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.
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
December 13, 2018. Spey Time…Among Other Things
Ok, water is now cold, snow is on the lower peaks surrounding Seattle, ski shops are a bustling mess of people which means…winter steelhead, we didn’t need to tell you that just thinking out loud.
There are rivers all over western WA at this time that are open and may have a sizeable chrome fish swimming in them so no better time than now to get your swing on. We are super excited about several new rods out there on the market, Thomas and Thomas, Gloomis, Echo and Winston and we are well versed in all of them with super short heads like the Scout to longer more traditional heads like the Delta. PLEASE come talk with us before you invest money in a stick. There is more nuance in this facet of the sport than in almost any other and it can make all the difference to have it nailed.
Enough of that equipment talk, Skagit, Sauk, Sky, Sno, Bogi and others are ready for you to step into and water levels are in great shape at the moment, could change tomorrow but that is winter season for you.
On top of this, the east side trout fishing remains strong from Rocky Ford to the Yakima so don’t restrain yourself, go get some therapy this Holiday Season! Flows are low, wading is good and fish are actively chasing streams, taking droppers off big dry flies and a few of those even took a swipe at the surface fly. Get there before the snow does…
Lastly, Puget Sound is in normal winter shape, gin clear water, windy some days and placid others with tides making it difficult on some beaches so pay attention. That said, today was all fish but one taken on the Sound Searcher, a surface fly we adore. Fishing should be consistent all winter into spring so this is a fabulous time to make yourself familiar with this fishery. Again, PLEASE come ask us questions, we are quite simply here to help you be successful and love nothing more than to see and hear about it afterwards.
Happy Holidays everyone, store is full, some great events coming in the next few months so stay tuned to our Events Page and see everyone on the water!
November 13, 2018 Winter is Coming
The first cold days of late Fall are setting in. That familiar bite of a frosty morning has us thinking about big water, two-handed rods, and dime bright steelhead. Break out that old Stanley thermos, pour a steaming pot of coffee in there, and settle in for the seemingly long, but shorter days on the water. Winter is coming.
Puget Sound - This is the best time of year for big Cutthroat. Don’t fret about the small things like fly choice or tackle, just get out there and find the fish. We have been finding success on patterns such as the Glass Minnow and our favorite, the Sound Searcher. Staple flies like a good ol’ Clouser Minnow have been working great too. The tides are looking decent for the next week, get out there!
Yakima River - The mornings have been cold. If you’re making the drive over Snoqualmie Pass, focus on the latter half of the day. Once the sun comes over the hills, fishing tends to get a little better but they are pretty lethargic until that happens. We have been fishing streamers, exclusively. Whether it is with Trout Spey, or single hand, our favorite flies have been Sculpzillas (black, olive, or natural), Dolly Llamas (black/white, black/olive), and Bottom Scratchers.
Steelhead - There are some Summer Run opportunities on the Columbia River tributaries like the Klick, Deschutes, GR, and JD. As the weather gets colder, think sink tips and leech style flies. In the next week or two, the first Winter Steelhead of the season will be trickling in through our estuaries and into the main rivers. These fish are headed straight for the hatchery and your grill, if you’re lucky. If there’s no adipose fin, bonk ‘em. They are there for retention and we will do our very best to remove them from the gene pool. As we get into December, wild fish will arrive and then we need to be extra careful with handling our special fish. Popular flies are Hartwick’s Flashtails, Guide Intruders, and Fish Tacos.
If you need help getting set up for Winter Steelhead season, we are hosting the Dec Hogan Spey School which will lay out the be-all and end-all that is steelheading with a two-handed fly rod. We are booked full on day one (12/1) but still have a few spots left on 12/2. If you’re interested, give the shop a call at (206) 708-7250.
November 7, 2018 Welcome Mikela!
We are beside ourselves excited to welcome Mikela Rigney to our Women’s Program as an instructor and guide. You will begin to see more of her showing up over the next few months as she gets herself ready for the spring season. You can read a bit more about her on our guide profile page here.
Steelhead are on our brain as we move into the winter season but as we speak many of the rivers for chrome are a bit out of shape with more rain coming. The Skykomish has a few fish in right now as does the Klickitat and Grande Ronde. Not a ton of fish but some and there have been some of these magnificent fish looking up for skating flies which is maybe the most exciting way to connect with one. Watch for flows to drop here shortly and be ready to get on the water!
The Yakima River had a slight bump in flow and was tainted with some color from some of its tributaries as a result some of the rain we have received lately. It is on the drop and the fish are still very active towards BWO’s and smaller streamers on the swing and strip. We have been spending a ton of time lately exercising our trout spey rods of choice being the Thomas and Thomas DNA 3wt and the Loomis IMX Pro 3wt, both of which are nothing short of a blast to cast and create a very different perspective of this fishery. Come by and get caught up on the latest.
Puget Sound has been having some good and difficult tides. Super high water forces you to find access where a back cast is possible which is yet another reason the trout spey has been so much fun because the new lines from Scientific Angler and Airflo which are integrated shooting heads make fishing the Sound possible with this set up completely possible. Salmon are about finished for now which means the SRC’s are super comfortable and curious so this is a great time to be on the water with baitfish patterns. Our final thought here is as we move into this time of year, when all the rivers are puking chocolate milk which is going to happen, the Sound is just sitting there with clear water and fish waiting for something to do so get to know it NOW.
As always, we are here to help you be successful on the water, any water so don’t hesitate to come by and ask questions or call, email or even face-time. We look forward to talking with you soon.
October 20, 2018 Shorter Nights and Better Days
This morning was cold, foggy, and generally pretty awful. As a native Western Washingtonian, I thought to myself…“beach weather”. So off I went in search of Sea Run Cutthroat under a dimly lit sky, slightly chilling from being under-prepared for the time of year. It is in this transition period from early-to-late Fall that we, as anglers, get excited about the awesome fisheries that the PNW offers in the rainy months.
Puget Sound - If you find yourself yearning for a place close to home, with which you don’t need to dedicate a full day, the Sound is the perfect place to be. Fish a half day, just one tide exchange, and see what happens. We are finding a lot of happy, hungry fish celebrating the fact that the hot Summer is over. Fish are consistently being found all over the South Sound. Pick a beach and get out there, we are in the best time of year.
Yakima River - Although the water is very low (920 at Umtanum), the fish are still playing nicely. We have seen sporadic success on a prospecting October Caddis dry fly with a baetis nymph dropper underneath. In the middle of the day, BWO hatches have been strong and you can find rising fish in the flat, glassy riffles and tail outs. If all else fails, FISH STREAMERS. Swing for the fences, go big or go home, as we like to say. Streamers, streamers, streamers.
Don’t forget about Trout Spey either. If you are new to the spey game, or trout spey in general, book a trip with one of our professional guides. We’ll get you started on the right foot.
Steelhead/Salmon - Our summer steelhead season is still underway and fish can be found in some of our local Puget Sound rivers, as well as the Columbia River tributaries such as the Klickitat, Deschutes, etc. As the weather gets colder, don’t be afraid to throw on that sink tip and bulk up the fly size.
Salmon season is going OK. Most salmon fisheries are limited at the moment and it pays to give the regulations a second, third, maybe a fourth read to see where it’s legal to target what. In the next week or two, we will start seeing chum salmon showing up in the Sound and in local rivers. Chums are awesome; just flat out awesome. They fight hard, take a fly well and are great for photos. For fly choice, egg sucking leeches, marabou clousers, or hareball leeches can be good options – Chartreuse, fuschia, and purple.
In addition, don’t rule out fishing in lower mainland British Columbia. You can make it up there in a short 2-2.5 hour drive which is great for a long day or even an overnight. Rivers like the Vedder, Chilliwack, Stave, Squamish, etc. can all fish great this time of year and have about seven times as many salmon.
Closing notes - This time of year is super special. After we receive some significant rain in the next week, we will see our rivers flush with fish. Don’t get discouraged by weather or bad days on the water, every day is different this time of year. One day may be lights out, dumb, stupid good fishing while the next day is crickets. That’s the fun of fishing in Washington, you never know what you’re going to get.
That’s all for today. Signing off here – stay warm, stay fishy, and most of all, have fun out there, folks.
October 1, 2018 Rain, Fall and Leaky Waders
Well, woke up this AM to the welcome arrival of moist weather in the Seattle area. Rain is so important to our fisheries that while we understand why many enjoy the Vitamin D supplying sun, rain allows most of our fisheries to remain healthy for the fish we enjoy pursuing. So with a long summer of great weather slowly disappearing in the rear view mirror, we keep moving forward with what to expect ahead.
The Yakima River will continue to be a fishery to be excited about for the next month and half at least. While flows dropped quickly this year, we have always felt it is in Oct. when the reliability of hatches and the trout reacting to them settles in. Flows are way down, wading is totally viable right now, BWO’s/Baetis/Blue Winged Olives are going to be the norm here soon. Still fall stones and October Caddis will be in the game too but as the water temps drop, smaller insects will be the norm.
Puget Sound is putting out some great SRC’s and for those who have been persistent, some nice Coho have been coming to hand as well at Lincoln Park and other shore access points around the middle of the Sound. We really begin to get excited about the Sound as the sun stays lower in the sky and the kelp dissipates. SRC’s will be aggressive towards just about anything, all we suggest is keeping hook size small, even when chasing Coho so as not to fatally injure any smaller fish who find your fly irresistible!
We have been doing a TON of spey casting classes lately so we figured we should put it out there, no time like the present to be gearing up for steelhead season. Learn now so when winter arrives, you are sound in technique to handle the heavier heads, flies and tips that come with winter steelheading. We will be running our 20 year, swing only program yet again on the O.P. which is already seeing heavy bookings so please get a day or two with us on the calendar before we are full.
As far as the leaky waders goes, we are a deposit location for Recycled Waders and are also stocked with fresh, new NON leaky waders to get you through the next season or two. See everyone soon, call, email or stop in with any questions and as always, thank you for reading!