Wading The Rivers In The Area

I just moved to North Bend, WA, and have a couple of questions. Are the rivers in this area, wading rivers, or do you need a drift boat. I have fished most of the rivers in Michigan, for trout - steelhead - and salmon. And most of them, compared to what I see around here, are more like streams or brooks, in comparison. Most of my trout experience is in Michigan and the eastern U.S. and Canada. The gradients seem much higher here, and the water much faster flowing.

Any insight would be appreciated. I'm a catch and release fisherman, and will be trying to teach a couple of my brothers the joys of fly fishing. HELP! PLEASE!


Active Member
You have the north south and middle forks of the Snoqualmie right out your back door which are great trout fisheries in the summer months and easily wadeable. I mainly fish the south fork and have a blast. Many other rivers in your near vicinity are wadeable also.
Thanks, for the information. I was curious about the Snoqualmie. I'm sure it's up due to runoff and rain. Does it stay cool enough in the summers to support a good trout population? I was excited to see that Brookies are up here. Not very big, but damn aggressive, and easy to teach a novice to catch.


Go Outside
The Snoqualmie definitely has some trout in all three forks. I am not sure that I would classify it as a "good" population, but they are in there. If I lived in North Bend, I would buy a pass to Hancock Tree Farm. I have had a key the last couple of years, but the drive wasn't worth it from north Seattle. You aren't too far from the Yakima River as well which should not be overlooked. Search this forum for information on sea run cutthroat in Puget Sound. Get used to long drives and don't be disappointed if you come away without any fish. Welcome to the forum and the area.
Thanks for the info. I used to have to drive three or four hours, in Michigan, to get to the AuSable or PM, so an hour or so won't be an issue. I'll look into the Hancock Tree Farm. For the last eleven years, I lived in my home state of TX, so I'd have to fly somewhere for trout. At this point, just trying to hook one would be a success. Thanks again.
The snoqualmie forks can be fun if you get onto the brookies but mostly its just small 5-8" rainbow and cutthroat. Nowadays I fish a 3wt. glass rod up there and catch as many as I want. You'll want to wait until July for the "best" fishing. I like the evenings after a hot summer day when the hatches come off and every fish in the river is looking up. Attractor dries are really all you need. In my opinion nymphing is mostly unnecessary.

The mainstem Snoqualmie gets some hatchery steelhead and even less native fish but its always worth a try. The Yak is a quick hop over the pass and that has a alot of nice fish, but can be tempermental.
Never caught a cutthroat. I love using my 3wt. Guess I'll give my brother my 5wt. My rods for trout are Winston's. I've been told they're a little "slow" for the "West". But if you're using a glass rod, I should be fine. Thanks for the information.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
Trout in Western Washington are there. You just have to search for them. I used to live in the greater Everett area. I found many places where trout hung out at. But it takes a lot of searching for them. And they aren't as plentiful as they are in Mich.


Active Member
Most of western Washington's streams do not offer particularly good trout fishing (as mentioned, the forks of the Snoqualmie offer fish mostly in the 5"-8" range). Although there is some evidence that populations of resident rainbows are increasing in some of the mainstem rivers (including the Snoqualmie) they are still not all that common. Some of the best trout fishing in the larger rivers is in the latter part of the summer and fall for sea-run cutthroat returning to the rivers (even though they will not spawn until late winter/spring).

A boat is not really necessary even on the larger rivers. The classic technique for winter steelhead is the swing, while working your way, step-by-step, down a gravel bar. Access isn't usually a serious problem and there are lots of long gravel bars. There are many miles of accessible beaches along the sound for salmon and (again) sea-run cutthroat if you wish to try something different.

An 18-inch sea-run cutthroat

PM me if you want more specific information.
From North Bend you're only 40 min to the upper waters of the Yakima. The 5wt Winston will be perfect. There is tons of access in that area including the state launch ramps on golf course road and near the Ensign Ranch.Wading can be good from both those points.

Go to the home page and read the article on fishing the Yakima. Get a Delorme atlas and go explore.

You're at ground zero for good small river/stream fishing in all three upper forks of the Snoqualmie. The fish are mostly small, but they're plentiful, and you'll get the occasional fish in the 12" range.
A couple of wading tips for our waters -
  1. Get to know the flow gauges and keep a fishing log. For example if the South Fork Snoqualmie is running at 250cfs and you felt like you could safely wade a particular spot at that level then note it in your log. Then you'll know from then on that that spot is worth visiting at that level or lower.
  2. If you don't have one consider a wading staff--the SF Snoqualmie gets pretty slick in the late summer. And the best spots can require bushwacking and it will double as a hiking staff as well as let you push prickly devil's club and salmon berry branches out of the way (if you haven't encountered devil's club yet you are in for a 'treat'). I like to use an old wooden broom handle as floats and is very strong.
The season can seem short on a lot of the smaller streams around there but with all wadeable miles of rivers near you you'll quickly fill up that log with great trips.