June is here and fly fishing in the Seattle, Washington area has plenty to offer this month. Here is a fishing report and some ideas on where you may want to spend some time with your fly rods in the Seattle area and general Washington area.
Steelhead & Salmon
The beginning of June marks the opening season for summer steelhead in western Washington. Most attention this month will be on the Skykomish River in the Seattle area. So far, steelheading has been quite good on the Skykomish from day one. Plenty of steelhead were available on the June 1st opener and quite a few customers have been finding them. They are steelhead, so they still don’t come easy, but dedicated anglers will have plenty of opportunity throughout June on the Sky. The number of fish should build throughout the month and the river is currently flowing at an easy-to-fish level of 4,500 cfs. (see real-time river levels here). Since the river is running lower than normal due to the warm weather we had in May, June could be the best month of the summer season to find a Skykomish summer run this year.
Walk-in access on the Skykomish is available but consider floating the river to increase your chances of finding fish. Come by the shop or give us a call if you need a shuttle service and we’ll point you in the right direction. Also, consider hiring PFF’s own, Joe Ewing, for a guided day of floating the river as he knows the Sky like few others. Fly recommendations include The Llama in Black/Blue or Black/Purple, Silvey’s Silveynator in Black/Orange, the Hoh Bo Spey in Black/Blue, and the Foxee Dog in Black/Blue.
Another good river to consider would be the Bogachiel River in the Forks, WA area. Although it is currently running low, the Bogy can be a good river to look for summer fish in June/July and is pretty easy to walk or float.
Lakes – In June, the fantastic lake fishing continues on most popular lakes. My recommendations from May are the same going into June with a little more emphasis on damselfly nymphs, plus damselfly dry flies and adding some dragonfly nymphs. Fishing chironomid pupa and leeches are still a big part of the game as well.
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 great 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, 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 and for damselfly dry flies imitating the adult damsels. Use the full-sinking line for fishing leeches, damsel nymphs, and dragon nymphs.
Rivers – June brings the opening of many river opportunities in western Washington. With the bulk of our snow melt happening in May this year, many of our rivers are in prime fishing shape (whereas they are normally quite high in June). Local rivers to consider for a quick trout fix are the Cedar River, the South Fork Skykomish, and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie. Break out the small rods for most of this fishing, but consider also taking a 6wt and a sink-tip line to chuck a few big streamers in the deeper pools of the Cedar. There are some monsters in there.
The Yakima River has been running at about 2700 cfs lately and that is a great water height for fishing in June. Golden Stones, Pale Morning Dun mayflies, 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 and favorite streamers along.
Puget Sound Saltwater
Sea-run cutthroat trout fly fishing in Puget Sound has really picked up lately. About this time of year, the central and northern portions of Puget Sound begin fishing pretty good and we’ve had many good reports from customers. To partake in the action, use baitfish patterns fished on an intermediate sinking line with a 5- to 6-weight rod will have you in the game. The RIO Coastal Quickshooter fly line was developed for this fishery at the request of PFF’s Ben Zander and is the line to get for Puget Sound beaches. Try Manchester State Park, 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, big, big. 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 6- 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.
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!
Pacific Fly Fishers