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.
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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
April 19, 2017 Winter Steel Winding Down, Spring Trout Winding UP!
Here we sit just past mid April and still swinging beautiful, fresh wild steelhead up on the lower stretches of the O.P. rivers that remain open. We noticed this hen still had a couple sea lice on her tail as she swam off after being the inaugural steelhead for Christy after having moved here from Colorado just a few months ago and picking up the spey rod for the first time. Not sure who was more excited, Jason and Christy! Anyway, still some days left to find one more of these for you this year, water is in great shape.
Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers - While the Yak has mostly been in fluctuation with exception of the upper river but the Cle Elum is at the moment in great shape. March Browns, early AM baetis and some afternoon PMD’s showing their faces so come prepared.
Puget Sound - Salmon fry has worked its way throughout most of the Sound at this point so we are watching cutts and resident silver salmon trouncing them accordingly. Chum Baby still working well as are small clousers in tan and gray. For those into the surface don’t be there without the Sound Searcher. We are starting to find light for longer portions of the day, it won’t be long before you will want to be on the water as early as possible when the sunny days begin to be more frequent.
Eastern Lakes - Chironomids have been producing on many of the basin lakes such as Nunnally and Lenice to name but a couple. Look for all those lovely hatches to begin here very soon. We are also going to be bringing a carp tournament to the region this summer so stay tuned for that.
Creeks - Looking ahead, with our snow pack, expect many of your favorite small streams to be a bit late to come into shape this season. We often use the Middle Fork of the Sno to help gauge when some of the other small waters will be ready for their first visit. We are expecting late June to begin seeing water levels at a place where we can get up in there and start fishing dry flies for our favorite little trout.
June 3rd we are hosting our 3rd Annual EWA Fly Fest at Me Kwa Mooks Park here in West Seattle. At no other time will you have the ability to cast GLoomis, Sage, Winston, Echo, Epic, Scott all side by side with a staff of IFFF instructors and sales reps on hand to answer questions. Free clinics on double hauling, steelhead opportunities and a boat comparison by our staff. 10am-4pm, food and beverages will be on hand.
April 2nd, 2017 - Puget Sound, Washington
The Sound has been en fuego the past month or so and will continue to be a terrific fishery for locals and traveling anglers into Seattle. Chum fry are everywhere which means Chum Baby, Gray Clousers, Oil Slicks and other small baitfish patterns will work quite well now and for the next month or more. No time like the present to learn and find a few of these for yourself.
Olympic Peninsula steelhead will continue to be fresh from the ocean all month long and the weather looks as though it is going to cooperate as well. Warmer temps mean warmer water which means you can likely put the T-18 away and stick with the easier to cast and mange T-14 tips and lighter flies. That is if you were fishing down and dirty before if not stay with what was working!
Yakima River is trying very hard to begin its spring leap into regular and accountable hatches though it is still getting a few punches from Mother Nature keeping water temps in flux and halting hatches on colder days. So, pay attention to the days you are hoping to get out and know you may see everything from March Browns and Baetis to Skwala and PMD, it will just depend on where you are and when.
We have some fabulous hosted travel coming up over the next year or more including Russia, Christmas Island, Tierra del Fuego, British Columbia and Iceland. Check it out and let us know if you would like to be on our newsletter list or if you want to join one of our staff on a trip you won’t soon forget!
Photo Dave McCoy
Mid March Fishing Around Seattle
Here we are hitting our stride into the spring season and while it is raining pretty hard outside, many of our local fisheries are in great shape. Here is a brief look and some suggestions to consider for the next month or so.
Steelhead - Nobody is going to deny it has been a wet and cold year in the area. What the rain seems to bring to everyone is a doom and gloom regarding being on the water in search of steelhead which is unfortunate.
Yes, rain brings high water but high water does not always mean not worth fishing, in fact it can mean just the opposite. Knowing which rivers and which runs on those rivers are going to allow for standing, casting and swinging flies is part of each anglers quiver of knowledge that helps them be successful.
High water often times bring the steelhead closer to the bank where longer casts are unnecessary. Some rivers clear faster or don’t color at all. Yes, high water will mean things such as back cast space, wading depth and favorite runs are not ideal, having to work a bit harder for your time out there will always make the success fishing feel that much better. Get to know which these and don’t be afraid to take notes when in the store talking with us, we are here to help. That said, we have a ton of April dates still open if you want to get out with us and learn how, where, when, why and with what from us.
Puget Sound - With all this rain, the Sound remains steadfast in its ability to stay clear and provide a terrific fly fishing experience when all else is shot. In addition, it has been fishing extraordinarily well of late so really no excuse for not wetting a line this weekend. Lincoln Park, Saltwater State Park, Meadowdale Park and Bridge View Park have all been turning out consistent fish to anglers. Blackmouth, resident Coho and cutthroat have all been greeting anglers willing to grab their 5,6 or 7wt rods with floating lines and couple streamers.
Yes, it isn’t the Yakima but with the Yakima flowing at about 5-6K cfs, this would be a great time to get to know your local saltwater fishery. It is close and easy and more than likely the equipment you have will work no problem, just provide a nice freshwater rinse after use. Any questions let us know.
Yakima - A few Skwala stones have been showing themselves on the Yakima. This means trout are on point looking to gobble up those calories after having been deprived all winter of big juicy bugs. At this time the Yak is pretty high but the Cle Elum is down and clear and the cutthroat in there are just as willing to play the game. Pat’s Stones, LIghtning Bugs, Copper John’s, PT’s and if you are just a little bit crazy throw some Skwala dries, just in case!
Photo Reid Curry
February 23, 2017. Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound…Again!
For the first time in some time it does appear the entire WA coast will be in shape this coming weekend for those steelheaders looking to find one of these. Fishing during the past week has been quite good with steelhead coming to the swung fly every day on a number of rivers. We just had a lat minute cancellation for Friday through Sunday so we have a rare weekend opening if anyone was hoping to get on the water with us on short notice.
Puget Sound - What we wait for every new year has already begun, the Chum fry migration. Small little Chum salmon have officially started to enter the Sound which means every sea run cutthroat will be acting as if they are at an all you can eat buffet for the next couple months. If you have ever even once thought of getting yourself out on our local saltwater to just try it out, now would be the time to do so. Joining the fiesta have also been some very good sized resident Blackmouth and Coho salmon. Small tan and gray clousers, Chum Baby and for those with an affinity for surface flies the Sound Searcher have been working very well. Hood Canal to Lincoln Park and beaches every where in between are seeing fish so no excuses right now!
Yakima River - Another time of great interest to fly anglers in the region is the presence of winter stones Skwala;s. They are climbing as we speak out of the water and onto the surrounding rocks, grass and logs, bringing trout to the banks in search of them. As usual subsurface will be most effective but the occasional opportunistic trout may pay your dry fly some attention if you persist. Blue winged olives continue to impress during the morning and evening too.
All in all, good time to be fishing around Seattle right now so don’t be bashful. Ask us where, when, how and why so we can help you find success this weekend.
Photo Tom Mahan