If chasing trout is desired the next few months, the Yakima River is one to consider. Being able to withstand the cooler temperatures of Eastern Washington is necessary, though the rewards can be fruitful. The river is low and clear as of this writing, though it will continually be prudent to keep an eye on flows during any rain events. Otherwise, the Yakima can be quite consistent if you know how to target the trout, which will generally entail nymphing and streamer fishing. Looking for the ideal water is another key factor, as the trout will hunker down in their typical winter lies within the river. Keying in on the ideal water such as walking paced, 4-6ft deep, structured areas, and slow inside seams will be likely water to find fish. If you do find a couple trout, make sure you continue working the surrounding water as the fish will congregate in similar areas during the colder months! Fly selection will be quite refined, as any hatches will be relegated to strictly midges. Nymphs will include; Pats Stoneflies and TJ Hookers in #6-10; Psycho Mayflies Pheasant Tail's, and various euro nymphing flies in #16-18; and Zebra midges in olive, black or red #14-20. Another option to consider is streamers, as the bigger trout will often get excited about a larger meal! Flies for tight line fishing will include Sculpzillas, Dolly Llama's, Rio's Precious Metal, and even a simple Wooley Bugger in olive or black can be enticing for the lethargic trout during the winter. If you're considering fishing the Yakima during winter, come chat with us to find some flies and places to fish to get your adventure going!
We have seen another season on the Cedar come and go, with some decent to great fishing found through the Summer few months. Numbers of fish was great, though size of fish wasn't quite as productive as it has been historically though a few fish in the mid-high teens were caught! We look forward to getting back out on this local gem of a stream come next Memorial Day!
The Snoqualmie Forks are currently below average for streamflow, leading to slightly tougher than usual conditions. During the cooler days of last week, the fishing slowed down on the Forks. Generally fishing subsurface will be the ticket to finding fish, with nymphs and streamers providing the best success through the cooler months ahead. Smaller streamer patterns can entice the larger fish in the system, so ensure you have Wooley buggers/leeches, small Sculpzillas, and soft hackles such as the Carey Special or Six-Pack. Nymphing will be the most successfull technique almost assuredly, with mayfly nymphs #14-18, stonefly nymphs #10, caddis pupa #12-16, and zebra midges #16-18. When the snow starts falling in the mountains the Snoqualmie Forks quickly slow down, so make sure to get out there before the weather gets too cold!
We are currently on the cusp of an incoming steelhead season! Though we are waiting to hear from the WDFW on a coastal winter steelhead season, there are options to seek out hatchery fish in the meantime. Hatchery fish numbers will be low across the Puget Sound rivers, having tapered expectations beforehand is a good idea, yet there will be fish regardless! It's a great way to get your cast and technique dialed in before you chase after the wild fish. We should see a fishery for hatchery steelhead on local streams such as the Snoqualmie and Skykomish, but being diligent in checking WDFW Emergency Regs will be necessary to keep up on the open streams. Fly selection isn't as important as presentation to the fish, though we have all the necessary flies to get you dangerous on the swing! Otherwise dust off your 7-8wt rod and reel, and go swing some flies for steelhead!
Local lakes are an option for trout fishing this time of year, while productivity will be spotty as many lakes haven't been stocked for some time. Checking the stocking report through the WDFW is a good measure to find more consistent fishing in lowland lakes. Eastside lakes will slow down significantly as well, due to the cooling temperatures moving through the month of November and the subsequent freeze of the lakes. While chironomid fishing can still be productive, trolling leech and bugger patterns will continually work to expose your flies to more fish. Olive/Black leeches are good fly options, though we are partial to the Rio Gold Jigger, Olive Willy's, and Thin Mints. For indicator fishing, fly patterns include; snow cone chironomids and a couple new patterns from Rio called "The Red Assasin" and "Hanging with My Chromies". Stop by the shop to get some updated reports on lowland and eastside lakes!
The warmwater fishing should progressively wane as overnight temperatures decline, limiting opportunities on the fly for bass and other warmwater species.
The saltwater fishing for trout has been consistent, with some nice trout being encountered off the beaches! The weather is more of a concern this time of year, as frontal systems can bring breezy to windy conditions on the Puget Sound, so keep an eye on the wind forecast before you head out. Some fly patterns to consider for trout are Clouser Minnows in olive/white and pink/whit, shrimp patterns (euphasiids), Sand Eels, and Sculpin patterns. Fishing near creek and river estuaries will be a good practice, though the trout can be found generally around structured areas, in 5-15' of water with some sort of current (near points are good places to find current during moving tides). Generally a light sinking line, or a sink tip is all that is necessary to target the saltwater species, with a 5wt being the lightest rod necessary for trout. Grab your gear, find a likely beach, and present your streamers to some hungry cutthroat, and if you need any suggestions or advice, stop by to get some reports!