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Many, but not all, visitors to the Seattle and Tacoma areas believe Puget Sound to be the open ocean when in fact it is a huge maze of bays and inlets reaching from Bellingham to Olympia. While the Sound is affected by tides and is saltwater, it remains a very different watershed from the coastal ocean. One of the primary differences is the protection from the Olympic Peninsula which forms a barrier between the coastal ocean and the Sound.
This barrier offers fly anglers a rich haven for casting flies to sea run cutthroat trout and all species of salmon without the crashing surf found on the coast.The state of Washington has nearly 3,000 miles of saltwater shorelines, much of which are within close proximity to the Seattle area. Rivers and creeks flow into the Sound from the mainland and from most of the islands and peninsulas located nearby. These freshwater resources are spawning grounds for a large population of cutthroat trout that move into the saltwater during the spring and stay into the fall, creating a tremendous fishery with very little pressure.
Within an hour of Seattle or less you can be fly-fishing to sea-run cutthroats that have been super-charged by their stay in the saltwater. Most of this takes place on various beaches and points located up and down Puget Sound. As the tide is coming in or going out, many of the trout, and often times Coho salmon and other species, use structure near these beaches like rocks in a river.
The structure can come in many forms, with rocks, points, logs, and kelp beds being the most common. While the structure gives them a place to rest against the tidal current, they chase baitfish close to shore creating a feeding frenzy right in front of you.Much of the time, you will be casting baitfish patterns to rising trout just ahead of you, more often however, you will cast over structure where the trout are likely to be holding. As you cast to these native trout, you twitch and strip your fly awaiting their aggressive strike. These native trout average about 10-12 inches, with some slightly smaller and many others much larger. With a little persistence, one can hook into a 20-inch or larger trout.
Fly fishing Puget Sound during the months of August through October however, the most popular fish to chase is the Coho or “silver” salmon. These fish, while still in the saltwater, ranging from 18 inches to 15 pounds, at times feel too powerful to land. Absolutely one of the best game fish in the world!
Many locals are firm believers that this is a 7-8 month a year fishery, with most of the cutthroat heading into spawning waters for the winter. This is simply not the case. While fly fishing Puget Sound in the winter months of November through February, you will find fish that have obviously not been in fresh water for a long time. Covered in sea lice, girthy and strong, these fish are just waiting for anything resembling food to come by. The winter months can actually be some of the most productive SRC fishing available and even fewer anglers are tackling the beaches this time of year.
This is a walk and wade trip limited to two persons per guide. Because of the proximity of many of these estuaries, this makes a great half-day trip for the business traveler who is on a more stringent time schedule but wants to get away from the hotel and see some of the beautiful surroundings Seattle has to offer.
Pricing: Walk and Wader Beach Trip: Full Day $545 1/2 Day $445
3rd Angler: $100, pricing above for 1 – 2 anglers
All equipment and flies included, pricing is for 1-2 anglers
Fishing License, WA Sales Tax and Gratuity Not Included
Season: All Year
Species: Native Sea Run Cutthroat
EWA Cancellation Policy
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Flies: Changes seasonally, Chum Baby, small grey, tan and olive clousers, Sound Searcher, Miyawaki Popper, Foul Free Herring, Grizzly Minnow, Shock and Awe, Titanic, Sea Run Bugger, Sound Walker, Oil Slick
Ideal Tides: Varies from beach to beach, fishing moving water is most important
Clothing/Equipment Lists: Summer season, Winter season
Rods and Lines: 6 wt rods with floating or intermediate lines
Species: Resident Coho salmon, Sea Run Cutthroat trout
Duration: Half day trip 4-5 hours fishing time, full day trip 8-9 hours fishing time
Distance from Seattle: 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours