater sanctuary for a surface take. Stimulators, large caddis and other attractor patterns are good choices with maybe a small dropper if you feel you must.
We are excited to see the Skykomish River at a fishable level already. In these water flows, steelhead will be close to the bank in many swinging runs and this first month of summer is a great time to find late arriving winter fish or early summer fish before low, clear and warm water sets in. The Cowlitz is already showing summer fish arriving as well, in both of these cases, employing some sinking tips here for the next month or two is not a bad idea as water temps will remain cool until the snow pack recedes a bit. Up to you whether you want to size down on flies from the winter, we likely would but then again we don’t fish huge flies while swinging anyway. Drawers are stacked with flies so drop on in and we can discuss.
Lastly, we are very excited to announce we are hosting a Carp Tournament on August 12th. $60 to enter, dinner on Friday, tourney hat, prizes for 1st through 5th place maximum of 40 entrants. Call the store to sign up 206-708-7250
May 27, 2017 Sudan and Oman
Just getting off our sea legs after living on a 60 foot catamaran in the Red Sea for just over a week and what a trip! Words that comer to mind are aggressive, spectacular and bat s–t crazy.
Over the 2 weeks we fished in the region we caught over 2 dozen species of fish, Triggers, Dorado, Queenfish, GT, Bluefin, Snapper and Barracuda to name a few. For those with a streak of adventure in their blood, this would be your trip. Casting off the edge of a coral reef, standing in chest deep water, taking waves to your head and knowing if you hook up, you are plunging off the side of the reef and swimming if you have any hope of landing your fish.
As with all big game trips, many lines were snapped, shredded or lost, rods broken and even a couple of reels didn’t make it home in one piece all of which just make the story that much better. Read more on the trip and see more images in our journal post here:
Now what we came back to, not much! At this point the Yakima, while producing caddis like mad as it should be is sitting at just over 4000cfs and on a slight rise again. This is actually fishable unlike the 6000cfs it was at a couple days ago. Still mostly a float situation but not quite as rapid a ride as it is at 6000. Trout are looking up for sure, still some PMD’s in the AM but caddis most of the day after that, especially in the evenings.
Puget Sound has reached that place where earlier starts are going to be beneficial, especially when tides coincide with an early start. Great tides this week for this so get out and hit it. Baitfish patterns, euphasids and of course surface flies are all going to bring fish to hand if they are around. These are the days when knowing a handful of beaches can be helpful in finding fish.
Forks of the Snoqualmie are still pretty large but the South Fork is at least approachable. Trout should be looking up during the middle of the day. Go big, stimulators and such make it worth their while to move for it and fish that water just off the fast stuff.
Creeks and Cedar are going to “open” on the 3rd of June but expect them to be quite inflated with our current snow pack. Honestly wouldn’t expect to be on much of the small water until almost July but time will tell.
Steelhead, same thing, expect high water for some time. Cowlitz is at close to 10,000 which makes the available wading difficult to say the least, look for it to drop to around 7000 for a chance to be swinging safely.
Our big spring event is June 3rd at Me Kwa Mooks here in West Seattle from 10am to 4pm, great chance to come cast all the lastest rods with our staff and sales reps as well as attend seminars on all we do in this region. That is it until tomorrow…have a great Memorial Day weekend.
May 1, 2017 Puget Sound, WA
Well, after a beautiful weekend we are back at it with rain again in the air and on the ground. We at times try to keep it simple with regards to suggesting particular flies for fishing Puget Sound and most of the time, the sea run cutthroat aren’t that selective.
Flies are what they are but because of the live nature they are intended to emulate it becomes increasingly more important to be sure your presentation is giving your fly the right amount of “life” or action to be appealing to the fish. This is rarely more true than when speaking of the resident Coho moving about the Sound right now.
Recent studies of the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition has been showing that while Chum fry are thick in numbers, the salmon are more focused on shrimp! Sometimes, when your relative next to you is eating something different than you, you give it shot and this is what cutts will do sometimes so it behooves anglers you have a broad selection of flies in their box when hitting the Sound which includes shrimp patterns.
Such flies might include those coming from the more tropical family of flies such as small Gotcha’s, Christmas Island Specials and of course Clousers. Come by and we will help you pick a few out and figure out where to go. Rain only makes the beaches less crowded, even better reason to be out there now.
April 30, 2017 Fish Where and When You Can
As of this morning the Yakima has dipped below the 4000cfs mark which is pretty good considering where it has been for the past few weeks. Much of this drop is due to the Cle Elum being tightened back up on flows, back around the 200cfs level which means this is back at a walk and wade stage at the moment. As we move into May we are in anticipation of the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch, a benchmark for the beginning of caddis season. Here is to hoping everything comes together for it. We would highly recommend finding your way to the Cle Elum right now if you are looking to get on a river today or this week and don’t have a boat.
Puget Sound is staying the course, baitfish all around, sea run cutts feeding voraciously on them and the resident Coho remain present but moving around a bit. Try not to fall into a pattern of the very same beach all the time, work on learning a new beach so you have options should weather or fish not be cooperating. Plus pressure on the same beach all the time WILL begin to put fish off and force them other places.
Today ends the winter steelhead season on the Olympic Peninsula. Has been a wet and wild year out there but we found a good number of fish swinging flies during high water. While our steelhead focus will turn to Puget Sound and Columbia River tribs for the coming months we are already looking forward to next season.
Snoqualmie Forks are right on par for their flows for this time of year. Wouldn’t say they aren’t worth fishing but would say it requires some very intimate knowledge of where to access them to safely be successful. The right place at the right time my find some eager trout looking up to dry flies otherwise trailing a small nymph such as a Lightning Bug or Copper John will likely increase potential for a fishy encounter.
April 27, 2017 Yakima River, WA
So while walk and wading the Yakima and Cle Elum at the moment isn’t necessarily the greatest way to fish these two rivers doesn’t mean that floating the upper stretches of the Yakima from Cle Elum down to Thorp isn’t a bad idea. Fish have to eat, bugs are around and the water is high but in shape to fish. Some fish looking up during various times of the day, particularly early AM and evening but nymphing and tossing streams is going to most productive at the moment. Smaller sized Pat’s Stones followed by Lightning Bugs will do the trip or if runnin’ and gunnin’ is more your style get your streamers going with some Dahli Lama’s in Olive/White or Natural/White, JJ Specials or Sculpzilla’s in Olive or Natural…wear a hat and sunglasses and have fun!
This is the perfect time of year to look critically at which fly rods you use for which situations. Many preach the 5wt as the end all be all of trout sticks but because we live in an area where nymphing, streamers and long casts on Puget Sound are the norm, we really like the 6wt. A fighting butt always comes in handy when fighting big fish and will handle these demanding fishing situations just a bit better than the 5wt. So if you are fishing a slower 5 and working hard to come up with a reason for a new stick, there it is! Come by the store, we are happy to go cast with you at any time any number of rods you might be interested in. Food for thought…
April 26, 2017 All Things Western WA
At this juncture, most are sitting around hoping for the weather to show some sign of allowing spring to arrive. Well it did for about 2-3 hours yesterday which allowed for some great fly fishing on the Sound. Be careful as you step up to your favorite beach these days as the baitfish will often be within 1-2 feet of shore. First cast may or should be from up on the bank a bit, be observant.
The Cle Elum River was pushed back up over 1200 cfs yet again, considerably higher than we like to see it for this time of year and the Yakima is on its way back over 5000 cfs. Some caddis are flying in the lower river as are PMD’s but weather continues to keep temps rather cold meaning the upper river is still seeing some March Browns and even some Baetis at times so come with us the full arsenal, streamers too!
Snoqualmie forks are both out of the question right now and the Olympic Peninsula steelhead season winds up this weekend. Water is in good shape though so if you have some time to get out there one last time go hit it. Lower stretches of the Bogi have been good the past week or so with fresh, chrome bright steelhead still arriving.
Cowlitz River flows are pretty high for many of the swing runs to be “easy” fishing but a couple summer fish have already shown their heads and winter fish continue to spill into the system as well. Look for this to increase on the summer run side here over the next few weeks and hopefully some river flows to drop.
April 25, 2017 Puget Sound, WA
Well as we write this we are still looking at the Yakima sitting at over 4000 cfs but the Cle Elum River has dropped back down to a walk and wade flow level around 200 cfs. That being said, more weather is coming so we expect to see fluctuation in these rivers in the near future.
All the while, Puget Sound has continued to be the bright spot in local trout fishing as the Chum fry has spread throughout the Sound, getting sea run cutthroat excited from Hood Canal and Olympia to Kayak Point and beyond.
Lincoln Park, Kopachuk State Park, Bridge View Park, Purdy and Belfair State Park to name a few have all been producing fish. Small tan or grey clousers, Chum Baby, Foul Free Herring, Sea Run Cutt Bugger and all forms of surface flies have all been working well. Some of the staff have been enjoying the new Airflo Beach line with both intermediate and floating heads on them. We have a load of these in stock so come on in and get ready for the rest of the season.
Spring is here, let’s get you on the water!
April 21, 2017 Puget Sound, WA
Well, as much of the local fly fishing industry sits around awaiting the Yakima River season to begin when the high water hopefully recedes, we are out hitting the Sound because it is fishing well right now. Cutthroat and resident Coho are both roving around and showing their faces on many beaches throughout the Sound.
While some of our staff fishes surface flies much of the time, many are fishing the new Airflo Beach intermediate shooting heads with Foul Free Herring and Fox Fur Glass Minnows as well as standard clousers and such.
We have our big spring event coming up on June 3rd here in West Seattle where you can cast nearly every rod made by Redington, Sage, Scott, Winston, Gloomis, Echo and Epic with the line you would want to use on it.
Don’t wait, fish now…Puget Sound!
Photo Dave McCoy