Fly Fishing Whitefish vs. Trout

General fishing related questions.


WFF Supporter
I've been fishing a Snoqualmie tributary for the last few days and have caught a bunch of whitefish, but no trout. Earlier in the year, I caught trout, but no whitefish. Below are the flies I have caught fish on, over the last few days.

#18 pheasant tail nymph - 5 fish
#10 hares ear nymph - 1 fish
#10 3xl black stonefly nymph - 3 fish

Does anyone have any theories about why I'm not getting any trout? I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong!

I thought I might be fishing too deep, so I fished lighter flies. However, that didn't seem to make much difference; I just stopped catching any fish at all.

I would usually only fish slower water this time of year, but I covered all the water just in case the trout were holding elsewhere. Again, that seemed to make no difference; all the whitefish were caught in slower sections and I didn't get any takes in other areas.
Last edited:
On our Crooked River tailwater here in OR, whitefish tend to school up: catch one, catch a lot. In December, whitefish spawn by broadcasting their eggs in riffly water. When this happens, the trout are not far behind and below!

Skip Enge

Uck Uck Uck, bitches
used to...yeah that's how this starts out... upper Lewis River in SW the or jest below the junction of the Lewis and the Muddy...c.1966 to the big blow in 1980...big whitefish any kid of fly...Camas slough same era before contaminating river spills my foster brother and I caught a lot of whitefish below the Ladys Is. Bridge (Hwy 14) we ate them...
this is interesting...



Huge Fly Guy
WFF Supporter
I heard the perfect description of whitefish the other day, "short fin grayling"....

What's wrong with catching short fin grayling?

To echo what I think I read in this thread, but maybe someplace else, if you don't want to catch as many short fin grayling, move to slightly faster water (although, in the middle of winter, trout and short-fins can still be found in similar water).

Greg Armstrong

WFF Supporter
You have to tell the story now.
Drove across two states to get to a holy water trout stream. It was just about getting too dark to see as I made my way up the lower reaches when going around a bend the headlights of the truck showed voluptuous rises in a big pool of the sacred waters. I’d been bassin’ on my last outing, and the popper was still rigged up, so instead of retying in the dark I said what the heck and flipped the thing out there, twitched it once and bam! Thought I’d hooked the trout of my dreams, but after a tremendous fight there in the light of the moon was the biggest by far whitefish I’d ever seen, with the bass bug hooked firmly in the corner of it’s rubbery lip.


Go Beavs
I was fishing off a dock in Central Oregon this past fall with a 4-inch streamer and I fair-hooked a 14 inch whitefish. I was surprised. There were a lot of whitefish around and they were attacking pretty much anything.

Rob Allen

Active Member
Ha, when fishing for Grayling on the upper Big Hole you use small dry flies and the Whitefish actively feed on them. I feel, pound for pound, Whitefish out-fight Trout.
True.. I have nothing against white fish..I swing softhackles for grayling on the upper big hole and catch plenty of white fish because they are in the same place doing the same thing as the grayling. But catching Whitefish on a nymph requires no skill whatsoever and when I am trout fishing. It's about e joking the skills I have obtained through a half century of practice.
I get no satisfaction from fishing that requires no skill.

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts