River practice location request


WFF Supporter
I'm a fledgling beginner. I've had two lessons, so I'm to the point that I'm just a football shy of being a monkey-based metaphor. I have a couple of lakes to practice on, but what I'd like to find is a stretch of moving water to get the full experience, something I could walk to and practice for an hour or so. And it would be nice if that water actually had some legal fish in it to amp up the motivation factor when the weather is less than optimal.

The Green and Puyallup close at the end of this month, and the Nisqually is not opening at all. The only place on the Cowlitz I know of to walk into is either Barrier or Blue Creek. I'm not proficient enough at two-handed casting to deal with those crowds. I'd be willing to drive to the Wynoochee or Satsop, but I don't know where access is that would be conducive to spey casting. I don't know what other options exist.

So, I'm asking for ideas or recommendations for just one spot that I can access relatively easy, and is a good example of what good swinging water looks like, that I can practice Snap-Ts and Double Speys, for starters. PM is great if you're not comfortable sharing anything here, but I don't expect any secret squirrel spots, just a place that is kind to beginners where I can build my confidence.



Active Member
The Sandy, just east of Portland might be possible, Oregon license required. There are several boat landing/camping areas near major highways that provide decent swinging water access.


Come up north to the Sky on 2nd or 3rd Sunday of the month and meet some great casters and you might even bump into Mike Kinney :). They meet up , cast various lines, rods etc, all are welcome, everyone helps out abit. You’ll learn a lot!


New Member
Can you take the hook off a fly and toss that when your local waters close? Also, the middle fork of the Snoqualmie is open year round, and that's like a 45 min drive


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
Now that there aren't any more plants of early returning steelhead, you shouldn't find much pressure or crowds on the Cowlitz until mid to late February.


Active Member
I don’ live in your neck of the woods so I can’t help you with specifics on the rivers, but I have used google earth in Sattelite mode to find areas that look like good swing water and good access when going to rivers I’ve never fished before...a rather obvious, but healpful tool.

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
I'm also a beginner and found that when the tide is going out by the Purdy bridge, it is a more than adequate current to duplicate a river. Plenty of room too.


High bank poacher
WFF Supporter
I see alot of peeps casting at Wapato Lake in Tacoma. Its a kids only lake, but I am pretty sure they just use yarn so as to not violate the WDWF designation


WFF Supporter
Wapato Lake is where I had my first lesson. There's a nice area on the East side where you can wade out knee deep. Evidently there is a group of competition casters that practice there regularly.

Nooksack Mac

Active Member
When driving across the Nooksack River bridge at Nugent's Corner, east of Bellingham, one can often see anglers fishing or casting along the broad, open shore. This can be at any time of year, even during the terrible parts of this year when Puget Sound rivers were closed to fishing. Many spey fishers practice there, casting tufts of bright yarn rather than flies. The area wardens know about this, and don't bother to check.

So I believe that you could practice on your local streams, if you first introduce yourself and announce your intentions to the local authorities. But when you're practicing, never have a fly or other hook on you!

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