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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.
Summer Time in WA - June 12, 2019
The options are endless. Between the Puget Sound, Yakima, mountain creeks, bass lakes, carp flats of the Columbia River, alpine lakes, steelhead rivers, etc. Your options are anything but limited.
Puget Sound - Sea Run Cutthroat, Coho & Pink Salmon
As Summer progresses, we are seeing the Sound come to life. Sea Run Cutthroat remains excellent but we are limited to the early hours of morning and late evenings for the most productive fishing. Due to the amount of herring, smelt, anchovies, and sandlance in the Sound, we are fishing with much larger flies than normal. Think bigger, the fish will devour large flies this time of year.
Our salmon runs will be kicking off in July and you can encounter a number of species but we are mostly focusing on Pink Salmon and Coho Salmon. The former will arrive first in mid-July while the larger migratory Coho will arrive shortly after. We will be using 7-8 weight rods, aggressive shooting head lines, and big pink, white, or chartreuse flies.
Cascade Creeks - Native Cutthroat, Rainbows, etc.
Our creek season has really kicked off this week with what we believe to be close to the end of our snowmelt. We are already experiencing some decent fishing in our high drainage’s but it will just get better every day. We typically approach these streams with a 2-3 weight rod and a box full of dry flies. Don’t forget the streamers and nymphs, just in case the fish aren’t willing to come to the top.
This is one of our favorite fisheries throughout the year, for a good reason. It is just plain fun. It is a more friendly fishery than most of our others and is great for anglers of all skill levels. The season is short though, don’t let it get away from you!
Summer Steelhead - Skykomish, Cowlitz, Klickitat, etc.
Our Summer Steelhead fisheries are going well with good reports coming from the Sky and the Cowlitz. Our Columbia River tributaries, like the Klickitat or the Deschutes, will not start showing many fish until later in Summer into Fall.
In low and clear, summer conditions, think lighter and smaller. Our go to set up is a 6-7 weight spey rod (12′-13′6″) with a Airflo Rage head of appropriate size. Pair that with some light poly leaders, floating or sinking, and you’re in the game. We especially like to skate flies in later Summer as it is pretty shocking having a 12lb. hen grab your fly off the surface.
Warmwater - Carp, Bass, Tiger Muskie, etc.
Our warmwater fisheries have been fantastic this year. Whether you want to go after a big toothy critter or small panfish, we have great reports from them both.
Most of our carp are in post-spawn mode and are looking for food once again. These fish can be found all over the state including your local haunts such as Lake Washington, Green Lake, Lake Sammamish, etc. However, we find that most of the best carp fishing is found on the eastside of the mountains in the Columbia River system or beyond. We target these fish with 6-8 weight rods and floating lines. Make sure to have your drag set properly because these fish do not come to hand easily.
Bass fishing has been good all around. Most of our local lakes are done with the spawn and the fish are still in shallow, which is great news for fly anglers. In the heat of the day, we have been finding good luck on sub surface flies while we tend to use poppers in the low light hours. We use 6-8 weight rods and a mix of lines for these fish, floating or sinking.
Muskie fishing has been excellent with good reports coming out of Lake Tapps, Mayfield Reservoir and beyond. This is a fishery that every fly angler needs to try. We use 10-12 weight rods and can be tossing flies at a foot or longer sometimes. It helps to have a boat with this fishery but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a motorized craft. Get out on what you can, just be careful with inflatables and muskie teeth!
May 29, 2019 EWA Fly Fest is June 1st - This Saturday 9-3
Wow, did this sneak up on us fast! June 1st is our Fly Fest at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park here in West Seattle and what a line up we have.
Beginning at 8am, 2 women’s casting classes with Kayla Lockhart, Katy Watt, Kristen Bufe and Jenn Fluke benefiting Casting for Recovery, sign up for the 8am class here…
Kate will also be doing a tying demo of her exquisite summer steelhead flies at the store that evening at 6pm. Sign up for that here…TICKETS
10 AM - Women’s Meet and Greet
10 AM - All Things Spey - Long Belly to Scout
12 PM - Guide Cook - Off
1 PM - Little Blue Lines - Washington’s Fly Fishing Gems
2 PM - Puget Sound - Approach, Tactics and Equipment
2 PM - Warm Water Targets - Carp, Bass and Muskie
Sales reps for Winston, Thomas and Thomas, Loomis, Echo, Sage, Redington and Scott fly rods will be on hand.
Bruce Skinner from Patagonia will also be on hand with the new Danner Boots for everyone to try on and ask questions of.
See everyone bright and early Saturday!
SAVE BRISTOL BAY -- ACT NOW!
The US Army Corps of Engineers continues to move Pebble Mine one step closer to reality in Bristol Bay, AK. Bristol Bay’s fishery supports 14,000 jobs and a $1.5 billion commercial and sport fishing industry. And these are not just AK-based jobs, these are local jobs too.
A mine of this size and scale will decimate the landscape, pollute the water, and destroy our native salmon stocks. Stocks that we rely on.
Pebble Mine can’t come close to this - not to mention what we’ll be left with after they leave. I can’t image a worse situation for Alaska.
Should Pebble’s permit get a rushed, inadequate review? The answer is NO!
Please lend your time and support to the preservation to one of the most valuable resources on our planet. Go to http://www.savebristolbay.org/take-action to take action.
May 13, 2019 All Yakima, All Month
We can sit around and talk about the other potential places to go fishing right now in WA but really, at this point, the Yakima is really the place to be. Spring wild flowers are in full bloom, Mother’s Day caddis hatch is like a winged blanket over the entire river and the trout are looking up, especially later in the day.
Our suggestion would be to strip streamers in the AM until the obvious signs of trout sipping dry flies is upon you and then change over to your favorite light rod and gently land some caddis in those foamy seams. It should remain like this for the next month or more so get a day scheduled and let’s go have some fun. Tossing the trout spey with a caddis across the water in the evenings would be a pretty good time…
Other options though could also be the SF Snoqualmie as it is really low for this time of year already and some trout are already taking advantage of the opportunity to seize some dry flies so there is that.
Puget Sound is doing OK, fish are spotty from the shore at the moment but when found they are cooperative. Some of the baitfish are getting larger so try slightly larger profiled flies and don’t be afraid to stay on top with a Sound Searcher.
Lastly, carp and bass are open arming most of the lakes around here so if you are looking for something a little different and possibly closer to home, check out some of the smaller local lakes, bring some streamers and frog patterns for the bass and come in and discuss carp with Bill, Matt or Cole and get the scoop on how to make these hard fighting fish a part of your daily life.
EWA Fly Fest is June 1st at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park here in West Seattle from 9-3, hope to see everyone there.
Cinco de Mayo, 2019 Early AM Baby
Well, the past week has been as spring like as you could ever ask for in this area. Cloudless days with temps in the high 60′s has put the “early AM” back in our vernacular.
For Puget Sound, we have arrived…arrived at the point where tides need to be more closely watched and time of day can make a difference. This is good practice for when migratory salmon arrive in a couple months. Early AM is going to be a good bet regardless of tide, BUT, if you can coincide a good outgoing tide with the early AM, bingo! That said, don’t not fish just because it isn’t perfect. Plenty of fish have been caught when things aren’t perfect.
Yakima River is VERY low at this minute which means it is apt to change at any given time. PMD’s, March Brown’s and Caddis are present but with water levels fluctuating as they are, be prepared to nymph for a period of the day still.
Steelhead is mostly closed for the month of May so let that rest for a bit unless you really NEED to then the Cowlitz is open and has some fish entering still, not many but a couple. Big news here is change out that Skagit head for a Rage or Scandi, pick up a couple poly leaders and hit the Skykomish when it reopens on June 1st.
Carp are actively moving into shallow water as we speak so come by, ask some questions about when, where, why and how and let us help you enjoy these hard fighting fish you sight cast to. Great practice for your next bonefish trip.
Speaking of June 1st, our EWA Fly Fest and Guide Cook-Off is on June 1st and we have some special guests joining, teach and cooking with us that day. Kayla Lockhart and Katy Watson will be teaching some casting, talking long belly spey casting, BC steelheading, travel and Katy will be doing a summer spey fly demo at the store that evening at 6pm.
Welcome to spring everyone, we look forward to helping you be successful this season where ever that might be.
March 23, 2019 All Poppin’!
Spring has officially arrived and nearly everything in our fly fishing world around WA is now officially ready for you! Yakima and Cle Elum are flowing higher due to the snow melt from recent unseasonably hot weather but the bugs are flying and fish are eating.
Puget Sound has finally received its annual installment of Chum Fry so you know what that means, time to get on the saltwater. We have some great new rods for these two fisheries in house, 6wt Thomas and Thomas Zone and the Loomis IMxPro, both at $495. Be sure to have Chum Baby flies in your box as you head out!
Lastly, the steelhead have been a bit elusive this season but they are here testing the patience of all the steelhead swingers out there. It has been a low and clear water year but with snow melting and some warmer water, fish are moving around and coming in meaning this is the time to be out there hitting it whether that be Skagit/Sauk or OP, either way, just pick one and go!
We have our Women’s Meet and Greet this next Friday evening here at the store. 7pm, snacks and beverages will be provided so please come by. This is a women’s only event.
March 16, 2019 – Chum Fry, Skwala, Creative Steelheading
It’s that time of year where the fish get picky. Make sure you have a variety of sizes in your box to “grow” with the fry over the next few months. With the first few warm days of spring people are starting to scratch the fly fishing itch. Be creative with beach selection and explore some new water!
Skwala stoneflies are here.As we start to see warmer weather we will begin to see more top water action. During the colder parts of the day, focus your attention subsurface: Pat’s Rubber Legs can be a good option. Make sure to have some BWO’s on hand for both sub surface and dry fly. As always, we love to toss streamers. Sculpzillas, and Slumpbusters are a few of our favorites.
With low flows we are having to get creative with our tactics. First light and last light can help increase your chances, however we have found fish sitting in less what than you would think. Remember surface disturbance can create cover even on bright days. Dont be afraid to get down when fishing the deep buckets or stay light and fish inside.
January 21, 2019 Rainy Days and Short Speys
Weather has been about what most would expect here in the PNW of late…rain, with some wind and the occasional sun burst followed immediately by more rain. It is what keeps it so green around here so we’ll take it.
Puget Sound has been fishing very well lately for both cutthroat and resident silvers, particularly in the south Sound. We recently got in some new flies to represent the smaller euphasids and krill which have been present. Of course our own Sound Searcher represents a floating krill pretty well, especially if you remove the eye on the bottom…just saying. We also sniffed out some of our favorite books for access on the Sound…Beach Walks and Hikes Around Puget Sound. Unintentionally a fabulous book for those on foot!
Steelhead season is absolutely upon us. Early winter fish on the O.P. and Skagit have been spoken of so there is no more time to hmmm and haa over it. Our 4th Annual EWA Spey Day is on Feb. 2nd under the Fall City Bridge from 9am to 3pm. Fabulous time to get pointers from our staff and the sales reps who will be on hand, try out some new sticks and otherwise dial in your casting and such for season.
On another steelhead note, we still have some good mid week dates open for the O.P. season into March. Call the store and get on the calendar soon before we are booked solid.
As we move into mid winter, weather will help decide when the Yakima and Cle Elum come alive again. A warmer season will bring about mid winter hatches here soon so if trout is your game, start planning your days accordingly. Also, we will be heavy on the hand of trout spey at our Spey Day so come out and cast a few of the newest trout sized two handed rods and see which lines we are all excited about.
That is it for now, we are always here for questions so don’t be bashful, call, email or stop in if facetime isn’t working, we want you to be successful out there!
1.16.18 Dead Cold Winter
The past couple weeks we have seen downpours, snow, bright sunny days, and cold frosty mornings. This has surely been a Winter of ups and downs. Monsoon rains bring our rivers up and the following dry, cold pulls them back down. If you’re able to hit the water right, you’re in for some good days.
We are still in our “early” season but fishing is picking up. Between our locals “S” rivers and the OP, you have plenty of water to dip your toes in. Fortunately, for all those dwelling in the Seattle sprawl, the Skykomish just reopened for Steelhead fishing and will resume the normal season. The Skagit has had glimmers of fish when the conditions are right and we have been seeing a few big fish being picked out in some of the rivers on the OP. In our recent low and clear conditions, we are throwing heavy tips and lightly weighted flies. Focus on the deeper parts of runs and work the buckets heavily.
We still have availability for the OP this coming season and will be opening up more space shortly. Give the shop a call if you want to book a trip! (206) 708-7250
The past couple weeks on the Sound have been ridiculous. In a fishery that we often dub as “predictably unpredictable”, it has been exactly the opposite. Even with the crazy tides that we have experienced, the fish are voracious and coming so close to your feet that you could tickle them. Hot flies have been the Coastal Critter, Glass Minnow, and Mini Deceivers. In addition, for those fly tyers out there, throw a bit “pop” into your fly. Try orange, chartreuse, or pink baitfish. You will be surprised at the response you receive with bright colors this time of year.
The Yak is still fishing great despite the colder weather. Our best luck has come on bigger streamers as we have found that the fish willing to move for a fly will want to make the most out of their caloric output. In addition to that, you can really pick apart a hole using Euro Nymph techniques and tungsten jig head flies (can be found at our shop). The best part of the day is going to be when the sun is highest and the water warms up slightly. The fish will take advantage of the more comfortable conditions so fish hard when you can be most effective.
12.22.18 We’re almost there…
We have had a crazy couple weeks here in the Seattle area. From high water to wind, it has been difficult to get on the water, even for the toughest of anglers. Fortunately, the weather is looking better in the coming week, there are wild steelhead trickling into our local rivers, and SRC fishing could not be better.
Our local bread and butter has been phenomenal recently. We have found that the best flies have been ones that incorporate some sort of “hot spot”. Think oranges, pinks, greens, etc. Anything that pops and can get a SRC’s attention. In the next week, we have some perfect morning tides which are convenient for squeezing in a few hours before lunch and holiday duties.
Fishing has been great on the Yakima recently when the water stays consistent. With the warmer low pressure system we saw this last week, the fish have been feeding and are not opposed to chasing down that chunky streamer that has been sitting at the bottom of your box, waiting for action. My favorites for this time of year are Dolly Llama’s, Circus Peanut’s, and Sculpzilla’s. Trout Spey is especially fun this time of year in the deeper buckets.
The time is now! After this most recent high water event, there are some wild winter fish in the system. In fringe conditions, like we will see often this season, fish light and to the bank. I prefer dark colors in low-visibility conditions and unweighted tube flies so I can swing way into the shallows. Best flies for this part of the season would be Hartwick’s Marabou Tubes or Flashtails, Loop Leeches, and Guide Intruders. Our OP season will be picking up shortly and we will have guides stationed out there in about a month. For now, most of our fishing is directed in the “S” Rivers north of Seattle.
Side note: If you are new to the Spey game and looking for your first big rod, we provide a free Intro To Spey Lesson with a purchase of a Spey rod/reel/line package. We have a class on 1/5 that still has one spot open.
If you have any questions on local fisheries, where to go and what to use, please feel free to give us a call! (206) 708-7250