Fly Fishing Report: December 2023

Fly Fishing Report: December 2023

As we wrap up our 10th year serving the North Sound fly fishing community we are immensely thankful for all of your support along the way. Your business has helped us to reach the point of outgrowing our old space and finally moving into a bigger and better shop. Year number 11 promises more exciting expansion as we're just about ready to roll out a new website that will include a full online store, making it easier than ever to shop at the Confluence even if you find yourself well beyond our local zip code. This will help us continue to add exciting new products and meet more of your fly fishing needs, wants, desires and so forth.

The winter months are typically a slower season for us, so we'll be taking advantage of the down time to work on shop improvements and make the space even more comfortable for classes, events and other fun happenings. In the last month we've added some new tying materials, some super cozy hoodies from Rep Your Water, artist series fly boxes from Montana Fly Company that are unbelievably awesome, a shipment of inflatables like the Outcast Clearwater, Stealth Pro and a variety of float tubes and much more.

As for local fishing, we're now into the typical seasonal ebb and flow of more or less favorable conditions. Rivers were out for a period of time following the latest Pineapple Express but as of this writing are mostly back in shape. We still have a number of late season coho in the systems, lots of robust and aggressively feeding bull trout and it is officially no longer too soon to be thinking about winter steelhead as there have been a few caught locally of late. Even when the forces of nature conspire to dump several inches of rain in the Cascades and the rivers swell beyond their banks, we finally have Pass Lake back open after a long closure due to toxic algae and it's been fishing surprisingly well for mid-December.

Put on the long johns, glove up, don the warm and furry beanie and see what winter holds in store on your favorite river or year round lake. You never know, Santa might just make your wishes come true!


After an unusually prolonged dry spell in November, we finally got a good dowsing of rain, though maybe a little too much at once. A lot of our rivers reached or exceeded flood stage a week and a half ago and you can expect to find some big changes out there, particularly on the Nooksack. If you're doing a float, take caution as these high waters move some wood around and can put a big sweeper in the exact wrong place. 

There are still some big bright coho around, though be sure to check the WDFW fishing regs and emergency rule changes as retention seasons have ended on a number of waters. Looking at the escapement reports, we're seeing a trickle of hatchery winter steelhead show up around the Sound. We don't expect to hear much about a possible Skagit late winter/spring C&R steelhead season until late January at the earliest.

Bull trout fishing has been exceptional so far this fall, with Egg Sucking Leeches, White Dali Llamas, Egg Patterns and Flesh Flies accounting for a lot of fish. After an impressive pink salmon return, the bulls have been well fed but fortunately for us, always willing to eat more. These fish are a great match on a 4 or 5 weight trout spey set up.


While a lot of lakes close for the winter, Pass, Lone and Squalicum are open year round. Pass re-opened earlier this month and the fishing has been pretty good. Blobs, Boobies and Minnow Patterns have been working well since the opener and I've been getting a few fish on Bloodworm patterns fished near the bottom as well. You won't find a lot of aquatic insects hatching during the cold months so your year round staples like leeches, minnows and at times, dragon fly nymph patterns as well as larval chironomid patterns (bloodworms) should be ready in your box. We also do surprisingly well on so-called "junk" flies like Pink or Chartreuse Blobs under an indicator. Not exactly sure why trout eat those things but they certainly do, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else.


Not much happening off the North Sound beaches until spring.

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