The City of Seattle, Washington is nestled amongst some of the best flyfishing in Washington State. Within 1 to 3 hours of Seattle, numerous fantastic flyfishing options exist. Many of our Seattle area rivers and streams are home to summer and winter run steelhead, all five species of salmon, rainbow trout, bull trout, cutthroat trout, dolly varden, brook trout and cutt-bow trout.
The coho salmon is a favorite target amongst fly fishers because of their aggressive behavior towards the fly and because of their cool acrobatics once you get a hook into them.
The sizes vary greatly depending on the strain. The coho salmon found in northern Washington regions are about one third the size of the ones in southern Washington areas. They can range in size from seven to twenty pounds, with the majority coming in at around ten pounds.
The coho salmon prefer to lay their eggs in streams with a moderate flow and use small gravel for their nests. They spawn in the fall with fry emerging in the spring. Young coho stay in the freshwater for about a year and half before heading out to sea.
The best time to land a coho salmon in the estuaries is from late July to early August. They gradually move up river when fall rains raise the water levels. By September you can find them in fresh water rivers and streams.
There are many fly fishing Washington opportunities, no matter what type of fish you are trying to land. Be patient, work on your technique and soon you will be fishing like a pro.
The Congressionally Designated Wild and Scenic is located about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours North of Seattle depending on where in the system we fish. The Skagit hands down offers some of the best flyfishing in Washington State. The Skagit is home to summer and winter run steelhead, rainbow trout, bull trout, sea run cutthroat trout and all five species of salmon. This river fishes much of the year and hosts fly anglers extremely well.
The sea-run cutthroat is famous for its aggressiveness towards a well presented fly, making them a thrill to fish for. These fish generally grow to about 12 to 18 inches, but much larger sizes have been caught. In spite of their small size, these fish are extremely strong.
There are thirteen subspecies of the cutthroat native to North America, but the sea-run cutthroat is the only variety that migrates to the ocean. These fish are great fun for inexperienced and experienced fly fishermen, alike.
The sea-run cutthroat begin running in from the sea to their natal streams in the late fall. Spawning takes place anytime from early winter to early summer. The fry may spend two to three years in the fresh water before heading out to sea. The sea-run doesn't actually go all the way out to the ocean. They tend to stay much closer to their natal streams than other Pacific salmon. Like the steelhead, the sea-run cutthroat are able to spawn many times.
The best time for fly fishing Washington streams for sea-run cutthroats is from late fall to spring. Many of the sea-runs, as well as many trout populations spend much of their lives in fresh water, so you can fish for them practically all year.
The sea-run cutthroat is not a shy fish, however they do move around a great deal. If you haven't seen or caught one within a reasonable amount of time, it's a good bet they have have moved on, and you should too.
A good place to find sea-run cutthroats is near oyster beds and in fast running water.