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.
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
January 7th, 2018
The Puget Sound has been fishing well lately. Now that we are back to the large tide swing during daylight hours we can all celebrate. With mid morning high tides, take a look at a good first light incoming tide or sleep in and hit the outgoing tide in the afternoon. With the overcast days, top water flies such as the Cutty Buddy, Sound Searcher, and Puget Sound Spider have all been fishing well. If you prefer going down under, smaller baitfish in the 1.5 inch range have been doing the trick (Glass Minnow or Foxy Minnow). Also, don’t be afraid of throwing some shrimp patterns, but remember to adjust your strip when switching over to those flies. There is some considerable rain on the horizon but that’s why we love the Sound! Be careful looking forward to Thursday, as wind is forecast to be blowing 20-30kt’s throughout Hood Canal and the Puget Sound.
As you look forward into the next week, keep an eye on flow’s as Forks and Rockport are both getting significant rain this week. Thursday looks especially hairy with over an inch and a quarter of rain predicted (Rockport). Even so, predicted is the key word. As my Dad always says, “you can’t catch a fish unless your flies in the water, DAMMIT!” If you are heading into the Skagit Valley, please read up on identifying Atlantic Salmon as we have come across a handful of them in the last few weeks.
As always, have fun and be safe out there. Give us a call at the shop if you have any questions, we are here to help!
Photo: Caldwell Rohrbach
December 30, 2017 Steelhead and Salt
Between rain and wind squalls it is steelhead time. OP rivers have been showing some signs of life with both hatchery (needing to be bonked) and wild (needing to be treasured) steelhead. We are also seeing some fantastic Atlantic Salmon fishing up on the Skagit these days between the Dollies and the few steelhead around. Sadly we are out of commission for a day or so while the rivers simmer down after this last rain. Should be perfect in a day or two.
In the mean time Puget Sound has been fairly consistent with the south end putting out some fish on a pretty regular basis. Cutts have been taking after a smorgasbord of flies from Foxy Minnow’s to Sound Searchers to small Clousers and even Muddler’s. For those who fish the Sound on a regular basis, this shouldn’t come as any surprise.
Get out there and have a great 2018 on the water everyone!
December 9, 2017 A Shift in Focus
Weather has been fabulous for flinging flies around these parts for all sorts of things including some summer steelhead though we are anxiously awaiting their winter cousins to arrive here soon. We are booking up fast for the winter season so if looking to swing flies on the OP or even the Skagit while it is open, please be in touch soon to grab up some of the available dates we have remaining.
Puget Sound continues to kick butt. What many consider to be a local give away spot like Lincoln Park has actually been fishing quite well lately as have all the beach heading south and west of there. Foxy Minnow has been a go to for much of our staff, Sound Searcher always a good choice and don’t be bashful about throwing some Clouser type flies as well.
Late afternoon on these past few days has seen some great midge and Blue Winged Olive hatches coming off on the Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers. Snow hasn’t packed them in just yet either so walk and wading nearly all sections is completely available still so get on them while you can. Stripping some streamers through or across some of the log jams has also been productive for some large trout. Take your time and work the water, step back and watch and/or rest it a bit as well if need be, especially in the afternoon.
Rocky Ford heats up this time of year too so if a longer drive doesn’t scare you and some sight casting small flies sounds appealing then go for it. We have some great Zebra midge and emerger patterns for you.
Happy Holidays everyone, hope we see you soon.
December 2, 2017 It’s Been That Good!
We know, it’s time to hang up the gear and break out the vise and feathers for the year…wait a minute, no it’s not! Fishing on the Sound has been crazy good lately, good enough to find us doubling up with clients on fish multiple times.
Foxy Minnow, Sound Searcher, Euphasid (small shrimp) and even some larger shrimp patterns have been working, depending on who you are talking to. So if you have waders and boots, a 5-6wt fly rod with floating line and a rain jacket, you are completely prepared for the Sound right now, come in and grab a few flies and get out there.
December 14th we will have our customer appreciation evening at the store, in store specials that evening with some things to sip on and all the advice you could possibly want. Have a great Holiday Season everyone.