Washington Fly Fishing – Guide

The entirety of Washington State offers many fly fishing opportunities. Inland rivers and lakes, the ocean and coastal bodies of water all provide a variety of both saltwater and freshwater fishing. It is a fly fishers dream with the sheer number of places to visit and the number of different fish that can be caught around the state.

Some of the fish that are abundant in Washington include steelhead, bass, carp, trout and more. With so many different areas to fish and nature filled areas to explore, there will never be a shortage of places to visit. The prime fishing spots are spread out all over the state, so no matter where visitors are located, there will always be someplace close by.

However, while locals and visitors alike may be eager to get out there and start fishing on the rivers and lakes of Washington, there are a number of regulations that need to be followed. State licenses and regulations must be followed to stay within the bounds of the law. Read on to learn about said regulations and how to follow them.

If someone intends to go fly fishing in Washington, it doesn’t matter if they live there or are only a visitor. Everyone who is older than fifteen must have a valid fishing license. There are choices of which license to get. Both annual and short-term licenses are available. In addition, purchasers of a fishing license have to decide between a saltwater license, a freshwater license or a license that is a combination of the two. There is a delay before receiving the license, however a temporary one is issued so it is possible to fish while waiting.

If, during fishing, salmon. halibut, sturgeon or steelhead are caught, a Catch Record must be filled out. Even if the fishing trip was not a success and nothing was caught, it still must be completed. Catch Records are included with fishing licenses in Washington state and are simple to fill out. Even if a child under fifteen caught one of the mentioned fish, they also need to fill out a Catch Record. There are deadlines to turn in the Catch Records, and more can be applied for for any younger fishing companions at no cost.

It is always important to be aware of all the fishing regulations in the area before heading out. Freshwater and saltwater Washing State fishing both have their own set of rules and regulations. Some areas have specific rules only for that fishing spot, so be sure to read up on the area before visiting. Bag limits and minimum fish sizes can vary from location to location. Sometimes there are rules for what type of fish are allowed to be caught, which varies on the time of year. As long as fly fishers learn the rules and follow them, there is no risk.

Best Fly Fishing Spots in Washington

Washington fly fishing and the best spots to do so can be subjective. Different fly fishers want different things from their fishing spots. Whether they are looking for saltwater or freshwater fish, a lake or river, everyone has their preferences. Some people want to go for a catch of trout, while others look for salmon.

Not only is Washington state a prime fly fishing area, but for visitors, there are a number of other things to see and do. There are many different hiking trails, camping sites and sites to see throughout the state. Perhaps visitors don’t plan on fly fishing when they first arrive, but it is an activity that everyone should try at least once. It can be a relaxing experience, or something more competitive.

Listed below are a number of different fly fishing spots; no doubt there will be something for everyone. Take the time to read through and do further research.


Grande Ronde River

The Grande Ronde River is a tributary of the Snake River. It is 182 miles long and runs from northeast Oregon to southeast Washington. It drains into an area south of the Blue Mountains and North of the Wallowa Mountains. The scenic setting comes with many hiking trails and little traveled areas to explore.

Not only is the Grande Ronde River a prime fly fishing spot, but it runs through a canyon and valley that provides picturesque views. The best place along the river is the section that flows through the valley. Anyone who enjoys walking to their fishing spots can hike in on trails straight to the river. A road also leads directly to the river, which provides easy access for anyone who wants a leisurely day on the river. Nearby fishing stores are a great source for bait and other fishing equipment. Locals are familiar with the river and often offer advice about which section of the river visitors should go to, depending on the season.

Spokane River

The Spokane River is a tributary of the Columbia River. It is a tributary of the Columbia River and is over 111 miles long and runs from Idaho to eastern Washington. It drains into a mountainous area, passing through Spokane Valley and the city of Spokane.

The Spokane River is an excellent fly fishing spot and one of the most diverse waters to fish from in Washington state. The reason for this is the six dams that run along the river. It is important to check the water levels on the Spokane before heading out for a day of fly fishing. The water levels can change dramatically and this changes which spots should be chosen from day to day. The seasons also have an impact on the water levels.

The only downside to the Spokane River is that it is closed from March to June. That is so the fish can spawn without interference and keeps the enviroment healthy and flourishing. The best time to visit Spokane River is from July to September to catch trout. Brown and rainbow trout can be found in abundance on the river and some of them have been known to reach large sizes.

Yakima River

The Yakima River runs over 214 miles from the Stuart Mountain Range, making its way through beautiful canyons. It empties out into the Columbia River. The Yakima River is a place that visitors should make an effort to visit. Native breeds of fish thrive in the Yakima all year long. Their sucess is partially due to the careful monitoring by the WDFW. The result is a fly fishing experience that can hardly be rivaled in Washington state.

The fish, which include, browns, rainbows and cutthroats do well on leftover eggs and can grow to a massive size. The large fish population and the scenery that runs along the length of the river makes it a relaxing and great spot for beginners. Yakima Canyon and Lake Easton that are part of Yakima River, are also frequently traveled areas.


Pass Lake

Pass Lake is located six miles south of Anacortes. For experienced fly fishers, Pass Lake would be an excellent challenge. It is a catch and release only lake. The added challenge of aggressive trout which can grow to over 28 inches. Both rainbow and brown trout live in the lake and they will definitely be hard to reel in. The trout are around all year, so no matter when a visit is made to this lake, there will be fish to be found. Access to the shore is easy and boating is allowed. However, no motors are allowed on the lake.

Lone Lake

Best in the fall and spring, Lone Lake has amazing fly fishing opportunities. Once the the weather starts to warm up in the summer months, the fly fishing prospects are not very good. If visits are made during cooler months, a fun time can be had. Because the WDFW is carefully managing the Lone Lake, the chances of catching large fish are high.


Neah Bay is the perfect spot to catch millions of salmon while they return to the rivers in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. The strong currents in Neah Bay make the salmon concentrated and easier to catch as they feet on shrimp. The bay is one of the best places to fly fish in saltwater. Fish can run up to 6 pounds, with some reaching double digits. The bay is a fun place to spend the day, while landing fish after fish out on the open water.


It doesn’t matter whether a visitor is a beginner or experienced fly fisher, or if they prefer saltwater over freshwater. Adventures can be had throughout Washington state with fly fishing as the beginning of them. Explore the surrounding areas and find special spots to fly fish where other people don’t often frequent. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of fly fishing so the experience will be the best it can be.

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