Best Washington Fishing?

With winter-like weather lingering, I'd love to hear some fish tales. I'm talking about those rare banner days that we all get now and then, with big fish or high numbers (or better yet, both). Anyone care to relate a yarn or two regarding your best day of fly fishing in Washington? Was it for trout, salmon, steelhead or something else? Yakima, Skykomish or the Sound, or farm pond? Any details you want to share would be great.


I'd have to say my best day in Washington was on the O.P. two years ago, and included 6 steelhead landed on the fly. Serious karma.

What about you?
Last September on a small off shoot of the Taylor caught and released 8 cutthroat the first day and 14 the next on way back from Montana after not doing good at all in Montana. All were small the largest was 14" but I had alot of fun creeping up on the small pools seeing the fish and targeting them one at a time. I plan to go there again this summer after that area opens. Sight fishing at its finest on a small stream. I will not say exactly where this small stream is. You will have to do so exploring and bush wacking for yourself.
Not my best day but maybe the most gratifying as a result of figuring out some fish behaviour. After trolling for Silvers on a warm & bright late August afternoon with no action I ran the boat well in-shore from the 110 to 150 foot depths we had worked. Trolling just outside the kelp line in 35-40 feet of water my wife hit a Chinook at 4:00 p.m. Landed it, rebaited and trolled through the same area. My turn this time. Another Chinook @21 lbs. 2 passes / 2 big fish. There is an explanation behind hitting Kings in 40 feet of water at 4:00 in the afternoon. Has something to do with where they hold until the tidal currents reverse, (a back-eddy bay) being under the darkness of the kelp, and their propensity to attack baitfish from this cover. Oh, and that old thing about if it ain't working , change something.


Active Member
Coldwater Lake provided one of my most memorable fishing days. I caught 4 incredible fighting bows, ranging from 16"-20" and one cut around 4#s. Not exactly huge numbers, but for me and this enigma(in my experiences) of a lake, it was a banner day.
One my best day's fishing acyually happen last August. I found a nice school of Pink swalmon in Bellingham Bay and proceeded to catch quite a few of them ranging in size from 4 to 8 pounds. This was the first time I'd ever fly fished in the salt. Needless to say, I'm hooked.


New Member
My best Washington day was on a trip to Dry Falls. Had fished the prior two years without catching anything. Was facing the same fate this time until the second day. Finally tried something different and went against all the advice I had been given. Caught 4 big rainbows and brown in an hour and a half. :THUMBSUP


Ignored Member
I have two from recent memories.

The first happened a few years ago while fishing the Skagit for searun cutts with the local fly shop owner. We didn't have a place set so decided at the last minute to try a new spot. We fished during the morning hours say about 3 hours and caught 8 or 9 cutts each. All were over 16 or so inches with several over 20 and one over 24.

The second was a few weeks ago on the Skagit. I managed to hook and land 3 steelhead in about 20 casts. One was a buck that was over 40 inches long.

hey troutski the kings hold right off the kelp. at dawn is the best time. in the straits and ocean more around cape flattery like skagway rocks and thru the western strait the best fishing is close to kelp. whenthey did close it off, you had to fish 1 mile from shore when it was open for salmon. but some of the best fishing for kings anywhere is the rock pinnacles like where they killed those whales. there just getting fat and heading who knows where. 40 - 50 ft of water. seen alot of 40 lbers at big salmon resort last year. got some 15/25 lbers myself during last year season working herring and jigs. Ben
One of my best days fly fishing ever was on a small hike in creek that flows into lake chelan. I Landed about 50 cuttthroughts in the 8" - 14" range. I rember 1 hole that was maby 5 feet wide and 4 or less feet deep. I pulled 10 fish out of that hole in no more than 15 casts. We had hiked along the river a long ways off the trail, so those holes we were fishing probably rarely got fished. It was an awsome day.
Hi all, I've had great days hiking into the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. The isolated creeks have little pressure. One stretch of creek that I like to fish is virtually inaccessible except in extremely low water conditions. I hiked there six times during El Nino, and haven't been back since. Dollies, Bows, Cutbows, and had a steelhead attack my hooked bow, all in one afternoon.
Actually my best day was an event we called "Sweaters and Sunglasses", a couples event. It was a gorgeous sunny day in late September year before last. The idea was to help two buddies learn to flyfish. Three couples, lots of fun, sunburns included, campfire and incredible camp food, and a drive back down the skagit and sauk river valleys in the moonlight. For my money it doesn't get any better than that. I like to teach as much as fish solo, but not all the time. Flyfisher Frank :COOK
There are some great stories in this thread! Let me share one of my own Washington fly fishing memories.

A couple of summers ago I visited a small stream on the eastslope of the Cascades. Using my two-weight, I flicked a #14 tan elk-hair caddis into the first emerald-green pool I found. I was a little taken aback when a 10-inch cutthroat cartwheeled out of the water and appeared to take the fly before it even hit the surface. After releasing that colorful little native, I cast again right away. Lo and behold, another acrobatic cutt gobbled my fly with abandon.

I moved to the next pool, cast again, and had another immediate smash hit. The fish were taking flies with such "heartbreaking innocence" and near-comical gusto, that I decided to keep count of how many I caught and released that day (which is not something I typically worry about too much). After a couple of hours, I had hit the 50 mark and decided to call it a day well spent. On the walk back out, I cast casually to a few of the pockets I had missed previously and picked up 5 more.

When I was breaking down the rod at the car, I realized I had used the same fly all day.

Last year fishing a desert lake in my pontoon boat the wind was blowing so hard that I was almost ready to give up. Fished for about 3 hours with 1 decent fish and 1 missed take. I was thinking of leaving. The wind was so intense casting was nearly impossible, whitecaps were breaking all around me. I went near the back of the lake and found a little sheltered bay, fish were going crazy in the bay feeding on adult mayflies. I rowed quietly back into the bay and anchored down. Wind was minimal. Switched to my dry line rod and casted to gulping fish. Landed 7 fish on the next 7 casts. Was insane how hard they were feeding, fly wouldnt sit on the water for more than 5 seconds before it was taken. Finished landing about 25 fish. The action ended after about 90 minutes fish just quiet feeding on adults but what a day. Pulling my pontoon out there were 2 others getting out they hadnt had a fish all day, I just told them that I got a few and had fun. Didnt want to rub it in, but what a day.

Scott Salzer

previously micro brew
Great stories from you all.

Chopaka, last summer. An incredible damsel hatch, fish stacked up against the reeds. First time I had fished dry damsels. Watching those fish come out an roll over on the flies was great! Two of us picked up 20+ fish in about 90 minutes. Some were rather nice, up to 20".
Fish till ya drop.
Then suck it up
and fish the evening hatch.

I've had many fine days on Nunnally,Chopaka,Blue,Aenias,and others scattered around,even a few in W. Washington.

But my most memorable was 2 days on a small lake near the Canadian Border just on the Canadian side. I'd been up in the Kootney and had good luck on smaller fish at Summit near Nakusp. Decided to return to Osyoos and hunt larger at Sawmill. Stopped at Grand Forks and ducked across the border for cheaper American gas. The border guard said "thought you were going up for a week", so I told him my "small fish" story. He said "You should try W******* lake, one of the guys got a #5 the other day out there."
I pulled in around noon and nearly left. Small and right near a TransCanada Highway with a damn rest stop near it. But there were thousands of small chironomids hatching and I like that!
So after some searching I found some shoal water,on this very deep little lake. I only had black chironomids down to #18 so I tied one on, anchored up in 8'of water and tossed out into 12-13'. Well that afternoon I landed 7 trout of #4 to #6 and lost with broken tippet or self release another 8-10.
Came back the next day earlier and the hatch was still on. I landed 15
of the same size that day loosing only a few as I went up one tippet size.
From those days on, I never make any assumptions about any water untill I try it myself.