Considering Move


Well-Known Member

From another WA state native, if you like the fishing opportunities you now have, and these are important to you, I would not move here without an in-person visit and some thoughtful analysis. In Seattle, it will take you 45 minutes to get anywhere, if the traffic is good, and it's usually bad. Rush hour now lasts from 6:30 AM to 7:30 or 8:00 PM. LA style traffic is now the norm from Olympia on I-5 south to well north of Everett at Smokey Point. 50% (over 3 million) of WA state's population lives between these two I-5 points. When I have meetings in north Puget Sound it takes me 3 hours to drive through it all, and that's if I leave home at 5:45 AM. I used to drive it in 2 hours, easy.

There is some good fishing within one hour of Seattle. However, there are 500,000 other anglers looking for that exact same spot. Sport fishing in this state means driving, and lots of it. When I was young I generally would not consider driving over an hour to go fishing. Now my driving limit for day trips is up to 3 hours each way.

Your prospective work location in SODO likely means at least a one hour commute, each way. There is some stream fishing within one hour (barely) of Seattle, but most is going to be a 2 hour driver or longer. The nearest spring creek fishing is over 3 hours away. I haven't checked, but I would not be surprised if the WI steelhead sport catch is greater than WA's. Steelhead fishing hasn't really disappeared, yet, but by the numbers, it's getting close. My favorite steelhead water is now in British Columbia, and my favorite trout fishing is in Alaska, if that helps with perspective.

The one thing we have in western WA is a mild climate. No North Pole winters and no hot humid summers. And Seattle gets only 35" of rain a year, mostly in tiny doses so that it rains about 250 days a year.

But if you decide to move here, Welcome!



Author, Writer, Photographer
First: I've never lived in Washington or Oregon. I did end up spending a great deal of time in Seabeck, Washington.
Second: As a visitor to that area I believe I saw it with very different eyes than those who live there.
The people: While I encountered a few pretty grumpy people (out of the blue I got into an argument with a guy at the Pike Market about hunting and guns after he saw I was wearing my packers and a knife and Leatherman on my belt. I should never have answered him when he asked me where I was from), as a whole, people there seemed to be very friendly. I thought I would find a lot of depressed folk because of all the rain, but I found that there wasn't nearly as many cloudy, gray, rainy days as I thought there would be. (There are a LOT of Navy Vets there and so I had something in common with a lot of people.)
The Food: Good restaurants in Montana are as scarce as a PMD hatch in January. Fast food chains reign supreme. Also, decent grocery stores with fresh produce with a diverse selection are also pretty rare. In the Seattle area as well as some of the places along the Hood Canal and the OP (Olympic Peninsula) I found some amazing food.
Micro-brewed beer: Wow, what a wonderful selection. The Scottish Ale at the Silverdale Brewery was top notch. I first went there expecting Oly in a can. From Port Townsend (careful with their Barley Wine it will put you on the floor) to Vancouver, there's some really great beer.
Wine: Washington and Oregon have some really great Pinots and all sorts of Red blends. They are mostly reasonable priced and can stand up against many of the higher priced Napa or certainly French wines for bang for the buck.
Steelhead: While I'm guessing you can read plenty of complaints about how Steelies are managed, and I believe many of the complaints are warranted, it's still a great place to fish for these fish. Plus, the salmon fishing. While I don't think, for the most part, Washington or even Oregon can honestly claim to be a better trout fishery than Montana, the Steelhead and Salmon fishing are of course no contest.
I didn't like driving through Seattle, and when the snow shows up I'd rather face down an angry grizzly sow with two cubs than drive through that part of Washington.
They have really good coffee on every corner but only about two rest stops along I-5. That just seems cruel for us old guys.
It seems like you have to get a permit to even fart on your own property.
I moved to Seattle over 30 years ago from Idaho and have lived here ever since, apart from a few years in Michigan and five in Colorado.

My sense (others may disagree) of the fishing in the Puget Sound vicinity, that is, the area you can most readily access in a day outing from Seattle, is as follows:

1) that you can fish year 'round
2) there is a diversity of species to target
3) there are streams, lakes, and salt water to fish
4) lakes offer your best bet for trout.

1) The fishing isn't consistently good for anything in the area circumscribed above, except perhaps the beach fishing for searun cutthroat, and even that takes a ton of time to figure out and works best with a boat suitable for salt water.
2) popular places are crowded (including most major rivers that have salmon/steelhead runs, and the Yakima river, which really is at the limit of distance for day trips).
3) the most well-known anadromous fish runs (e.g., steelhead in virtually all Puget Sound area rivers) involve fishing among crowds for ever diminishing numbers of fish.
4) Congestion in the Seattle metro area has grown so much over the past 30 years that getting from home in the Seattle area to a destination on the water (or in the mountains, if you are into hiking and want to explore the mountain lakes) is/can be a real hassle.

So, while I have taken advantage of virtually all of the opportunities that the Puget Sound area has to offer for a fly fisherman, I still look forward to my trips to Montana and Idaho every summer to really get my fly fishing fix.

Oh, by the way, I'm surprised no one has jumped you for your comment on the "native" browns in Wisconsin!

I saw you said bass, I know must people use gear but Lake Washington and Sammamish are some of the best small mouth lakes in the nation. There are a lot of small ones that are good to. As what as been stated, Within 3 to 4 hours, you can be at the Ocean, Desert, and Rain forest. I don't know and other area that can do that in. In that short of time. Yakima river can be a hard river to fish at times but is a Blue ribbon trout stream. We have are problems, but there is so many different types of fish to caught. Plus we have small streams, and I like to fish them.
I'm concerned Seattle's big city hustle and bustle will drive me insane.
It will.

I spent three months working in Wisconsin about ten years ago. I was mostly in the pool lakes area but did get around a bit from Lake Michigan to Minneapolis. Never got to Green Bay or Milwaukee, so I don't know how the big cities of Wisconsin compare to Seattle. If you'll be tied to Seattle, then you will be in for a major change. The I-5 corridor is one long sprawl in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties. I hate big cities but Minneapolis seemed ok. If felt like the sprawl there was more confined and we could be out of the city much quicker than if we were escaping Seattle.
If you look up the number of licensed hunters in both states, that might give you some insight into how the people of each state are different. Get on a real estate website and look at the cost of housing too. The Seattle area ain't cheap.
I really liked Wisconsin and the people there. If I had to move, I'd consider going back there. But I don't know if I could take the summer heat and humidity.
Oh, by the way, I'm surprised no one has jumped you for your comment on the "native" browns in Wisconsin!

I made a tongue in cheek comment, but I didn't want to be an ass, the OP seems like a good guy.
Sorry Cheesehead, but brown trout are NOT native to Wisconsin, the brookies are quite possibly native though. Common mistake.
Consider California, best trout fishing this side of Montana and pretty decent Steelhead as well. Look at thread on this Forum and see why everyone loves it so much, pretty soon all the miscreants, vagrants, vagabonds and assorted ne'er-do-wells will be flooding into WA from here, CA will empty out and the good old days will roll again ;)


Active Member

Having done this move before, my first conversation would be around the cost of living adjustment and what compensation from your employer looks like. For what its worth, I found the %'s above to be understated in the move I made from Denver. While money isn't everything, a career move you've described should enable you to a similar (if not better) lifestyle you had in a smaller that new 8wt for steelhead, reel for sea run cutt, pontoon/ drift boat for floating big rivers, wet weather wading gear, gas to drive further and funds for hitting all the great breweries all cost money :D

Sorry for the giant image...can you tell I rarely post pictures


Active Member
I live in a small town in Oregon now and love it, but still miss some of the things about Seattle where I grew up. The people were great in Seattle until the population and money hit in the late 80's and 90's. I spent a lot of time in the midwest playing music in the late 70's and can tell you that while there are beautiful places, there is no ocean, humid weather (instead of rain) and no Mountains or ski areas worth skiing. The Northwest will always be the greatest part of the country to me, but when my son was born (in 1992) we moved out of the city and haven't looked back. If I was you I would think about living somewhere where your children can roam without you having to worry about them.....that would rule out the Seattle area. Best of luck!
I was born and raised in rural Wisconsin (Jefferson Co.) and stayed there 24 years, minus military time. Worked in Madison then was moved to the Twin Cities for 14 years (hunted and fished Polk and Burnett Counties, plus MN). In 1988 was moved to Seattle and have stayed. Just retired (second time) and sold our King Co. house and will be moving to the Vancouver WA area shortly. When I first arrived here I noticed a couple things right away. Number one is that your money does not go as far. Unless you can get outside the metro area your insurance on just about everything will jump. Example is that our car insurance will drop almost 30% as soon as we move out of King County. Number two is the traffic. I still grind my teeth when I have to deal with it. After years of commuting to Seattle I don't go there anymore unless there just isn't a way to avoid it. I'm familiar with the type of fishing you enjoyed from your base in Hudson and you will be hard pressed to find anything similar here. There is good fishing to be had here but it will involve travel and planning to avoid crowds and most of the fishing will be of a different style than you had back on the Tundra. On the plus side you can fish a large portion or all of the year on the west side. The west side is the land of no extremes when it comes to weather. After a few years the idea of Midwest winters and summers won't sound very appealing. This is a very different place to live, work and play. Be cautious and weigh what you will be leaving behind vs what you will be moving to. Good Luck.