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.
September 19, 2018 Fall, Fog and Fly Fishing Seattle
When the fog finally descends upon the water around Seattle, its official…fall has arrived. What does this mean for those fly anglers living and traveling here? Well let us spell it out…
Puget Sound - Alive and well, sun is lower, still have some good spring tides and migratory coho are arriving daily. Not necessarily in giant numbers but they are around and where legal to do so, should absolutely be targeted! Baitfish patterns are a good bet but would also look to be doing some surface fly action such as gurglers, Miyawaki Poppers and Sound Searchers. Be sure to be using 10lb test or better so when you do come tight to one of these silver bullets you can hang on a bit longer!
Mountain Creeks - Still low but with much cooler water temps. They are still easily waded but fish will be a bit more lethargic so either start the morning with a dropper on back of a bigger dry or get on the water just a bit later in the day. Either way, we have about 4 weeks give or take until weather sets these on their winter time tangent…can’t buy a fish tangent that is!
Yakima River - This is hands down the time to be on the Yak. Flows are down and will be consistent unlike the spring season. Fall hatches of October Caddis, Crane Fly and some early BWO are already present with some evenings still showing caddis. Streamers are or seem to be a favorite of the big West Slope cutts in the upper river so pick you poison and get out there. With flows down right now wade anglers have the river back too, woohoo!
Steelhead - With all the water temps cooling down, this helps those summer run chromers be a bit more active and be willing to enter the rivers so the Skykomish, Green, Snoqualmie and Stilly are all good bets right now. Grab your two hander and a skater and get on your favorite run early or late and swing away. Numbers of fish aren’t great but for those with the two handed, swing state of mind this shouldn’t be an issue, there might always be one there!
Can’t say this enough, we are always here, willing and happy to answer any questions you might have no matter how silly you might think they are. We just want to see you succeed out there!
September 7, 2018 - Here and There
Difficult to not begin this report with results from our recent trip to Kamchatka because it was such a great experience. Bears, fish, Russian’s, Vodka and more bears…it was awesome! For those who really wanted to, fishing a mouse fly all day long was totally doable even though you ended up with more of these beauts than big rainbows, some of those came around as well. Will we go back? YES!!!
We are in September so our small waters, the mountain creeks will be bidding us adieu here soon, we would give them about another month or so before we call it on them. During this time however, the Yakima has already begun to drop into shape flow wise and cool air is already tangible so fall hatches and wading the Yak and Cle Elum is ready now!
Fall also means we open our arms to migratory Coho in the Sound. There are some around already even down as far as Lincoln Park and more cutts have been showing themselves again from the beaches as kelp begins to dissipate it will only get better…
Fall steelheading is here too which is just the warm up for winter so no time like the present to break out the spey rod and start warm up the long rod up. Skykomish and Cowlitz for those of us here in the Seattle area will be our best bets with a few other smaller rivers thrown in.
Come by the store, give us a call or shoot us an email and we can answer any questions for you about where, when, why, how and what…we are always happy to do so.
August 9, 2018 Summer is Still Rolling Along
Here we are cruising into the middle of August and we are just enjoying the fly fishing life this time of year affords. Right now we are just excited about the continuation of dry fly creek fishing for wild and native trout in our local streams. It has been fabulous but we are being cautious of fishing too hard on these streams as the water temps continue to climb with above normal temps. Keeping the trout in the water and landing them in a timely manner.
Yakima is in similar shape with water temps hitting the high 60′s above the Teanaway and warmer below. Hit the water early and be off early, only way to play it safe with our finned friends.
Puget Sound is opening the door for the arrival of our Coho season which will hopefully arrive in good numbers. Look for them to increase from here into mid September and don’t be afraid to throw surface flies at them, they will absolutely take them…persevere!
Summer steelhead is in a bit of a slump at the moment, lower light, some rain and cooler water temps will absolutely help this situation we just don’t see much of any of this on the horizon.
Lastly, carp and bass are still, as we speak look to be played with, don’t be afraid, nobody is going to think less of you, in fact a silent jealousy may be present.
July 28, 2018 Full On Summer
The phone calls continue to pour in asking how fishing is around these parts right now and all we can say is, “Outstanding!” You literally can’t go wrong around here right now it more depends on what tickles your fancy the most.
Dry flies all day on the Cedar, Snoqualmie Forks and small creeks. Wet wading is even an option in most locations at this point now…finally! Size 10 or so Stimi’s, Chernobyl’s or Chubby’s will do great. Log jams with deep scour holes would be well served with an olive streamer of your choice.
Evenings on the Yak will bring plenty of activity with caddis along the banks and under the sage and willow’s aside shore.
Steelhead on the Cowlitz and Skykomish would be good choices for those needing to scratch the two handed itch with something larger than a trout spey. Cow has fish in now so get after it!
Puget Sound is Puget Sound, fish are definitely eating and present but early and in the colder parts of the Sound will likely find them with more regularity. Now would be a good time to invest in an intermediate line if you don’t have one already though they will come up too if you force the issue or are stubborn like one of our staff! Look for migratory coho to be arrive in the next couple weeks…woop woop!
Bass and carp are as active as you will ever find them both in local urban lakes and on the other side of the state so if you are up for a challenge go stalk some carp, they will teach you a thing or two. We have a good selection of carp flies in stock so come on in as well as bass flies.
Rocky Ford has been fishing well and with the heat, numbers of anglers has been low so head over and choose the trout you want to catch.
Welcome to summer fly fishing in Seattle, you can do no wrong!
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