Good golly it’s nice out these days! We’re getting spoiled on both the weather and the fishing fronts lately with so many different options out there and pretty fine conditions in which to enjoy them. Pick your poison: lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, swamps…it’s just about all open and fishing. The hardest decision is just figuring out what you want to do. Dry flies on a mountain stream? Streamers for bull trout on the Skagit? Big BC bows on damsels, sedges and chironomids in the Interior? Popper guzzling bass on your favorite pond on a warm evening after work? The options are many and varied. The good news is that there’s no wrong answer and any of the above makes for a splendid time on the water and getting a extra dose of vitamin D.
The new WDFW fishing regs are published online and the pamphlets, or more aptly tomes, should be available in print early next month. Not a lot of surprises for us based on the salmon forecasts earlier this year. Don’t forget that our Spey Wednesdays are upcoming and running for the summer months. Check out the full schedule in our events section. The days are long, the sun is shining and there are more than a few fish out there waiting to make acquaintance with your fly. Enjoy!
On a final note, if you lost a fly rod at Squalicum Lake recently, let us know what you lost. We have a rod and reel that someone found at the lake and dropped off at the shop.
Area lakes continue to fish well for a variety of species. Lowland lakes are getting on the warm side for trout. Fish early and late or deep during the day. When the surface temps start creeping into the 70’s, give fish a break as the warm water creates additional stress, is oxygen depleted and your catch and release mortality rates go up. If trout are your thing, play the elevation game. Many eastside Washington, BC interior and alpine lakes fish through the summer as the water stays comfortably cooler.
Ross Lake opens July 1st. Expect lake levels to be down this year with the low snow pack, but fishing is usually pretty good for big wild rainbows early and late in the season. Just watch those props as rocks may be a touch closer to the surface this summer. June sees continued chironomid hatches on most lakes, damsels, dragons, some callibaetis mayfly activity, some traveling sedges and the ever -present leeches and scuds. We have a big selection of stillwater patterns to get you armed and ready for your next trip.
Warm water lake fishing is at it’s prime right now and we’re doing really well for bass and bluegill on the surface. It’s popper time! Fish the edges of the lily pads, openings in the vegetation and pockets near shore. We like dark colored poppers when the light is low and brighter stuff earlier in the day. Evenings, from roughly 7 pm until dark has been when things really come alive lately. If fishing earlier when the light is more intense, subsurface flies like Bluegill Bully’s, Damsels and Pheasant Tails have been working better for panfish. Don’t be afraid to throw a dry damsel or dragonfly pattern on top too, especially when you’re seeing fish leaping clear of the water to take the naturals.
It’s getting close to Hexagenia time on Lake Whatcom too. We usually start fishing the hatch in early July, but with warmer weather of late, I wouldn’t be surprised to find the big yellow mayflies coming off over the next few weeks in the last hour of the day.
It’s so nice to have some moving water to fish once again from small streams to the mighty Skagit. Water levels have fluctuated with the hot weather and snowmelt over the last several weeks, but with a lighter snow pack, ought to remain in shape sooner rather than later. For small streams, attractor dries like Humpy’s, Royal Wulffs, Purple Haze, Stimulators and Elk Hair Caddis are the ticket. You can fish a small dropper nymph off the bend of the dry if you like, but most of the time it’s not necessary.
The Methow is still running high but with decent visibility. Look for the river to drop into shape for trout fishing later in the month and into July. Chubby Chernobyls, Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies, PMDs and a variety of Caddis patterns will work on top, with Pat’s Rubber Legs, Double Bead Stones and Lightning Bugs, PT Nymphs and Copper Johns getting it done subsurface. Don’t forget your streamers. I’ve been fishing the Cedar the last few weeks with a 4 wt. trout spey and little Sculpzillas, Kiwi Muddlers and Sculpzillas. It’s such a fun way to fish, cover lots of water and entice some of the bigger trout in the system. These streamer tactics also work well on the Skagit for bull trout, and while a trout spey is an ideal set up to throw, a single hand 6 wt. with an OPST Commando Head or Scientific Anglers Skagit Lite is pretty effective too.
On the Skagit, stick to the river above the Sauk confluence. The Suiattle has been running pretty dirty with the heat and glacial melt. Sculpin patterns, Dali Llamas and Hoh Bo Speys are choice flies for June bulls in the Skagit. For bigger quarry, there’s a chinook fishery running on the Skagit, though it’s a longshot on the fly in much of the river. The Skykomish is open for both kings and summer steelhead and is worth a shot. Unfortunately the NF Stilly is closed to fishing until mid September, so we’re limited on local summer steelhead options this year.
Still seeing a few sea run cutthroat and sea run bull trout closer to Whidbey and Camano Islands. Small sand lance and herring patterns, in addition to the tried and true Clousers should be what you’re fishing right now. We are anxiously awaiting the start of our saltwater coho beach fishing later in the summer. It’s one of the most exciting times of the year for our Puget Sound fishing.