Probably our favorite aspect of fly fishing around Seattle is the diversity from season to season. Yes, each of us on the staff have a favorite fishery we enjoy spending time on the most but even then, we get a bit anxious to do something new every couple months. We are in the midst of that shift and couldn't be more excited about it.
Snoqualmie Forks and Mountain Creeks - These are, for the most part done for the season. Yes, most are open until the end of the month but with the cold evenings, the water temps have dropped and alas, much of the dry fly season in the small streams is about done. There may still be some days here and there so maybe don't give up entirely but expect the results to have changed from a couple weeks ago. Can you put a dropper on behind a slightly larger dry fly or swing soft hackles? Absolutely and do so if those are your homewater streams. We prefer not to nymph ourselves on the small streams but it can be fruitful for sure. Little Lightning Bugs or Copper John's behind a Stimulator will be effective. Smaller soft hackles in olive, brown or light tan would also work and will show you how hard those smaller fish can strike a fly.
Puget Sound - This fishery may contradict our comments above about being anxious to try something new because we are in the midst of having Coho/Silver salmon return and they pose an entire different narrative for the Sound. Bigger, stronger and more aggressive, these fish will take the same flies as the sea run cutthroat but will also be more than happy to show you your backing, for reel (real)...Less kelp in the water, foggy mornings and almost everyone is off chasing trout on the Yakima, the Sound is eerily void of fly anglers right now. Still some big tides but they aren't going to match up with daylight as well as they do during the summer so we are at that stage of fish moving water, in or out going and fish when you can fish.
Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers - This is as good as it gets for these two rivers...October Caddis represented by orange Stimulator's or larger orange flies with similar profile are our first choice followed closely by BWO's or Blue Winged Olives, a small Mayfly trout this time of year love. Streamers are also a good option and with water levels down where they are, this river is an open book. Pick a location, get in the water and explore. Trout spey this time of year is also a great way to take a different approach to the newly found structure of runs and pools. Slowing everything down and pacing through a run will put the Yakima in a different light than the usual drifting pass small pockets of water along the bank. It is ALWAYS good to know all ways to fish a piece of water. Fishing from a boat is fantastic of course and we love it too but learning with both feet in the water is the single greatest way to pick water apart, figure it out and become a better fly angler.
Steelhead - Fall is when water temps drop and some of those fish sitting out in the estuary for the past couple months waiting for the river water to become more appealing now have their moment. Pulses of fish will sprint into the watersheds and find their way up stream fast. Also lower light in the sky and those same water temps ignite the existing fish to become a bit more aggressive or opportunistic...aka, willing to chase a fly down, particularly a swinging one. Cowlitz, Kalama, Skagit, Sauk, Klickitat and Deschutes are all ready for ya so go get 'em.
That may not seem like much but that equates to a ton of opportunity to keep your feet in the water which you should be doing 12 months of the year around Seattle. Thank you for reading, let us know what sort of questions we can answer for you because that is what we are here for, helping you have fun!
EWA Staff | 206-708-7250 | shop@emeraldwateranglers | @ewaflyshop_seattle