New to Seattle area and looking to catch steelhead on the fly.

Hey there - I just moved to Seattle from Oklahoma where I did quite a bit of fishing for trout in the area. However, I am pumped to get hooked up with a steelhead. I have all the gear necessary and a few fly's that were recommended to me at Patrick's Fly Shop.

I would love some advice as to where to go. I have been told to access near Sultan and Monroe but I would love to know more. I am also looking to get out this weekend and fish a lot. I can drive and cover the gas if anyone wants to go. Thanks for your help.


There is great access near Sultan and Monroe. Unfortunately the Skykomish is closed until the first weekend in June. Real hotspots are going to be tough to find on the internet, though. Sorry to burst your bubble. Good luck in the search.

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
I would head east to the South Fork of the Clearwater, with a 12-14 mm peachy pearl bead and an indicator and fish from Stites down.
If your open to drive look up directions to the Grande Ronde. River is in great shape to fish this weekend... Check it out and hit the water, from my experience the best thing to do to catch your first steelhead is to get on the water. You may have to work hard and put in the hours, but boy is it worth it!!

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Welcome. With steelhead numbers down and mor rivers closed than open you are going to have to put in some search work (That is a hint) and some drive time (another hint). Then time on the water. If you find the right water and fish it well the steelhead will reward you. Best of luck.
Most everything close to Seattle is closed until June 1st. Get a regulation book (another hint) so you don't get yourself in trouble right away. I'd also get a Gazetter map book or something similar and do some research. I doubt anybody is going to tell you where the really hot spots are. Most people on the site expect you to earn your stripes before they loosen their lips, so to speak.


beads are NOT flies and snagging is just ghetto
hire a guide now, reap the rewards every time you fish for steelhead.
or spend a few hundred days on your own to get to the same point.
welcome to planet steelhead, hope you enjoy the scenery.
Sounds like your expectations of success are a bit higher than they should be. Getting a steelhead, especially a first steelhead, is waaaay more work than you're probably expecting. Nobody is going to give up a hot spot on here, simply because steelheading is 99% dependent on the spot, and 1% fly selection. You can go access the Sky around Monroe in 4 months, but I wouldn't expect to catch a steelhead there.... or really anywhere on the Skykomish. They're there, and it's possible if you're lucky... But the Skykomish is one of the most difficult places in the state to find a first steelhead on the fly.
Hey Jordan,

I dont mean to mean any disrepect to anyone in particular on this forum but I can't help but comment on this subject. I understand everyone likes to think that they have there secret honey holes and that no one in this world knows where its at but lets be realistic. WA is not the prestine steelhead fisheries in the world. Now the reason why I love to fly fish and what I thought fly fishing meant was to enoy not only the sport of catching fish but to encourage others to learn and to teach our younger generations too. Without a generl passion in younger generation fly fishing we won't continue to grow and develop the fly fishing industry. Fly shops will deminish like they have over the last 5-6 years and then what are we left with?????? Again no insult intended but we will find ourselves walking into sportmans warehouse for fishing reports and such. Now to what I intended this post to direct to was the fact that Jordan is a new cat to our state. He obviously wants to learn the art of steelhead fishing and has taken the right direction to speak with someone at a local fly shop and get the right gear needed(Points for supported our local shops) So out of that entire post the only thing we have welcomed him with was find a map, get a regulation, drive around, explore, no one will tell you anything, teach you anything, bla bla bla bla. There is steelhead within a coupe hours of Seattle. Maybe not as many rivers as there usually is open but there is still a few. And yes Steelhead are harder then most species of fish to catch because of there limited numbers but if you have a solid background of flyfishing it will not take you years to catch a fish. Further from this post I will not engage in commenting anymore on this subject. The point I wanted to make is the guy made an attempt to hook up with someone possibly find a fishing buddy and enjoy learning to fish our local waters. Instead people turn there nose and figure it out yourself. That is not the way I believe our sport should be. And Jordan if you want to go catch some steel I would be happy to hook up and possibly get you your first steel or at least get you moving in the right direction.


Well-Known Member

If you're in Seattle and you want to fish for steelhead this weekend, you're gonna' have to drive a ways. The closest open river is the Wenatchee. The fish are summer runs that came up the Columbia River last summer and fall. It's cold there, and the fish hang in slower water than one typically finds steelhead in. The river is open from Tumwater Dam downstream, but the best fly fishing is from Leavenworth down. Fishing has been reported as slow. Access is pretty decent as there is a highway or secondary roads along most of the river.

The next best bet is the rivers of the west end of the Olympic peninsula, about 4 hours drive from Seattle. All the rivers are good, but access is more difficult and not all the good steelhead holding water is good fly fishing water. Finding good places to fish requires a lot of driving around and exploring. I can't tell you where the good spots are because most of these rivers change every year. Drive up and down a river, poking into every gravel or rutted road that heads toward the river. Look for parked cars. Look to see if they are fishing rigs. If they are, look for the obvious trail to the river. Follow it. If you see fishermen, talk to them. Maybe they know something and will tell you; maybe they won't. Either way you'll know more than you did. Keep that spot in mind and keep looking. That's how it works. Steelheading is more about hunting than it is fishing.

Good luck.



Active Member
The Chehalis system is still open and can be a day trip from Seattle. Some of the tribs can be crowded, inaccessible, or generally not good fly water, though. If you look in the regs, almost all the rivers currently open in western WA have fishable numbers of steelhead.
Thanks for the insight! I have dedicated numerous hours to the sport of fly fishing and I'm well aware that it's not in one's best interest to disclose their hot spot. I was merely looking for a general area to at least get started. There are some great recommendations here and I would like to point out Northweststeel's comment in particular. I think you hit the nail on the head. I appreciate you welcoming me to the area and I would be happy to fish with you anytime.

I really do appreciate all the help and I know that I have to "pay" my dues and find my spots. I'm looking forward to exploring the waters up here.


Active Member
I don't think it was anyone's intention to blow him off and tell him to "put his time time." I think we'd all love to welcome someone new to the sport and share the joys of learning to read water, select flies, tie flies, hooking fish, and having a celebratory pull of red breast. I think the most important point was that it's a LOT of work finding steelhead - it's physically and emotionally exhausting at times. Not saying this would happen but nobody wants to get to one of their favorite spots 10 minutes before light just to find "Mike, the guy who moved here last July" with his two stoked buddies geared up and ready to fish. For me that sounds like the beginning of a horror flick. Time on the river is precious (yes, kinda like Gollum and the ring).

That being said, welcome, Jordy Jordan! There are a lot of awesome people on the forum and you'll learn a ton. Plus when you can't go fishing and you feel like reading about fishing and fisherman it's pretty fun on here.

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