New to the area. Where to fish trout?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by WiscoAndy, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Hello all. Thanks in advance for your patience with a new guy. I'm a lifelong fly fisherman (trout mostly) and just moved to Seattle from Wisconsin.

    My preferred fishing is wading spring creeks for trout. If not spring creeks, at least streams that are small enough to wade.

    I'm absolutely dying to get out and fish. I don't need to catch huge fish, but it sure would be nice to start getting to know the trout situation in this state. Also should point out: I'm not afraid to drive a few hours to get to a good spot. Sometimes that's part of the fun for me.

    I'm looking for any and all advice on where and how to get started. I'd like to get out this weekend. I've been here since March and haven't fished yet. I'm going to lose my mind if I don't get out soon.


  2. Welcome Andy, you've certainly moved to the right place.

    For trout in rivers near Seattle, in order, I'd say:

    1) Yakima River
    2) Cedar River (#2 for me simply because of convenience, at least when open)
    3) North/South/Middle forks of the Snoqualmie

    That's about enough to keep you fishing for a few summers at least. There's tons of information on the web and on this forum for each. PM me ("start a conversation") if you need a few select spots to get started.

    None likely fit the spring creek model you are used to, but all are wadeable at many times of the year. And even if not wadeable, certainly all fishable at many access points.

    Plus with a float tube you've got the numerous lakes. And don't forget about beach fishing - definitely a different experience. And pink salmon season coming up...
  3. Spring Creeks are one of my favorites. Last weekend went up to Skykomish and adventured up some of the 65 forest service roads and there are plenty of fun creeks to fish. Caught a hand full of trout on small may flies, I only expect the fishing to get better up there as the weather warms up.
  4. Keys to Washington stream fishing*:
    1. Keep your expectations down. Our native trout that don't head to salt water are beautiful but small compared to the food rich waters in other places. Our season on the west side of the mountains is also relatively short (see Know your flows).
    2. Get good at reading maps in conjunction with the complex regulation book. Almost all moving water in WA contains trout and related species but knowing they are legal to target can be a challenge. Even veteran fisherfolk, including myself, have made mistakes when just a few hundred yards can make the difference between open and closed waters.
    3. Know your flows. Every time you go fishing (or just drive by a river for that matter) note the flow rate (cubic feet per second) of that waterway (see USGS stations online, etc).

      If you like what you see and catch fish then you have a point of reference for the future. If you search this forum there are nuggets of wisdom listing specific flow ranges to look for on some rivers. Also when someone says something like 'Rattlesnake Creek fishes well starting in mid-July' look at the average flows for mid-July in records available online for that stream.
    * The above does not include the Yakima River which is a separate discussion that I do not know well enough to comment on.
    Nooksack Mac likes this.
  5. Welcome, Andy. For a spring creek fisher from Wisconsin, WA can be a shock. We have one notable spring creek in the state: Rocky Ford Creek, and you can't even wade in it! But it's easy to fish from the shores. (There are a few other small spring creeks, hidden in sagebrush country, but you need to be better connected than a guest at Camp David to find them.)

    You'll hear references to "small blue lines." Find those lines in DeLorme's "Atlas & Gazateer of WA", which every fly angler needs, and the excellent Green Trails topo maps. WA has scads of small streams flowing in and out of the Cascade Range, plus hike-in alpine lakes amid scenery that'll make your eyes water.
  6. Andy:

    Pretty good advice above. The Gazateer will help you a lot in your ventures. There is always the salt too.

  7. Thank you all so much for this awesome info.

    Quick followup question: if I were willing to drive a few hours (which I am), would that change any of your suggestions? I'm hoping to find that little jewel of a stream where a 4-weight rod is the perfect tool for the job. And I want to find it tomorrow. A tall order, probably.

    Thanks again.
  8. The Cedar and Forks of the Snoqualmie are perfect for a 3-4wt rod.
  9. When you find it, you'll know :)
  10. And then don't let anyone else know!
  11. Ha. Yeah. That's probably what I would have said to a Wisconsin newcomer when I lived there. I really prided myself on the years I put in getting to know the rivers there. It's just a very daunting prospect to be faced with being at the beginning of that process once again. It's a bit depressing!

  12. The thing with Washington state is that you need to get out and explore all those little blue lines on these maps.'

    Stop in any ranger station during the week and pick up a National Forest map. All the ranger stations have them. These are a little more detailed than the Delormes are. But they aren't much good for anything out of the National Forests. Mount Baker, Wenatchee, are two good ones to have. When I lived in Washington I think that I had all of those maps. One can never have enough maps.

    Also use Google Maps, Map Quest, Acme Mapper, and Bing. These are all on line maps.

    Good luck in your hunt. It takes a bit of exploring, but there are fish to be caught out there. And some small skinny waters will surprise you.
  13. add to the map list, free online detailed topo maps of everywhere that are printable.
  14. I also have all the disc's of Nat. Geo. The whole U.S.of A.
  15. Sent you a PM with something I think you'll find helpful.
  16. It's depressing? You should be excited as hell. You've got a whole new state to explore--one with an ocean, numerous lakes, crazy huge whitewater rivers, little placid trickles in the desert, enormous reservoirs, small ponds, and on and on and on. Is it different than WI? Damn skippy.

    You've got so much angling variety in this state it's silly.

    Not sure I see the problem.

    Your small stream options will open up considerably in a matter of weeks.
    Jim Speaker likes this.
  17. Except for Gary and me, of course!
  18. Right you are Jim! Glad to see you back on the board, hope we can fish a little together again this summer.
  19. Andy--
    A couple of suggestions: This site is good for general suggestions, but for the longer term and dependability, find a fly club to join, then spend some time getting to know the other members... it sounds like you have wet a line on more than one occasion, so you should fit right in.

    Another good investment would be to engage Dave McCoy from Emerald Waters Anglers for a day or two. He has built a good business guiding people to just the kind of water you are looking, i have no relationship with E Waters, other than sitting through several of his seminars. I do believe he would be a good inventment for both small water, and salt from the beach.


  20. I'd like that, Gary! As flows drop I'll be wanting to get up to some of my lesser known upper S F Sno stretches, and being up in Mill Creek it's about damn time I start following some of the blue lines coming off the Skykomish and so forth to expand my options for 2-weight fishing. Let me know when you are going and I'll do the same. I'm assuming you saw my Lake Crescent post - but also guessing your payroll masters have a strong hold next week. You're always welcome on my boat or wading with me, bud.

    Re WFF...
    Over the years I've just come and gone a bit - periods of absence when I'm really busy with stuff. But, heck, I've been a member of this thing since years before it was a forum -- back in the ListServ email days of WFF. It's in my blood, I'm WFF for life, man.

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