January advice?


New Member
I’ll be visiting family in the Seattle area for the Holidays (I’m from PA) and will have a day or two to sneak out for some fishing the first week of January. Any advice or suggestions on what might typically be worthwhile that week? I’ve done well in the past fishing the beaches for SRC (thanks to Leland’s advice) so I could always do that and have fun. Is there anything else I should consider? I’ll be staying near Redmond, and the Sno is nearby. If the flows are good, that might be a no-brainer. I’ve also never fished for Dolly Varden, so that’s a species on my wish list… Any suggestions are appreciated.
If the conditions don’t look good, plan B is to go skiing. I had to resort to that the last time I was in the area. Too many choices, so little time.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
The first week of January is about the coldest time of the year in Western Washington. I've seen it get below zero at that time of the year.


Active Member
Sorry, hit a glitch.
You're unlikely to encounter any Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma). While they do occur in Washington, they are almost all limited to small high-elevation tributaries in the Cascades and Olympics where they never achieve any significant size. The large anadromous char in north Puget Sound and coastal rivers are bull trout (S. confluentus). Read Smalma's Skagit bull trout bio article in the Articles and Reference info section.

The Skagit, Sauk and Skykomish Rivers can offer excellent fishing for them.


Well-Known Member

First week of January best bets are salt water SRC, bull trout in the rivers Preston mentioned, and winter steelhead in those same rivers.



New Member
Thanks for the clarification of Dollies vs. bull trout. Someone was telling me about fishing for them in the coastal rivers and I wasn't sure whether they were really referring to bull trout. Sounds like I'm on the right tack. Depending on conditions at the time I can choose between SRC or bull char/winter steelhead. Thanks for the quick response!

Jim Darden

Active Member
Well, I don't blame you for the confusion, I can't tell the difference between bull trout and dollies. They spawn in the same water at the same time and look pretty similar to me....Curt chime in on this if I'm going awry.....you are sort of at the end of the Skagit hatchery run that seems to peak in December, but you should have a shot at both those and the dollies/bull trout....
That's pretty much prime time for hatchery steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula rivers. You could go out there and just pick a river and give it a try, but for best results, a guided trip on any of those famed rivers would be your best bet. Give Jim at Raincoast Guides a call. He is a sponsor on this site. It may be too late, but you never know, he may have a slot open. Another equally as good outfit is Brazda's (Jeff) Fly Fishing. There are many others as well, but I have had success with both of these guys. Good luck on whatever you choose, even if it's skiing.


New Member
After reading the suggested bull trout bio, I might have to target them if I get the chance. Good advice on using a guide when in unfamiliar territory, but I think I've exceeded my budget for guided trips this year. For me most of the fun is trusting my instincts and discovering things on my own... I really appreciate all the advice!

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