wenatchee fly fishing

Hey guys, new to the forum... and somewhat new to fishing for steelhead. I am curious if I can fish in tumwater canyon? Or what is the farthest up I can go?


Active Member
It may be hard to imagine, but some of us would like to initially welcome you to this forum first. As far as your question, it is very easy to check out the rules and regulations pamphlet. If you do not have atleast 2, I would say run up the the store and grab some. Don't be a stranger, and again welcome.

Evan Burck

Fudge Dragon
This fishery won't show up in the regs booklet because it's technically closed unless opened by a special emergency season. This emergency season is currently underway, but won't be in the regs booklet. You will need to look it up on the WDFW website for the details.

That said, I'd stick to below Leavenworth. I think you can fish up to Tumwater dam, but the fish will be in the lower river for the most part. And be aware of this fishery being MANDATORY retention on hatchery steelhead with the adipose fin clipped. If you won't keep those fish, then don't fish there.


Not to be confused with freestoneangler
Welcome! Thank you for asking for clarification first about regs that admittedly can be confusing.

To answer your question, no you can't fish in Tumwater Canyon as this year, the open section starts below it. Note: this applies only to the emergency opening which can and will close at any time so always check the WDFW website before you fish and every day you will fish it.

From the e-reg:

"Wenatchee River: Open from the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam. Night closure and selective gear rules apply. Motorized vessels are not allowed."

You can find the emergency regs here: https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1373 As Evan said, make sure you understand the special rules including the mandatory retention. If you have more questions just ask as it is better to ask then get a ticket or accidentally harm wild steelhead.


Tights Lines
I've never fished the natch just rafted it from Icicle Creek to Cashmere a few times in years past during the summer. I'm planning on heading over Friday night to fish for the weekend and curious if anyone knows a shuttle service in the area? What are some good sections to float?

Thanks for any insight.
pbunbury- Anything below cashmere is pretty tame for both rafts and hardboats hence the pressure. I would not suggest putting a hardboat in anywhere above cashmere or even a raft unless you really know what you are doing on the oars and have someone available to show you the lines through some of the long rapids during during these fall flows. Good luck out there this weekend and don't be afraid to dredge big leeches!
The Nasty 'Natch was the first place I ever caught a steelhead. I generally fish in the lower section. Dryden is about as high as I'd go. Public access isn't easy because most of it is private. There are several area's where it can be accessed from bridges or along Hwy 2 and some other areas if your willing to get off the main roads and search. A spey rod will be a very good idea because in many areas the brush grows right to the river and there aren't alot of gravel bars. Or you could bobber fish either from shore or out of a boat if thats your thing..... I generally swing leech/marabou patterns on tips but dry lines are a possbility. Purple and Black with bright accents in orange, pink or red are two good colors, size depending on water conditions, as with steelhead anywhere. As with the shit show on the Methow, the Natch can get crowded on weekends so I like mid week or days with shitty weather. Have fun.
I have only floated the Wenatchee 1 time from Monitor to the mouth
It is pretty tame like was previously stated, look for structures I have
A couple of favorite spots on the lower river, I have only fished 2 times since the opening I have not connected I have seen 1 caught by a gear guy throwing spoons. I have not seen the pressure that has been the
Norm the let few years I think it is all being funneled to the Methow.
Good luck and tightlines. I mostly nymph fish 2 fly setup.
Kelly Michelsen


Well-Known Member
To each his own, but I cannot for the life of me understand why a fisherman would travel from western WA to the Wenatchee to fish deep sunk flies with tips and or lead shot in the early fall. Water temperatures have dropped now, and sunk flies are the odds on bet for getting a hit. But inland steelhead are the troutiest examples of the species. When the water temp is 50 or above these fish are free risers most of the time. They'll rise at even lower temperatures on a number of rivers. I fish tips and deep sunk flies 90% of the year because I'm fishing for winter steelhead or summer runs in cold water conditions, and that's the only way to produce strikes. No way would I sacrifice the opportunity and waste the gas and not fish on the surface when I travel to an inland steelhead river. Surface fishing works on these fish. Why deny yourself the satisfaction of a surface strike? At least run a floating line through the pool first and follow through with sunk junk if you must and see if you can entice a non-player into playing.

Regarding floating...I've seen a number of drift boats float the section you described to the boat launch across from Blackbird Island in Leavenworth. It's a gorgeous river, glad it's still open.