Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Skagit River In
The Skagit River is one of Washington's larger
steelhead and salmon streams. It begins in Canada and
flows from Ross Lake, which is dammed by Ross and
Diablo Dams. It has a large variety of different species of
fish including summer and winter steelhead runs, all five
species of Pacific salmon, sea-run cutthroats and Dolly
Fly fishing the Skagit River is a little different from many
northwestern streams in that its winter steelhead run
occurs later than most. Hatchery raised steelhead begin
entering the river in December, but the large, wild
steelhead that the Skagit River are known to enter the
river in late Winter and the peak fishing season is in
March and April. From Dalles Bridge upstream to Bacon
Creek, a distance of about 25 miles, from March 16
through April 30, it's "catch and release" only. The fish
average about ten to twelve pounds and go up to twenty.
The Skagit River is classic steelhead water. It's a big
river that's wide with long shallow runs and plenty of
deep places for the fish to hold. It's full of large rocks
and boulders. The water above the confluence of the
Sauk River, a large tributary covered elsewhere in this
section, is rarely dingy. The Skagit River, a tailwater,
stays gin clear most of the time. The Cascade River, a
major tributary that enters at Marblemount, will dingy the
water at times during Winter but other than that, the
upper Skagit stays clear. Below the Cascade River
confluence, the Skagit River becomes wider, and on a
lower decline with slower riffles and runs. Downstream of
the glacier fed Sauk River confluence is a different thing,
especially after heavy winter rains. It can become
high and very dingy and mess up the lower Skagit River.
There's a small run of summer steelhead that starts in
June. In the summer there's a few Chinook Salmon but
the Pink Salmon that enter every other year, and the
Silver Salmon, are the main salmon attraction. Fishing
for them is best during the late Summer. Right
behind the salmon come runs of Dolley Varden and
sea-run cutthroats that feed on the salmon eggs. The
Chum Salmon and first hatchery steelhead enter the
river in the late Fall. The wild steelhead, the Skagit's
main attraction, enter the river the first of the new year.
Also see "Seasons" on the left side of the page
Winter steelhead fishing peaks in April.
A few Chinook and Pink Salmon (every other year) are in
the river in August, .
Chum Salmon are in the river in late Fall. Sea run
cutthroat trout are in the lower river.
December through April, has runs of steelhead with the
best wild steelhead fishing beginning in March.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating,
floating 5 or 6 weight fly line for cutts and
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths, 0X-5X in
71/2 to 9 foot lengths for cutts.
10# and 12# / 0X to 5X for cutts
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
rods, and 5 or 6 weight rods for cutts
For 7 to 10 weight lines, or for 4 to 5
weight lines for cutts
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Skagit River Fishing Report:
12/02/13 According to our local Skagit river
contact, the river is high, muddy and cold.
There were a few fish (hatchery) being
caught before the cold front hit but it is
slowed to a crawl now.
Click on the Skagit River Basin link and
then any of the stations along the river.
10/15/18 Skagit River Fly Fishing
(archive is at bottom of page)
01/11/14 Stream levels are on the way up
because of recent rain and should continue
to rise. This should help the Skagit River fly
fishing opportunities in a short time.
01/18/14 Customer ordering our Perfect Fly
Spey Flies reported he caught a couple of
steelhead on the Skagit day before yesterday.
01/27/14 The action must have been short
lived. We have not had any reports from
anglers. The stream levels are back down
but conditions shouldn't be that bad.
02/01/14 Water levels still very low and few
fish have been caught.
02/08/14 I'm sure everyone is aware of the
rain in the forecast this first of next week.
Conditions should improve big time. Please
check back for some good reports for a
02/15/14 Stream levels are currently high
and rising. Much more rain is in the
02/22/14 We didn't get any reports this past
03/01/14 There is snow and later on in the
week rain in the forecast for every day this
coming week. This is the month the wild
steelhead should be entering the river.
03/08/14 It is currently running very high with
more rain and snow in the forecast through
03/15/14 The Skagit is still blown out.
03/22/14 One customer reporting the
stream is down and reports are lots of fish
03/29/14 Two customers ordering steelhead
flies report decent fishing on the Skagit.
There is snow forecast for the next two day
then clearing up.
04/05/14 Catch and release steelhead is
producing a few fish when the stream levels
are in good shape but that has been rare
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
05/24/14 Season is closed.
06/07/14 Season is open again but I wouldn't
count on any fishing until the end of the
month when summer steehead move in. Be
sure to check the water levels.
06/14/14 No reports from anyone fishing this
06/21/14 Salmon anglers are complaining
about the lack of fish. No reports on the
Summer run or trout this past week.
07/05/14 We didn't receive any reports from
our customers or local reporting anglers this
07/26/14 A few summer run steelhead are
being caught but the numbers are low.
08/10/14 Fishing is very slow. Few cutts
have moved into the estuary and lower river.
Conditions should improve later on this
08/16/14 Only a few sea run cutts have
shown up. Rain is needed. No reports from
anyone fishing this past week.
08/30/14 Sea-run cutts just starting to show
up. Cooler weather is forecast and more
fish will be entering the river. Of course,
rain is needed. A few Dolly Varden have
been caught on the fly.
09/13/13 Two reports of sea-run cutts but
that is it. Low warm water exist. Rain and
cooler weather is needed to get the fish
09/27/14 October is the best month for the
sea-run cutts, so get ready for some action.
Two good reports from anglers fishing the
sound this past week.
10/11/14 Currently raining and the water is
muddy. This should bring the Coho and
lots more sea-runs upstream, so watch the
levels and be ready.
10/18/14 Lots of sea-runs cutts being caught
by our customers. The rain is moving fish
10/25/14 No reports from any anglers. It is
raining now with lots more forecast. River
levels are high (3550 cfs)and fish are
11/08/14 There are Chum salmon entering
the river and Dolly Varden should be right
11/30/14 Plenty of Chum salmon being
caught along with the Dolly Varden. A few
winter steelhead have showed up.
12/07/14 Watch the stream levels. Some
Doliies and a very few steelhead have been
reported caught. Be sure to check out of
Perfect Fly steelhead flies.
12/14/14 Water is high and dirty.
12/27/14 No reports from the past two
weeks. Stream levels have fell back down
but still a little high.
01/10/15 open for hatchery steelehead but
so far, no reports of catches.
01/17/15 Still no reports. Let us hear from
01/24/15 No reports and no activity.
02/07/15 The river is currently blown out big
time. It will be a few days clearing. More rain
is forecast through Monday.
02/21/15 No reports from anyone fishing the
past two weeks. There are a lot better
locations to fish right now.
03/28/15 We will resume the reports when
the season re-opens.
04/11/15 There have been a few steelhead
caught and released this past week.
05/23/15 Season opens in another week, or
06/13/15 No reports of summer steelhead
yet, but they will start arriving this month.
07/11/15 A few summer steelhead have
shown up and some are being caught.
08/08/15 A few sea run cutthroats have
shown up in the sound and lower river. Rain
is needed to move them upstream.
08/15/15 Learn to do the rain dance. That is
the only thing that going to get the fish on
08/22/15 Same story, second verse, but
going to get better.
08/29/15 Don't wait for Winter steelhead
season to start in November. Shoot us an
email. See link above. Sea runs and dollies
should move in with the rain and cooler
09/05/15 A few sea-run cutthroat are in the
lower river but more rain is needed to bring a
lot more in.
09/12/15 Two reports of sea-run cutts is all
we heard of this past week.
09/19/15 A few steelhead are being caught,
lots of pinks and a few sea-run cutts. Great
conditions right now.
Map of Skagit River
09/26/15 We received several good reports of
steelhead, pinks by the big numbers, and
sea-run cutts caught by customers this past
week. Great weather. We added a map-upper
10/03/15 Good conditions remain with stream
levels and weather and so does the catches.
10/10/15 There are plenty of Pink Salmon
and sea run cuts near the mouth of the river.
Rain is needed to bring in the Coho.
10/15/15 Not much change in the stream
levels took place but it is raining and should
continue through tomorrow.
10/16/15 Closed to salmon fishing until
10/31/15 Get ready for the winter run early.
Shoot us an email and we will send you links
to the Perfect Steelhead flies that are proven
successful. Shipping is free.
11/07/15 You should begin seeing some Chum
salmon within the next few days. Coho move in
at the end of the month.
11/14/15 There has been some rain and a few
Coho have showed up. It is get much better
fast. These are wild fish.
11/21/15 A few more steelhead have entered
the river. Coho are providing the only action
at this time.
11/28/15 Some anglers swinging flies in the
middle and upper river for bull trout. Lots of
rain coming this next week.
12/05/15 Stream levels currently just a little
above normal but there is a lot more rain and
snow to come, so expect high levels this week.
12/12/15 The flows are at 33,000 cfs and
20.82 feet and falling. There is a winter storm
warning in effect and a chance of snow every
day for the next week.
A few hatchery steelhead have
been caught. Rain is needed to
bring more fish in. Send us an
email for a fly list.
12/19/15 There is a chance of snow everyday
with a high daily temperature of 32. In other
words, although the tailwater is warmer water
than the air, it is cold and lousy weather. Flow
are down to 22,000 cfs which is above normal
12/26/15 Flows are down to normal levels for
this time of the year. It is a little colder. We
didn't receive any reports from anyone
fishing this past week. There is snow in the
forecast everyday through next Wednesday.
02/06/16 Sorry for the lack of reports but
nothing of any significance is being caught.
The river has been high but back down to
normal levels. You can only fish above
Rockport for hatchery fish until the 15th.
05/14/16 It is going a little over 2 more weeks
before the season reopens, but it is not to
early to send us an email to let us help you
plan that next trip.
05/28/16 Just over one more week until the
season opens. The Skagit river season
re-opens on June 1st. Prior to then, we will be
more than happy to help you get started. Send
us an email and let us help you plan that next
Skagit River fly fishing trip.
06/20/16 No fishing on the Skagit River yet.
We will keep you informed as to the status of
the season opening.
07/02/16 There are hatchery steelhead being
caught. Fish from Rockport upriver. The fish
are headed for the Marblemount hatchery .
Sea-run cutts should be coming into the river.
07/16/16 Steelhead (hatchery fish) are being
caught above Rockport. Sea-run cutts are
starting to come into the river.
07/23/16 A few summer runs are being caught.
Sea-run cutts have started to come into the
07/30/16 Hatchery steelhead headed to the
Marblemount hatchery are being caught. Fish
above Rockport for the best results.
08/20/16 Summer-run, hatchery steelhead are
still being caught upstream of Rockport. The
water is low and clear. We recommend fishing
early mornings and the last two hours of the
08/27/16 There are few fish being caught. Low,
warm water exist. Should start seeing some
sea-run cutts soon. The weather is going to be
a little cooler this coming week.
09/16/16 There is a chance of rain everyday
for the coming week. The stream is on the way
up and near normal now. This will really help
the overall fishing conditions.
10/08/16 Hatchery steelhead still be caught.
The stream levels are just a little above normal
levels and in good shape.
10/22/16 We are still getting some reports of
hatchery steelhead being caught. .
11/03/16 We didn't receive any reports of
catches this past week. Stream flows are at
26,400 cfs at 18.75 ft. There is more heavy rain
in the forecast for the coming week, so you will
just have to watch the levels.
11/12/16 The river has some hatchery
steelhead. Fish above Rockport. Salmon are
also in the river. Stream levels are back down
but still a little high flowing at 20,000 cfs.
12/03/16 The river is still high and stained
flowing at 1836 cfs. at Mt. Vernon. A few
hatchery steelhead have been caught.
12/10/16 There are still some hatchery fish
being caught upstream from Rockport, headed
for Marblemount. Swinging, nymphs and egg
flies are all working.
12/24/16 The flows and levels are fine but only
a very few fish are being reported. It is still
01/27/17 There have been a few bull trout
and Coho salmon caught. We don't have any
reports of steelhead being caught.
05/27/16 The season opens June 1st,. We will
be making regular reports. Check back with us.
07/01/17 There are a few summer run
steelhead being reported. This should improve
this month. Sea-run cutthroats are coming into
the lower river and a few have been reported
07/21/17 There are a few summer run
steelhead being caught and a few sea-run
cutts. Shoot us an email and we will give you a
list of flies we suggest that are working.
08/12/17 The sea run cutt fishing has been
pretty good. Summer runs are few and far
between. We have some great sea run cutt
Perfect flies. Send us an email.
08/26/17 The only thing we are getting
reports on are the sea-run cutthroat trout.
They are being caught in good numbers.
12/08/17 Hatchery steelhead are being
caught in the upper sections. Swinging, SH
nymphs and egg flies are working.
02/19/18 Not worth fishing at this time. Check
back with us.
02/26/18 There are still some hatchery
steelhead being caught. Fish steelhead
nymphs, like our Green sedge larva or Black
stonefly nymph. Send us an email for a fly list.
09/09/18 There have been a few steelhead
caught recently. Sea-run cutts are just
starting to come in.