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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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
Very excited to see our Bhutan film put out the official trailer as it heads towards its world premier in Denver at DocuWest International Film Fest next weekend. Check it out…
May 3, 2016 Yakima River, WA
The Yak is back! All be it still slightly higher than we would prefer, flows on the Yakima have stabilized and clarity is excellent right now. Flows in the Lower Canyon have finally dropped below 5000 cfs and are hovering at 4800 cfs right now. We are crossing our fingers that these flows will continue to drop somewhat. But either way, the good news is that the river is at a fishable level and should remain so for the rest of the spring into the summer.
Unfortunately, the high flows tend to make wade fishing pretty difficult throughout most of the river. However, if you have a drift boat, have a buddy (insert uncle, inlaw, guy next door that owes you a favor) with a drift boat, or are heading out with one of our guides you are in great shape. For those not so fortunate, there are a handful of places that are still accessible to wading anglers even in these higher flow conditions (with caution). Stop by and we would be happy to share some of these spots.
Over the last few days we have seen decent bug activity on the water…March Browns, Blue Wing Olives, Caddis, and even a couple of Salmon Flies have been spotted. We found a few risers in softer currents on the inside seems of faster water and along the banks, but most success has been had stripping big-ish streamers and dead drifting stoneflies and generic mayfly nymphs (ie. pheasent tails, lightning bugs, prince nymphs, hares ears).
Overall, fishing on the Yak has been very “hot and cold”, with some days netting many fish and others pretty slow. With the flows stabilizing, we should see a window of consistently good fishing before the summer heat hits.
As always, let us know any questions you may have about the Yak or elsewhere. Interested in hitting the Yak with one of our guides? Check out our Yakima trip page here or give us a call 206-708-7250.
photo and report: Reid Curry
April 24, 2016 Spring in WA
Fresh back for the final week on the Olympic Peninsula, what a great way to end the season. Fantastic clients, very few other anglers on the water and some fish willing to chase the swung fly. It ended a bit like this followed by a couple celebratory fist bumps and maybe a quick nip of some brown water. That said, water was low and clear but some cloud cover proved to be the ticket.
Yakima continues to experience a roller coaster of water flows making those hoping to walk and wade the spring left to watch from the sidelines or find a boat to fish from. In all honesty, it has been so so over here despite what others might say. In the right place at the right time, sure but consistency has yet to arrive.
Puget Sound has a bit of a wrestling match on its hands. Current state is if WDFW and their co-managers can’t come to an agreement on how to deal with the projected low returns of coho, the ENTIRE Sound will be closed to fishing. If you had hoped to do anything in the Sound, you better show your support for finding an agreement. More to come on our Facebook page…
The warm weather of the past week even blew out the South Fork of the Snoqualmie, this will likely happen again so pay close attention to the links above our report where we highlight ideal flows on various rivers before launching yourself towards any of these fisheries.
Had a great time at Greenlake of all places the other day. While teaching some casting lessons, carp casually swam through our legs prompting us to grab a few flies and just see what if…well they ate as expected and as they continue to cruise the shallows, one would be foolish to not head down and try your hand in this urban fishery, why the heck not! Small brown crabs, crawdads, black and brown rubber legged stonefly nymphs and similar bugs/crustaceans caught plenty of attention.
Questions, don’t hesitate to come in and ask, call and inquire, write and find out or even text…we are here for you!
photo Dave McCoy
April 19, 2016 Saltwater Anywhere!
Getting to that time of year where more people begin to dust off and shake the spider webs off their fly rods so a small bit of advice going into the season…rinse your gear off! Take it from several of us who spend a tremendous amount of time in the salt both locally and internationally the better your take care of your equipment the more friendly it is with you!
Puget Sound - We just can’t say enough about this fishery, we have been guiding it since 1999, love it dearly and are seeing a return of fish to some of our favorite beaches around the Sound. Still in the honeymoon period for a bit longer where time of day isn’t a huge difference yet but certainly early AM and later in the evening when the sun is lower are going to be prime. Moving tides, go subsurface if you feel you need to on flat, calm sunny days, otherwise pick up and move, find beaches with shade on the water or estuaries of rivers and streams where water will have some cooler and moving characteristics. Flies are up to you. Dave fishes on the surface nearly all the time and doesn’t seem to have issues catching fish. Jason and Alex are subsurface quite a bit with small clousers in tan and gray, Chum Baby is still working as is the Cutt Bugger. Last bit of advice…get out and fish the Sound, it is so close there just aren’t excuses, not many anyway.
Yakima - Beginning to fish like we enjoy seeing it. This warm weather heading our way should help considerably by warming water temps and forcing some of these hatches to occur. March Brown’s are one of our favorites as large mayflies emerge in the shallow gravel shoals and trout hang just below picking them as they bump shoulders with each other. Caddis will be here shortly so break out the elk hair and start tying or get in and pick some up so you are prepared at the drop a hat to get over there.
Steelhead - O.P. season is winding up and it has been a pretty good one from our standards. Since all we do is swing flies, we have found some fantastic days out there the past few weeks. Warm weather is going to likely throw some color into the Bogi, Hoh and Queets so plan early AM jaunts to take advantage of some slightly clearer water. Can probably go a bit lighter on your tips if you haven’t already. T-10 should be sufficient to get done what you need done. Flies? Fish what holds your confidence, thus far we have landed fish in the past couple weeks on blue, black, black and blue, orange, olive and white…
Creeks/Snoqualmie Forks - Forks look great but water remains pretty cold. Going underneath will work with standards like Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails and so on. Pay attention in the evenings to the slower moving water for little noses poking up though…
photo Dave McCoy
April 15 Puget Sound, WA
Richard Hoffmann chasing some actively feeding sea runs in absolutely beautiful conditions. Several fish to the net on this day, including 4 or 5 in about 8 casts. When you find them, you find them.
This time of year starts to also bring back some bigger tide swings on Puget Sound, so target those big swings as it should get fish moving. The South Sound and Hood Canal have both been churning out good numbers of fish, with almost all of them crashing the surface for either top water patterns or lightly weighted ones.
If you’re looking to get out this weekend we’d recommend checking out some new beaches in the South Sound or Hood Canal as you have some low tides in the mornings and Saturday afternoon that will give you a chance to see the structures you fish over at higher tides. Since the weather is also calling for some clouds, it should produce some really good fishing conditions. Smaller, thin profiled flies have been the go-to patterns as well as the Sound Searcher on top as well.
Additionally, the O.P. season is still in swing until the end of this month on select rivers. The Hoh and the Queets River both close at the end of today, April 15th. The Quillayute system rivers are open until the end of this month, these rivers include the Quillayute, Bogachiel, Sol Duc, and Calawah Rivers. All rivers are at fishable flows right now, with fairly low and clear conditions. Consider downsizing flies to match the clear water and reach for slightly more natural colors than you might otherwise during the higher winter flows. Some favorites for these conditions would be Hoh-Bo speys in black/wine or black/green butt or classics such as Winter’s Hopes, Orange Herrons, or Lady Carolines. We are still finding some steelhead on the swing right now, with increased encounters with cutthroat and dollies. Want to change things up a bit on the OP? This is the time of year to stash a 4wt dry fly rod along with you and entertain yourself with the frequent hatches and eager cutthroat found throughout the OP rivers this time of year. Get out while the gettin’ is good, as the majority of OP rivers will close on April 30th (with the Hoh and Queets closing today, 4/15).
Unfortunately the Yakima most likely won’t be in shape for a little while because of high water flows being released to make room for the snow melt in the mountains.
The Forks of the Snoqualmie on the other hand are still a touch high, but are close to fishable levels if you are itching to get out on some trout rivers. Flows on the South Fork are right around 300, and the Middle Fork is around 900. With those flows, you might find a few fishing willing to look up to dries, but if not, nymphs and small streamers on slower water should find some fish. With warm weather coming on Monday and Tuesday, that should bump these flows back up to unfishable conditions with snow melt so get out this weekend while flows are pretty good for this time of year!
Let us know if we can answer any questions, or point you in the right direction for some fisheries this weekend!
Photo: Alex Collier
April 10, 2016 Puget Sound, Washington
As we move into spring, the fishing only improves on many of our local fisheries including Puget Sound. Chum fry are spread far and wide by this point bringing SRC’s to most beaches. Good tides right now are rendering most access points in perfect shape too. Chum Baby flies working well as are small tan clousers.
Forks of the Snoqualmie are actually in pretty good shape right now too. Water temp is pretty low, around 44 degrees so will require going sub surface most likely though late in the evening there have been some great hatches coming off, baetis and midge in particular.
Yakima River has been seeing some fluctuation in flow due to the warm weather lately leading to some run-off. Again baetis hatches have been pretty solid along with some March Brown’s if in the right place at the right time.
O.P. steelhead season is heading to an end but the water has been in great shape and fish have been quite happy to pick up the swung fly lately. Hoh and Queets will be done on the 15th of this month so better get in your last licks here soon.
Rattlesnake Lake has been a fun fishery lately as well with evening risers to dry flies. Boat is obviously a great way to access most of this lake but we did manage a few from shore the other night so don’t let not having a boat deter you. Parachute Adams among other flies were perfect, eaten with no hesitation.
We are happily guiding all of these right now which means you should be on the water yourself, let us know how to help.
photo Dave McCoy