where are the non crowded river spots?

looking for some quiet nice sireen spots to fish, non crowded, not too far from tacoma area(50 miles or so. Day or evening.
My dad and I are just starting out flyfishing. Got the gear, need to know where to go, thx. :THUMBSUP
If the secret spots were posted on the internet they wouldn't be secret anymore. Finding new places on your own is just part of fishing. Even on most crowded rivers you can find some places to yourself if you do some walking.


Active Member
You hit the nail on the head cuponoodle.
For all you rookies out there... Fly fishing is a great sport/hobby that is rich in tradition. You won't find a nicer bunch of people, but there are some things just too sacred that not even the kindest soul on earth can share. As such, it does the sport (and you) a favor by not having people share "uncrowded" fishing holes on busy internet sites like this. Don't get me wrong. Everyone appreciates the info on a site like this. I know I do. If you read through this you'll get a lot of information about gear, flies, etc. But half the fun of fly fishing is finding those "uncrowded" spots on your own. When you see access info about the rivers and lakes that are no secret feel free to share, but don't expect to find out about the next great "uncrowded" river on a website. As soon as you do, hundreds of others will too.
One tip, if you want to avoid crowds: Don't go anywhere that's been freshly featured in a publication (ie. Fishing & Hunting News) or website. You won't be alone if you do.
well i thought i would try anyway. I expected that answer after I posted it. Any suggestions for beginners that I should know. Thanks for the replies! :THUMBSUP

Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
Actually, the best way to ask this question is to ask "What places should I avoid while fly fishing?"

Then we will line up to tell you: My favorite is never fish fortson's hole on the stilly or Reiter Ponds on the Sky, or Tokul Creek on the Snoqualmie on the weekends. They are wall to wall with gear guys and a decent fly drift is impossible to obtain.

If you want to be alone on a river, there are literally thousands of miles of water on the west side that see few, if any fishermen. Basically, I just don't go to the name brand places: Rocky Ford, Lone Lake, and Dry Falls lake are not on my A list. My A list is made up of places that most people don't fish, or places they do fish, at other times of the year.

The least crowded place to fish in this state are the beaches for Sea-Run Cutthroats. Its most common when I go that I see no one fishing, much less with a fly rod.

As to tips for a beginner, I would suggest lake fishing out of a boat, canoe or raft, as when your arm gets tired, or you get frustrated, you can always troll flies.



...has several mistresses.
Hey, many a many day we all have driven, hiked, walked and bush-whack'd for NOTHING! I would as I am sure all of us would have to take our shoes off to count all the times exploration turned into "Well, at least I was on the water" trips. So, grab yourself a state map, start hitting water! When ya hook fish and there is nobody there, you have found your spot! Good luck! Not to sound like an ass or anything, but I firmly feel one has to "Pay their dues", I know I did!

Good luck and stick with it!

"If it aint wet, it aint xstream"
To start with most rivers are closed until June 1 so check your reg book. After June 1st there are tons of river areas you can find by using a good map and a set of hiking shoes. I find most of the rivers areas along trails starting from up and down I90. While I may come across other people hiking in these areas I do not find many fishing them. They are often shocked to see some one with a rod in hand in most of the areas I go. I myself plan to find many more new areas to try this summer using a map and my feet to explore new areas. It is rare for me to fish the same river area along I90 twice in a summer. Word of advise for a begginer would be to not over look smaller rivers, stay low so as to not spook the fish, remove your wrist watch so the flash does not hit the water and make sure you are good at casting first including while sitting down or on one knee. Be ready to lose flies in the trees because you will. In small rivers do not wade in, there is no reason to and you will scare the fish. Small rivers mean sight fishing so use stealth. Also be aware that most of the rivers that are not crowded are catch and release only that may be part of the reason that they are non-crowded. One last thing be ready to put lots of miles on your feet and pack like you are going for a long hike you never know what mother nature might throw at you or where your adventure might take you. Since most secret spots are still just that, pack out everything you pack in so that they stay that way. The fun of a secret spot is finding it and making it your own for a time. :pROFESSOR Oh and if some one want to know some of the secret river areas I am talking about. forget it I have already said all I am going to.
Caddisaction, Hi. You've already heard about people not giving up their favorite spots, so I'll only second those cautions. Here are a few ideas that might help you and your dad find some really cool places that are known only by the two of you.
Get a good map book, it's worth it.
Spend some time frequently and money occassionally in your local fly shops. They know where the great spots are, and might help.
Look for altitude and seclusion, above natural and man made barriers. Trout there will be uneffected by anadramous species.
I like creeks that have consistant water supply, never dry up. :SAD
It's best to hike a little. Not necessarily miles, but at least a few hundred yards, bush whacking too. The fish don't move around in the small streams that much, so the areas right next to the parked car have few fish after a few weeks of pressure. Don't worry about the crowds. I've fished several years now and the only others I've seen are people that are with me, unless I'm steelheading the larger rivers.
A previous poster said he rarely if ever fishes the same spot. I'm not that way. I'll revisit a spot as many as 5-6 times if I know there are fish there. So, I'm very particular about careful C&R so that the fish population stays healthy.
I like the suggestion to carry out all your garbage. But if I go to a lot of work and find a good place, I'll pick up other litter too. No point in letting others see it's a popular area.
I rarely get skunked, it only happens on rivers or creeks that are new to me. You'll find your niche in flyfishing, and your spots will be yours. Practice casting at home. 15-20 minutes at a time several days a week is not too much. Remember, time on the river is for fishing, not casting practice. Tie up lots of those caddis patterns, you'll need them. :COOK Flyfisher Frank
I know hard hard it is to start out and the best 15 bucks you'll ever spend is on your Washington Atlas and Gazeteer. My advice is forget about going north, head south...now that the Deschutes is catch and release, we need more eye's on the river watching for worm chuckers. Try walking the 3rd hole at Tumwater golf course...it may be crowded, may not be, upper Nisqually can be good at times for rainbow.

Yes. Pay your dues, blah blah blah. I'm sure you'd like to know who you're supposed to pay. Jeez you guys; we can throw the kid a bone. There are places out there besides Rocky Ford and the Yakima that are still not anybody's "secret spot."

The crowded places are crowded for a reason; they generally have the best fishing. Uncrowded places are usually that way because they are very hard or expensive to get to, or the fishing is kind of marginal, or some combination of the three, not necessarily because nobody knows about them. Sure there are exceptions, and those are the places people have every right to guard, within reason. There are other places though that plenty of people know about but not a lot of people fish, often because most people want to be where they think the fishing's better. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun there, particularly if you don't like crowds, and you shouldn't have to feel bad about asking where they are.

Out on the peninsula, the Dicky River, the upper Solduc, and the south fork of the Hoh are just a few streams that offer decent if spotty cutthroat fishing and minimal crowds in the summer and fall. If anybody feels I've given up their "secret," they should've taken a look at Fishing Holes, STS, any of several flyfishing magazines over the last decade or so, or the "info" board at any number of regional fly shops; that boat has sailed my friends. The Elwah in Olympic National Park offers uncrowded fishing for nice rainbows all summer. It's not a secret, just a long walk. I know that's farther than you're looking for, but often that's part of the deal, or "paying your dues." (And yes, check the regs before you go anywhere.)

Yes, pay your dues. Get a Gazetteer, and a copy of Flyfishers Guide to Washington by Greg Thomas, and the Washington State Fishing Guide #8 by Terry Sheely (there might be some #7s out there with a Stan Jones byline; the #8s are fully updated). The WSFG is not a fly guide, but it has every puddle and rivulet in the state; read between the lines and then explore to find your own secret spots you can get snotty about. But having the nerve to ask questions is part of paying your dues too. Keep asking, at flyshops, outdoor shows, and yes even on internet BBs.

o mykiss

Active Member
I think everyone is always trying to answer the same question. I tend to be after steelhead, and one thing you'll find is that the metropolitan area rivers that are known for steelhead or other anadromous fishing can consistently be pretty crowded, other than maybe during the week. I think if you want solitude, your best bet is to avoid the anadromous fish-bearing streams (e.g., Snoqualmie above the falls, particularly Middle and North Forks as far away from I-90 as you can get) or rivers that aren't reputed to be good for anadramous fishing. In the latter category, you might try the Tolt River, which flows into the Snoqualmie just above Carnation. I fish the lower section (accessible near the bridge that goes over the Tolt) with some frequency in the summer and don't usually see many people there. The fishing is pretty inconsistent, but it's not bad for solitude. There is also access to the Tolt further up river. There's a road (can't remember what it's called) that you get on kind of in the middle of Carnation that eventually travels near the river (you can figure it out by looking at a good map). There are a few spots you can pull over on this road once it gets close to the river (one obvious one, marked - I think - with one of those Public Fishing signs, and a couple that are less obvious) with good access to the river. The state owns easements along the Carnation side of this section of the Tolt, so you actually have the right to wander through people's back yards along the river - the easement extends back from the high water mark some number of feet (I can't remember how many; I stay below the high water mark or as near as possible). I've never run into anyone fishing this section of the river. A couple of other tips: (1) unless you're going during the middle of the week (and even then don't get your hopes up), you are not likely to find much solitude on any of the metropolitan area rivers near the places where people can park, so if you can find places that have trails that allow you to hike away from the public parking areas, you're more likely to find some elbow room; (2) when you plan your trip, it's best to have at least two backup spots planned in case the first one or two you hit are crowded - better to have planned that in the calmness of your house the night before than next to a river in a car loaded with fishing gear as the clock is ticking; and (3) look through the regs for rivers or sections of rivers that are under selective gear rules. Regulation makes these streams off limits to about 75% of the fishing population - not a guarantee of solitude (e.g., North Fork of the Stillaguamish, which is fly fishing only for about 6 mos. of the year, can be crowded) but I think it ups your odds. Oh, and if you really want to increase the odds of finding solitude, don't forget there's about 4,000 miles of beaches on Puget Sound.
Lots of wind on this string, here is my two cents worth. Most flyfishers are lazy. If you are willing a walk, even for 5 minutes, you can just about always find a spot to have mostly to yourself. Every river has crowded spots and uncrowded spots. Nobody has a secret river, just their spot. Exploring and getting out and about is great, actually catching a fish is a bonus for me. (If I set myself up to only judge my fishing trips by fish caught, I never would have made it through my first few years fishing, enjoy getting out into the woods and finding "your" spot)

Before I sign off, get a washington atlas!! It will be the best 20 bucks you spend on fishing gear, I promise.

Good luck!

Scott Salzer

previously micro brew

I would strongly disagree with you about FF's being lazy. How many FF's do you see sitting at launch areas, fishing docks or along a bank? In addition, you won't find alot of anchored boats, pontoons or tubes, unless chronie fishing, on lakes.

Sorry, but you picked the wrong type of fisherperson to describe as "lazy". Plus, we don't hide in the trees on no bait lakes....

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