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.
July 9, 2018 That Time of Year…
We’ve been balking at it for some time now but honestly believe IT has arrived. It being the time of year where there are more options than days and daylight to chase fish around the PNW.
Bass, carp and muskie on lakes are en fuego…big surface flies are working great for the small and large mouth bass in local lakes while small bottom flies are working for carp on local Seattle lakes as well as out east, stick with orange and brown for now it seems with a little orange thrown in for good measure.
Puget Sound has actually be good, especially on outgoing tides and when the sun has been shielded by the clouds which has been often these past few weeks. Surface flies as always as well as some polychaete worms or just plain old clousers in sand lance and herring sizes with darker backs.
A few steelhead have come to hand on the Skykomish and even the Skagit and of course the Cowlitz is just hitting its summer stride so swing away, water on all of these is in perfect shape right now. Would still throw a t-7 or t-10 sink tip unless you just want to throw a Scandi or Rage head and have fun, then go for it.
Lastly the Cedar, Yak, Cle Elum and all the small streams around here are finally at a place where at least in the afternoon, dry flies should be welcomed with open arms. Caddis would be good but so would Stimulators and possibly a small dropper behind if fishing early in the AM.
If hitting the water with your Tenkara or Trout Spey, swing up those trout with soft hackles, they have been very receptive lately and even skating dry flies with them as well.
In short, get out there, the fly fishing world is waiting for you. Let us know how we can help!
June 30, 2018 It’s GO TIME
With the resent cold front, fish have been a little more lethargic than last week. We have been able to find some great fish, most of which are in shallower sections of the river including the riffle and pocket water behind nice structure. Due to the cold water temperatures and therefore high oxygen contents, fish are not as reliant upon turbulent water as later in the season. Therefore, do not overlook some of the seemingly skinny areas that you might walk right by later in the year. As far as patterns, we have been able to get quite a number of fish on sub surface nymphs both dead drifted and tight-line swung. On some of our larger mountain creeks, like the Cedar, we have found quite a few streamer eating fish. Popular patterns have been white and cream wooly buggers as well as sculpin. As far as top water options, we have seen a lot of PMD’s throughout the day as well as some BWO’s during the overcast parts of the day. When temperatures have been at their peak of the day, large stimulators have been the name of the game. For those who are newer to the small dry fly game, try a larger stimulator as an “indicator” and tie 12-18” of mono off of the shank of the stimi in order to fish a small PMD or BWO. Do your best to keep your eye on the smallest fly and if you lose sight, rely on the larger fly as a reference. Set the hook any time something strikes within a country mile and you will be surprised by the results!
The Yak has been in great shape but wind has been the limiting factor. We have had lots of success on PMD’s, BWO’s, big Drakes, and small Yellow Stones. For those who enjoy fishing streamers, we have had success on the sculpzilla as well as Cone head wooly buggers, Wiggle Flasha Bugger, and the Beldare Rubber Leg. Temperatures will begin to rise as we head into the weekend but be aware of the high winds this weekend. Wind will play a significant factor as we go forward.
The Puget Sound has been fantastic. With overcast day’s we are able to fish throughout the day and are finding a ton of fish looking up! A lot of people have been complaining about the seaweed on our local waters. We just got a line of TAKE stripping baskets that could solve your problems! Come on by to check them out.
We are just warming up here people! Now is the time to dust off the old Scandi line and start organizing your poly leaders, put away the heavy Skagit heads and have some fun skating flies and tossing smaller traditional flies. Give us a call if you need any recommendations or help with casting instruction, a guided float trip, or flies that we love to fish this time of year.
June 23, 2018 It’s GO TIME!
Water levels are down, trout are looking up, there are blue lines without names that need to be explored and it is already nearing them end of June. As the water begins to warm in the creeks, trout will be more active and it already seems to be doing so nearly everywhere in WA.
Due to the circumstances of their living conditions, trout in most of these small streams must be opportunistic with their feeding habits so matching hatches isn’t always necessary. Attractor patterns such as the illustrious Royal Wulff, Humpy, H&L Variant, Stimulator and Trude can all be warmly received by these trout.
In the streams where water is still fairly high, slightly larger sizes might entice otherwise still lethargic trout to the surface with the idea of a more “calorically” valuable offering.
We have a giant stack of Dave Shorett’s books for the Central Cascades as well as Mt. Rainier area which will invariably help nearly any angler locate some new water this summer so come on in.
June 18, 2018 Summer Fly Fishing!
Wahoo, it feels as though summer is officially here. Warm weather, clear water and our resident trout looking up. Water remains a little high and still fluctuating a bit on some of the small streams in the Cascades but…they are fishing and will only continue to get better as we move into the core of summer.
The Cedar River, our local small stream running through Renton just south of Seattle opened the season with a bang. Lower than expected water and trout already paying attention to surface flies was an unexpected surprise.
We get a ton of questions about where to access the Cedar and the short answer is all over. If you pull up google earth, you can see the vast number of natural areas and parks of which most have easy access to the water. With flows continuing to drop, once in, you can fairly easily wade long stretches of the river and if you stop in, we are always happy to go over what we know with you.
Flies in this part of the season vary a bit still. Log jams will hold fish and many times swinging and pulsing a streamer across the cushion on the front edge of the log jam can bring some nice sized trout out of their lies with spectacular takes. Otherwise nymphing with Pat’s Stone and either Copper Johns or Lightning Bugs on the back work well and never, ever pass up the opportunity to skate a stimulator or caddis across a seam. Just take the extra minute to change up and do it!
We have been having a bit of fun tossing trout speys on the upper Cedar, Snoqualmie Forks and some of the larger streams in the mountains. Expect to see much more on this topic in the near future.
Any questions, please call, email or stop in and ask, we are here to help you be successful out there and are happy to see it.
May 3, 2018 Sound, Yak, Large Scales and Warm-water
Ah May…such a love/hate relationship with this month. While on one hand everything is in bloom, it also leaves us with virtually no steelhead in our immediate surroundings but…both the Yakima and Puget Sound as well as Carp (aka Large Scales) are fishing very well at this time. This time among the multitude of hatches both floral and insect, everyone should be out fishing.
On the Yakima front, we are on the cusp of what was once a famed Mother’s Day caddis hatch that seems to inch its way later into the month every year. Roller coaster flows will be a challenge for the walk and wade anglers but if you have the desire to continue swinging flies, we are absolutely hitting the Yakima with trout or micro spey rods because it is that much fun. Super light two handed rods and trout ripping the fly either skittered on the surface or as a soft hackle is a blast, we would love to show you. PMD’s, a few March Brown’s up high and caddis are all present at the moment some come prepared.
The Sound on the other hand, while tides act a bit like the Yakima with rising and falling water levels, has been so placid lately and the water is littered with tons of pink fry as well as every growing chum fry and other baitfish of the season. As the sun begins to creep up in the sky, getting on the water earlier and earlier will be not only helpful but essential. Knowing how your favorite beach looks at various tide levels is also crucial. Please come in and ask if you want help putting all these pieces together.
Large scales are already fishing well in eastern WA which means we should see some of the local lakes around Seattle heat up for bass and carp. We are ramping up our bass and carp fly selection for just this reason. So if you are looking for something new to challenge yourself and put giant bends in your rod, bass and carp are IT! Come in and let us help you figure these fish out because they are abundant and extraordinarily fun.
Lastly is summer steelhead is just around the corner. The Skykomish always fishes very well the first couple of weeks after it reopens so if you want to get out and swing we have availability to do so, call now and book.
June 2nd is our EWA Fly Fest at Me Kwa Mooks Park here in West Seattle. We will have all of our reps for all the rod companies there…T&T, Winston, Sage, Loomis, Echo, Scott and Hardy and we will have Airflo, Rio and SA lines to cast on all of them, both single and two handed. Free clinics and lunch will be provided and this is free to the public. See everyone soon, don’t let May pass you buy without wetting a line.
April 18, 2018 Looking Ahead
We are going to give steelhead season a woop woop and high five for being better than expected. While there are a handful of days left in the season here in WA on a couple of different rivers, we are closing the book on it. As usual, those of us in the “swing only” world of guiding and there aren’t many did very well this season. Summer is almost upon us, some great opportunities to swing for summer steel so please be in touch to book.
The Yakima, when not in roller coaster mode has been fishing well. March Browns and BWO still up high. It has been cold but there seems to be some better weather coming soon so expect caddis and PMD to be here before you know it. While we don’t talk about it much, we DO GUIDE the Yakima and are happy to get you on the river with our perspective.
One thing we are doing different from most is swinging flies with trout spey’s. This is a blast, shows you a different side to the Yak by approaching it from down and across perspective. We have some great micro spey rods as well from Echo, Thomas and Thomas, Winston and Gloomis. Come give it a try especially if steelhead season didn’t provide enough tugs to completely scratch that itch.
Puget Sound is in its mid spring mode…watch the wind, deal with the rain, know the tide and be prepared to change beaches. Fish are definitely there but are already on the move. Pink and Chum fry are abound, as are Polychaete, Copapod and Euphasid so have a good smattering in the box!
Coming up, we have bass and carp as well. Carp tourney is on July 20 and 21 so if you fancy yourself as an accomplished angler, come give these bad boys a try. Banks Lake, more details on the website are in the store. Jason has been sniffing out some cool bass trips too so let us know if you would like to broaden your horizons.
Lastly, it is almost creek time. One of our favorite times of year where we open Pandora’s Box to you on where to go, when and why. Most of the small waters open June 2nd but most won’t really be available to safely navigate until later in the month.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come in and get a game plan together, put pins on a map and be ready to jump when the drill sergeant says to! These are Washington’s greatest trout asset in our opinion as they are numerous and few anglers pay any attention to them. We have spent 20 years playing around up in these parts and are happy to share what we know so come on in.
Finally, our EWA Fly Fest is June 2nd as well. Come try all the rods we carry with all possible lines and get professional instruction on the various fisheries in our region. Sage, Winston, Thomas and Thomas, Echo, Loomis, Scott, Hardy and Redington will all be there. FREE LUNCH and our staff cook-off, 9am - 4pm at Me Kwa Mooks Park in West Seattle. Always a good time…happy spring everyone.
Photo Caldwell “Rohr” Rohrbach
April 3, 2018 Winter Steel…Nearing the End
It is always with mixed emotions we come to this time of year. Our passion is swinging flies for winter steelhead here in WA but after months of it on end, we are ready for a bit of a break!
This being said, it is only early April and we still have a few great weeks that have always proven to be fantastic for finding some big, fresh wild chrome on the Olympic Peninsula.
Forecast is for rain all week so we will just have to see how fast it comes and in what quantities to get a better feel for how the rivers will respond. Our sense is they should be fine and the push of fresh water will likely bring the water up enough to move fish around but not enough to NOT be out there. That being said, having a boat is going to help.
Any questions, we are always here to bounce ideas off, help tie a new fly, find some walk in water or get in just a bit of a casting lesson to ensure you time on the water is as enjoyable as possible.
Have a great week everyone, see you on the rio!
March 27, 2018 Seychelles and Beyond…
We apologize for the lack of reports lately but our staff has been BUSY! While this report could go on and on for pages, we are going to keep it to the point…
First is a report on the Seychelles from Dave…all the hype surrounding this location is all true. Scenery, brilliant guides, great food and sight casting 100 percent of the time for GT’s, big bones and Bumpies! It was an amazing trip and while Dave was there, Caldwell, better known as “Rohr” was in Christmas Island doing exactly the same thing with similar results…fantastic trips all around.
Puget Sound - Sound is on fire as it should be right now. Chum fry are spreading throughout our salty waters and all predatory fish are paying close attention. Chum Baby, Sound Searcher and Foxy Minnow with some Rolled Muddler thrown in are all working great so get out there. Want to learn how to approach this fishery quickly, hire us, we know it very well and are happy to pour out the info in our heads for you.
OP Steelhead - Wow is about all we can say. If you are paying attention to the creel reports and NOT going out to fish, big mistake! For us as swing only guides we have been not only finding some fish but some very nice ones in the upper teens size wise. We don’t treat this fishery or any for that matter as a numbers game so expectations have been met regularly. Water has been in good shape, maybe a bit low at times but with a bit of fresh rain, would expect it to be amazing here for the remainder of the season. We have a couple open spots during April if there was a fleeting interest, please be in touch.
Yakima River - As has been the tale the past few years, this is a volatile time of year on the ole Yak. We should be seeing some steady flows with BWO and a few Skwala flying and they have been but with flows fluctuating, it has been a mixed bag of success lately. Water remains cold but maybe that will change here soon igniting the spring hatches of PMD and Caddis so get ready. Flows are currently pretty high for walk and wade but the Cle Elum is in great shape so direct immediate focus there if on foot.
March 6, 2018 Puget Sound
The season is upon us! Fishing has been excellent recently and we are seeing more happy Sea Run Cutthroat reentering our salty waters to get fat once again. Hot flies have been Chum Baby’s, Tak’s Minnie Minnow, and small Clouser Minnows. Fishing will continue to get hot towards the latter half of the month as we have some favorable tides for fishing.
The water is low and clear but we have been seeing strong pushes of tidal fish in the lower stretches of our coastal rivers. These fish are fresh from the salt, often with sea lice, and full of vigor from their long journey. Think soft and near the bank as these fish are finding the easiest possible path to reach the spawning grounds. Hot flies have been Hartwick’s Marabou Tube, Mini Intruders, and Fish Tacos.
We have availability in the latter half of this month for both Sea Run Cutthroat trips and OP Steelhead. Call the shop to schedule a trip (206) 708-7250.
Photo #1: Caldwell Rohrbach
Photo #2: Cole Leishman
February 22, 2018
To say that the sound has been hot would be an understatement; it has been fantastic! We are finding consistently good action on hungry resident coho within casting distance of our beaches close to home. The Blackmouth fishing has been good recently as well and these fish will surely put a bend in your five or six weight rod. The hot flies have been the Chum Baby, Sound Searcher, Sea Run Bugger, and Clouser Minnows in small sizes.
Our beloved Sea Run Cutthroat will be reentering their saltwater lies shortly as they will be finishing up spawning during the remainder of the month into early March. Be sure to take extra care of these post-spawn fish as they need every bit of help they can get after their strenuous journey.
Although it is early, we have seen some schools of Chum Fry in the Sound. We are starting with small versions of these flies in order to match the early salt Chum fry. As the next few weeks progress we will start “matching the hatch” and growing our patterns with the available food source.
We have had some great fishing this week and the fish have still been grabby even with the cold temperatures and low water. As the rivers drop, decrease the size of your flies and go light on the flash. During these periods of low flows, the fish require a more subtle presentation.
Due to a last minute cancellation, we have guide days available early next week in addition to prime dates coming up during next month. If you want to schedule a guided steelhead trip, give us a call at the shop (206) 708-7250.
Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. Stay warm out there, folks!
Photo #1: Caldwell Rohrbach
Photo #2: Debbie Gillespie