(SFR) Best base for year-round SW fishing?

Hi, all. Been reading this board for a few months now and finally decided to register and see if you'd indulge a stupid question. My wife and I plan to retire to Washington (we're now in the "other" Washington) in a year or two and have been doing some househunting in the Gig Harbor and Kitsap areas. I like to fly fish from a boat in the Chesapeake Bay (there's very little fishing from shore here) and plan to do a lot more in Washington upon retirement. The boat would be moored rather than trailered, so having a home port close to a year-round fishery is important. If you could live anywhere on the Sound, where would you live if you wanted to be able to fish in the Sound on a boat throughout the year? Thanks for any input, and I'd be happy to provide info regarding the southern Maryland portion of the Chesapeake to anyone with questions.

P.S. You don't have to worry about me taking your fish since (1) I mostly C&R, and (2) I ain't that good a fisherman ... :)


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Gig Harbor would be a great choice in my opinion. Blackmouth, migrating and resident silvers and sea run cutts all within easy striking distance of there.

Scott Salzer

previously micro brew
I concur about Gig Harbor. Another option might on the Steilacoom side, like Days Island. Good access to the The Narrows, and across the channel to Fox Island, Hale Passage & Carr inlet. Olympia might be a little farther south than you want to go.
They're in the process of creating a new bridge across the narrows, which connects Tacoma to Gig Harbor. Upon completion, that will be a toll bridge. So it would cost you, then, to come to the Seattle / Tacoma / Olympia side (or a very long drive). If you want access to the cities, you want to live on the east side.

Personally, I look forward to the day when I don't need access to things like airports and shopping malls. If that's you, then yeah - the Gig Harbor side. Property values on Kitsap peninsula are relatively affordable (but then, compared to DC, probably everything appears to be) and there are some neat places over there.
Thanks for the responses! We were out looking in August and didn't see a whole lot of houses for sale in the Gig Harbor area. The nice thing about having a year or two to search is that we can wait for the right property. And you'd be surprised about relative "affordability" compared to DC. We thought we'd be able to trade up a little, but it appears that speculators buying multiple houses have done a fine job of driving the prices up in antcipation of our move ...

I've already learned quite a bit by reading your forum and will look forward to participating.


Active Member
i would suggest you check out the weather for various locations in western WA as an aid to making your decision. if you pick the 'wrong' location, you will be in the gray gloom for months on end during the winter months.
We actually did look in the Pt. Townsend area. Believe it or not, there aren't any cardiologists in the hospital up there (retirement planning is so much fun ...), and we'd also like convenient access to some larger city. From what I understand, that pretty much rules out a lot of the Banana Belt, so we may need to learn to deal with the gray gloom. Any good local microclimate info out there?
My wife and I are currently looking for a home in Gig Harbor as well. With that said, the housing market has slowed down since August and people are cutting prices like crazy since houses aren't selling and interest rates are going up. You might want to wait a little bit and see if housing drops a little bit more.
Also if you plan on moving in the next two years, I would recommend buying a house around the holidays. The holidays are always the worst time of year to sell a house (I'm experiencing this now) but for a buyer that could be a really good thing.


Gig Harbor sounds like a good fit for you. You might consider picking up a smaller boat that you can trailer, there are a ton of boat launches around the puget sound. It's really a hit and miss fishery that requires a lot of exploration and notation about when and where you caught what.

If I were in your shoes I'd consider moving to Sequim (Port Angeles would be the closest "big city"). It's got a nice rainshadow so it's not dumping and as grey there, you're within an hour drive to some of the best steelhead and salmon rivers in the state, and even closer to the Dungeness which can be good for salmon and dollies. Most importantly you have better access to the straits of juan de fuca, which in my opinion better saltwater fishing then the puget sound does. You wont see as many searun cutthroat as you do in the sound, but you have rockfish, more migrating salmon that are more apt to eat your fly, and there is a healthy population of halibut.

I grew up out here, then moved to Baltimore for a while, then ended up coming back because I missed the mild weather and good fishing. I love it here, you're in for a treat if you enjoy the outdoors and can handle the grey winters.

Mike McCluskey

Macker of the Clan Campbell
There was an intersting article in today's Seattle PI about housing prices. Not sure about Gig Harbor, but it seems to be not increasing as much as has been.....but I haven't seen any cutting in prices!


Active Member
the olympic mtns rain shadow also impacts a part of whidbey island if that's any closer in for you. don't know about medical care on the island, but you would be a short ferry ride from seattle metro.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
One other area you may want to check out is the Miller Bay / Indianola area. Not far from Poulsbo, Silverdale or Bremerton.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
Since you are still in the looking phase you ought to try the Seattle area. There are numerous small towns in the area with good access to many hospitals. If the rivers ain't open the lakes are and if the lakes ain't open the salt beaches are.