Recommendations on Winter trout rivers, western WA?

I live in Richland, and have traditionally fished the west side only in summer, primarily in Oregon. East side of the mountains I fish more often, but again primarily in spring, summer. This weekend I have a freind coming to Seattle and we were gonna try to do a trout trip in the area, anyone have any recommendations on a couple of good rivers (wadable, no boats, or bank) that are trout streams? We are not equipped for Steelhead, 4-5wt rods, etc. Any tips are much appreciated. We are lookign for a nice plac near the metro area to keep it an easy day trip.

Itchy Dog

Some call me Kirk Werner
Welcome, LawnSausage (trying to keep a straight face, here).

That's a lofty order- finding a good trout stream close to the metro area, this time of year. Our wetside rivers have been in pretty bad shape the last week or so, and even at that trout fishing isn't real productive this time of year. You could try the Middle Fork Snoqualmie, but when the water's cold a it is this time of year, and with the recent warm rains in the mtns sending the rivers into chocolate milk mode, the little cutts will be pretty tight-lipped. Flows could be pretty high, too.
Hmmm...pretty long order there, even in the summer. Wouldn't he rather play golf?

About the only "trout" streams in the area that are open is the Snoqualmie above the falls and I don't know how fishable that will be until the snow level drops and river levels drop and stabilize, which will not be this weekend. It is running about 2000 cfs now, many times more than the summer base flows.

That said, you can find sea run cutts in most of the salmon and steelhead rivers, but fishing is going to be tough for them this time of year unless you know where to go and what to do and water levels will be a factor there as well.

If you need to fish in the metro area and you want to target trout, I'd think about trying one of the small lowland lakes. Look at Google Earth. You can use tubes or rent a small boat or canoe from one of the local rental centers or try from shore. Check the regulations as not all lakes and ponds are open (they are open unless it says otherwise in the Special Rules). There was a press release from WDFW that said they recently stocked several lowland lakes with catchable-sized trout.

Stockers in urban ponds is not my thing, so I would consider two alternatives. First, head down to a beach in the south sound or Hood Canal (pick a park, any park) and fish for sea runs and resident coho. Stop in a a local fly shop, by some flies, and they will point you in the right direction. For a day or so, your trout rods and set ups will be fine. Just rinse them off. If nothing else, it is a unique experience for an out of town guest and the drive around will be nice. Second option: head back east and fish the Yakima. A bit more of a drive, but your best trout option within a couple hours of Seattle. Personally, I'd head to the Yak.

Good luck

Old Man

Just an Old Man
Besides that Middle fork, You also have the North and South forks to play around in. It is mainly catch and release.
Thanks guys, I was hoping there was a rver here that was sort of impervious to clouding up when it rains, something like the Metolious. Or maybe one of those peninsula rivers that was so used to heavy rains it always runs fairly clear, especially with there bieng no snow mely right now like in the spring.

I fish the yak and ithas been pretty blown out as of 2 weeks ago, watched the levels rise several feet really quickly a few weeks ago and stay up there. And stay muddy.

I like the idea of the sea run cutthroats, i may give that a try. I have caught those before down near Twanoh or over by the Skokomish on lures, any patterns recommended? Or just throw out something bright?


Native Trout Hunter
You might head down to the Tacoma area and try around the narrows for resident coho salmon, it has been a decent year so far and those sized rods should be fine. For flies marabou clousers in pink/ white, tan/ white should work good. There is also some decent sea run cutthroat fishing around the area. Clousers, snot darts, amphipods, and other attractor patterns should work fairly well. If you are willing to drive a bit further, I believe that the Deschutes River near Olympia is still open (somebody correct me if I am wrong...) and my have some fair cutthroat fishing right now.

Mike T

Active Member
GHFF makes a couple great suggestions. The beaches have been a lot of fun this past week, the coho seems to be concentrating on white, peach and to a lesser degree chartreuse. The Deschutes is a good option right now, with the projected weather this week it should be good for Saturday. Puget Sound Fly Fishing is just south of Sea Tac so you might consider stopping in there and talking to Anil or Clark about specifics.

Another option is Sea Run Cutts anywhere from Purdy to Victor and Allyn.
OK we decided we are going to hit the Deschutes river near Olympia, but wanted to get some advice on teh upper or lower river access points. Do you guys know if there is much of any fishing up higher near say Green Hill or Thurston Creek? Or how about near Rainier town? Or do you prefer to fish down lower on the river near Olympia?