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Fly Fishing Puget Sound, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington


Local fly fishing guide Dave McCoy has some great advice for anyone looking to fly fish the Puget Sound.

“You can't realize success without having a fly in the water,” he said. “Learn 3 beaches really well instead of trying to follow the fishing reports to every beach in the Sound.”

Wise words from McCoy, who guides for Emerald Water Anglers in Seattle (emeraldwateranglers.com, 206-601-0132).

Where to Fly Fish the Puget Sound

There are so many fine fisheries in the Seattle and Tacoma areas, it’s tough to know where to start, but McCoy suggests keeping it simple.

Pick a few beaches from any of these great destinations he recommends:

Whidbey Island, Camano Island, Kitsap Peninsula, Olympic Peninsula, Kayak Point, Meadowdale Park, Tacoma Narrows andColvos Passage for sea run cutthroat trout and coho salmon.

Fishing on these waters is typically open throughout the year, but be sure to check local regulations before fishing. It is also mandatory catch and release for sea-run cutthroat.

Fly Fishing Gear for the Puget Sound

McCoy typically recommends anglers use a heavier line with saltwater conditions in mind.

“We usually use 6-weight rods,” he said, “with cold saltwater floating lines or intermediate lines if necessary.”

Keep in mind, Puget Sound has been known to kick out some whopper steelhead. It wasn't long ago, when Peter Harrison caught a 29-plus-pound steelhead, one that went up for an IGFA world record, which gave the Puget Sound all sorts of recognition from the national fly fishing community. Not that you'll catch a world record on your next trip, but it couldn't hurt to be prepared with a larger fly rod the next time you head out there.

Fly Fishing Tips for the Puget Sound

As McCoy explains it, good things come in threes when it comes to angling the Puget Sound.

“With over 3,000 miles of shore line, you can spend way too much time on that,” he said. “Learn your three beaches in every season, every tide level and every wind condition – so you will know which is the best to be at at any given time.”

To get familiar with those surroundings, McCoy recommends covering water methodically until you have a handle on currents, cover and the whereabouts of the fish.

“Random casting and big moves between casts leave holes in your presentation, and often times that is where the fish will be and start shallow,” he said. “We catch most of our fish in 24 to 48 inches of water, sometimes less.”

Want to learn more about fly fishing the Puget Sound?

Be sure to read our Q&A with Washington fly fishing guide Ryan Smith of Arch Anglers:

Fly Fishing in Washington, Seattle and the Puget Sound (Part 1)
Fly Fishing in Washington, Seattle and the Puget Sound (Part 2)

Interested in learning something about a new fishery? Check out our other "From the Guides" articles on:

Fly Fishing Ascension Bay: Sight fishing for bonefish and other saltwater species over the white sandy bottoms in Ascension Bay, Mexico.
Fly Fishing Northern New Mexico: The Chama River and other fine fisheries make New Mexico a hidden gem for fly fishers.
Fly Fishing Cape Cod: A look at some tips for for shore fly fishing Cape Cod.
Fly Fishing Cranberry River: All about fly fishing the tasty river in West Virginia.
Fly Fishing Colorado River: A closer look at the 16-mile stretch from Lees Ferry to Glen Canyon Dam.
Fly Fishing British Columbia: Pemberton gives anglers all sorts of fly fishing options.
Fly Fishing Helton Creek: The fishery out of Jefferson, N.C. provides some of the best fly fishing North Carolina has to offer.
Fly Fishing Owens River Valley: A look at the three different sections of the Owens and nearby fisheries in the Eastern Sierra.


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