Where to Go Fly Fishing in Washington in the Month of June

UPDATED:  June 1, 2024

How can it be June already?! Well, June is upon us and it has been quite cool lately in the greater Seattle and Western Washington area. This cooler weather has kept rivers on the low side and not in the typical big snow runoff period we often see in June. So, rivers like the Yakima have fished great lately with little concern over water conditions. Lakes are fishing well for trout, bass, and all sorts of fly fishing opportunities abound for those looking to hit the water this month.

Trout

Rivers - The key Washington trout rivers for the Western Washington fly angler for the month of June would be the Cedar River, the South Fork Skykomish, the Green River and the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. For those with the time to take a longer drive, Oregon's Deschutes, the Yakima, and the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula all have excellent trout fly fishing opportunities this month.

Cedar River, WA Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing - June 2023

The Cedar River (in the Kent/Maple Valley area), is a close, beautiful river even though it is in an urban area for sure. The Cedar produces some really nice rainbows and cutthroat. The largest of these fish, which can commonly be over 20", are likely spending some time in Lake Washington to achieve that size. Whatever the case, the Cedar is only open June through August and this year, June will likely be the best month.  Fish nymphs, streamers and dries. Imitate golden stones, PMDs, yellow sallies, caddis and minnows of suckers, whitefish, and salmon. Have a sinktip line or sinking leader like an Airflo Polyleader with you to fish those streamers in the deeper pools.  

The South Fork Skykomish and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie are both open and are fishing great right now. On the SF Skykomish near Baring, WA, cover lots of water with dry flies, nymphs and certainly strip streamers through the many deeper pools. The SF Sky can really produce some beautiful, good-sized trout but you have to look for them and they usually come off of streamers.

The Middle Fork Snoqualmie is probably better for numbers of fish but they are usually smaller. A great day nonetheless so grab the 3-weight and a box of dry flies and small nymphs and go do it.  

The Yakima River is currently running just 1590 cfs at the moment and that is a very good fishing level for this time of year. Rafts, pontoon boats, or drift boats are all appropriate for floating the Yak and it is still low enough that walking and wading the shoreline is certainly an option. Boats can be rented or hire a guide from our friends at the Worley Bugger fly shop in Ellensburg for a great day on the water. Golden Stones, Pale Morning Dun mayflies, possibly Salmonflies will still be around, and various caddis are at the top of the menu for June. Top dry flies to have on hand are the Chubby Chernobyl – Gold, Henry’s Fork Stone – Gold, Morrish May Day – PMD, Film Critic – PMD, X-Caddis – Olive. Top nymphs would include Pat’s Rubber Legs – Golden, Tungstone – Golden, Psycho Prince – Dirty Pink, Yeager’s Crack Back PMD, and Graphic Caddis – Olive. Also, don’t forget to take a few Gummy Worms if we get a hard rain and streamers can be good all year long.

Another great trout river to explore in June is the Bogachiel River near Forks, WA. So many people flood the OP for salmon and steelhead but there is some pretty cool trout fishing to do in what must be one of the most scenic places in the world. Hike the Bogie with a 4wt and/or a little trout spey rod and it can be a pretty incredible day June through October. Hardly anyone is taking advantage of this fishing opportunity and it is practically in our backyard.

Lakes – June is one of the best months of the year for fly fishing trout lakes. The water has warmed up a bit and food items are becoming more available to the trout. Lakes with some weeds will certainly have damsel and dragonflies available plus mayflies, caddis, leeches, chironomids, and baitfish can all be available too. To the trout, June is a prime time of the year to put the feed bag on. 

Lakes with Selective Gear regulations are the most popular with fly anglers because there is usually less fishing pressure, there are usually higher populations of trout, and there are usually larger trout.

The following list of Selective Gear lakes are all popular bets in June:

  • Lone Lake (south end of Whidbey Island)
  • Dry Falls Lake (north of Ephrata, WA)
  • Lenice and Nunnally Lakes (near Beverly, WA)
  • Chopaka Lake (near Loomis, WA)
  • Pass Lake (near Deception Pass, WA)

Washington also has tons of lakes that are not regulated as Selective Gear lakes.  Many of these lakes opened at the end of April and are great for anglers who wish to keep some trout.  These lakes are typically planted for fish prior to the opener and the good fishing usually lasts throughout June.  For a list of trout stocking reports in local lakes, click here

All of these lakes are best fished from a float tube, pontoon boat, or some other kind of small boat.  Shore access is limited or non-existent on most of these lakes.  Lenice and Nunnally require a walk to get into them so be prepared for that.  Also, internal combustion motors are not allowed on most of the Selective Gear lakes and catch and release is either required or recommended.  Check the regulations before you go if you are not familiar with them.

Techniques for June should be used with a floating line and a full-sinking line with a sink rate of type 3 to type 5.  Use the floating line for fishing chironomid pupa, balanced leeches and for damselfly dry flies imitating the adult damsels.  Use the full-sinking line for fishing leeches, damsel nymphs, and dragon nymphs

Steelhead & Salmon

Steelhead -- Most our local rivers don't have a lot to offer in June for salmon and steelhead anglers but there are some exceptions. With a little driving, however, rivers like the Cowlitz and Oregon's Sandy and Clackamas will be in the peak of their summer runs and offer loads of potential.

A good river in WA to consider for steelhead in June would be the Bogachiel near Forks. The Bogie can be a good river to look for summer fish in June/July and is pretty easy to walk or float. The crowds are usually minimal and the lower water levels of summer can make access quite easy.

Puget Sound Saltwater

The central and northern portions of Puget Sound typically begin fishing pretty well for sea-run cutthroat right about now on most years. We haven't had much in the way of reports, however. The cutthroat action usually fishes well throughout the summer and fall. Late summer and fall also bring more likelihood of encountering larger, migratory coho salmon as they enter the Sound beginning around August.

For cutthroat, use baitfish patterns fished on an intermediate sinking line with a 5- to 6-weight rod.  Our new favorite line for Puget Sound beaches is the SA SONAR Titan Full Intermediate line. Try Manchester State Park, Meadowdale Beach, Olalla, or Penrose Point State Park for good cutthroat water. 

Another saltwater option is on the unique side of things for a fly angler but a lot of fun.  Lingcod season is open thru June 15th and these fish take flies quite well.  Anglers will need a heavy rod, preferably in the 10-weight to 12-weight range, but an 8-weight will get you out there.  Fishing the fastest sinking lines on the market is important because you will need to fish 20- to 40-feet deep and close to the bottom.  Flies don't seem to matter too much but they should be big.  Like, as big as you can cast.  Also, some kind of boat, kayak, or even a paddle board will be necessary to get into the action.

Bass & Panfish

June is another great month fly fly fishing for bass in Washington and may be one of the best months for fishing topwater poppers. Just about all small lakes and ponds have bass and panfish in them.  Grab your float tube, pontoon boat, or other boat and hit the water this month.  Most of the smaller lakes and ponds have mostly largemouth and panfish.  Many of the larger lakes have smallmouth as well as largemouth and panfish.  Eastern Washington abounds with these opportunities.  Western Washington has gobs as well but Western Washington lakes may not have as dense of populations. Either way, take a 7- to 8-weight rod for bass and a 3- or 4-weight for panfish.  As a general rule, cover lots of water and look for wood structure, docks or matted weeds in shallow water for largemouth and rocky structure in deeper water for smallmouth. This time of year, smallmouth will often be found on the deeper portion of docks as well.

Summary

Give us a call if we can help with further advice or equipment, flies, etc.  Hope you get out and take advantage of Washington's year-round fly fishing season!

-- Michael

Pacific Fly Fishers
Ph:  425-742-2402
Email:  Info@PacificFlyFishers.com

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