Methow River Trout
Copyright 2020 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Methow River
The Methow River flows for about 45 miles out of the
Lost Valley west of Winthrop entering the Columbia
River at Pateros. The uppermost beginning of the
Methow River, along with the Twisp River, Early Winters
Creek and Cedar Creek, starts high in the mountains in
the general area of state route #20. Along the way,
Robinson Creek and Lost River add water to its flow.
Cedar, Goat, Wolf and Early Winters Creeks also
contribute water to the flow of the river in the Methow
Valley. A large part of the river flows through this valley
where farming and ranches are common. At Winthrop,
the Chewuck River joins the Methow. The river runs
clear most of the year.

The Methow River is known for its large wild rainbow and
cutthroat trout that go up to and over twenty inches and
its steelhead. Although there are plenty of areas that
can be waded, the river is commonly floated in what
locals consider three different sections of water-
Winthrop downstream to Twisp; Twisp to Carlton
and.Carlton to Gold Creek. These different sections
each have different types of water. The lower section
can have some very rough, turbulent water. The summer
dry fly fishing is considered excellent.

The summer run steelhead enter the Columbia River
from the Pacific Ocean from June to July and run upriver
during the first of September. Everything to do with this
depends on the height of the water in the Columbia and
Methow rivers. High water speeds up the migration and
low, warm water slows it down. They migrate about
thirty-five miles up the Methow to Winthrop National Fish
Hatchery in Winthrop.

During the past few years, numbers of fish have risen
due to the excellent hatchery rearing program. There's a
"special emergency" opening for catch and release
fishing on the Methow River.

This season generally opens the first few days of the
month of October. These fish can be found in different
parts of the river at times, so being mobile versus fishing
only one area, is a good idea. The best part of the
steelhead season is usually in October and November
and from mid February through March. Wild steelhead
must be released and hatchery steelhead must be kept.

See above
Spring isn't a good time for fly fishing the Methow River.
Summer is the best time for trout fishing.
Early Fall is good for trout and steelhead, depending on
the opening date of the season.
Wintertime is steelhead time.
Type of Stream

Rainbow Trout (Wild)
Cutthroat (Wild)
Bull Trout (native)
Chinook Salmon


Northern Central Washington

Nearest Towns

Steelhead Season changes each
season. Trout season is from June 1
through September.


Non-Resident License
State of Washington

National Weather Service Link

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Photo Courtesy of Stephen Lamb
Methow River Washington
Methow River Fishing Report:
11/02/13 Apparantly the Steelhead fishery will be open
through the month of November. Fish from the Snake
River are in the Methow now.
12/26/13 Customers reporting ice in the river and very
cold weather. Water is also low and clear. No fish
reported caught.
Fishing Report Updated 12/18/20
(Bottom Of Page)
02/04/14 We have still had no reports of steelhead
being caught. The river still has lots of ice.
03/23/14 Fishing has been very good thanks to the
recent rains. Steelhead are being consistently caught.
Most of our customers are swinging flies and all of
them reporting good catches.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
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 (
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 $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
04/17/14 The steelhead season is over. We will be
back reporting on the fishing when the trout season
05/24/14 Customers are ordering flies for the
Methow River getting ready.  The trout season starts
June 1, so let us hear from you.
06/24/14 Our local contact reported that it was off to
a slow start this month, but some nice trout are
finally being caught. Most of them are being taken
on mayfly nymphs but some hatches are taking
07/27/14 Methow River has been fishing very good
for the past couple of week. There are plenty of
PMDs hatching, caddisflies, and terrestrial have
begin to work.
08/10/14 Three more good fishing reports from
customers ordering more flies. There are still several
insects hatching and lots of trout being caught.
10/18/14 Recent rain has helped the situation and
salmon and steelhead have been entering the river
lately. Watch the streamflows. There is more rain in
the forecast. Links are above on your left.
USGS Real Time Stream Flow Data:
At Pateros
At Winthrop
10/25/14 Anglers are catching fish in spite of the
mud and debris in the river. Fish below Beaver
12/05/14 Stream levels are in good shape but it has
turned cold. We recommend nymphs for the SH.
Watch the weather and stream levels because it
should turn on soon.
12/15/14 A little too much rain has fell in the
Methow watershed. It is very high and dingy. Give it
some time to straighten up.
01/22/15 Three good reports from customers
using our black stonefly steelhead nymphs and
green sedge larva.
Check out the flies.
02/07/15 Stream levels are high. Catch it when it
first falls out. No reports from the past week.
02/21/15 The stream is still high and not very
03/05/15 The river is still high and not wadable.
There are a few fish being caught by boat but all
in all, lousy.
03/21/15 High water levels continue to hamper
the "catching". Keep a check on the levels.
03/28/15 Conditions aren't bad but no reports of
fish caught.
04/18/15 The river is about done to
the end of the season.
05/23/15 Send us and email and let us help you
plan your next trip to the Methow.
06/27/15 Lots of trout being caught. Lots
of hatches including PMDs, Little Yellow
stones, Spotted Sedges and terrestrials.
07/09/15 Two good reports from
customers. Good conditions continue.
08/08/15 Trout fishing is great right now.
Several insects are hatching and
rainbow and cutthroat are being caught.
Hoot Owl regulations.
08/29/15 Trout fishing is still good and
hopefully, the rain and cooler weather
will change the hoot awl restrictions soon.
09/05/15 All restrictions have been
removed and the river is in much better
condition, thanks to the rain and cooler
09/26/15 We have received two good
trout fishing reports from the upper
section. One on summer runs and that is
it. Let us hear from you.
10/24/15 The season was closed at the
end of September.
12/12/15 Give us a call or shoot us an
email at the address under the "options
for selecting flies" section above, and let
us help you plan your next fly fishing trip.
01/09/16 The fishing season is closed
but this is a reminder to let us help you
plan your next fly fishing trip.
03/26/16 Just an update to remind you to
send us an email and lets us help you
plan that next trip.
05/14/16 We are late starting this report
but not because the trout fishing isn't
good. It is great with lots of insects
hatching and good stream levels.
05/21/16 Two more good reports from the
past week. Spotted Sedges, BWOs, and
other insects are hatching.
05/28/16 More good reports and excellent
conditions continue to exist.
06/18/16 The river is finally in very good
shape and lots of trout are being caught.
Lots of hatches including Golden stones
and little yellow stoneflies are occuring.
Pale Morning duns and two species of
caddis are hatching.
07/02/16 Trout fishing is still good, with
several hatches taking place. PMDs and
little Yellow stoneflies are the main ones.
07/23/16 The upper river is in good shape
and trout are still being caught in good
numbers. Good stream levels.
07/30/16 More good reports from customers
fishing for trout. Levels are getting a little
low but still okay.
08/20/16 The stream is low and clear but
trout are still being caught. Wading is
easy, but don't spook the trout. Tricos,
Spotted sedges and others are hatching.
Terrestrials, ants, beetles and hoppers
are also working good. Fish early and late.
09/03/16 Thanks to cooler weather, the
river, although low, is still turning out good
numbers of trout for our customers.
10/29/16 Stream levels are at 799 cfs at
11.05 ft., which is very high. Fish when
they get down to about 350 cfs.
11/12/16 The river level is still very high.
Steelhead normally come into the river in
November. Stay in touch.
12/17/16 The season opened December 1
above Cole Creek. It is very cold at this
time and we don't have any reports.
12/24/16 Two anglers reported catching
steelhead. They were using S.H. nymphs.
It should pick up soon.
01/28/17 Season closed. Send us an email
and let us help you plan the next trip.
05/20/17 The trout fishing season opens
June 1st., and right now conditions are
looking good.
07/28/17 Trout fishing is going great right
now. Sorry for all the missed reports. We
intend to pick back up on the reports.
09/09/17 We are still getting a few reports
on trout. Terrestrials are starting to work
and there are still some good hatches.
09/23/17 Stream levels are normal and
the river in good shape. Trout fishing
continues to be good.
10/14/17 The trout season is closed.
Steelhead season will not open this year.
02/12/18 Season closed. Send us an
email for planning your next trip.
06/19/18 There are good numbers of trout
being caught. The stream levels are fine
and there are multiple hatches taking place.
We are getting some very good reports from
08/21/18 Low water levels are still a
problem but some trout are being caught.
The cooler weather should help. There
are still some good hatches taking place.
09/04/18 A few trout are being caught but
low water levels and hot days continue to
hamper the fishing.
10/14/18 Closed for the season.
05/15/19 Trout season opens June 1. Now
is the time to get your flies and gear in
order. Shoot us an email and we can help.
06/01/19 Trout season opened today.
06/28/19 Sorry for the missed reports.
Trout are being caught in good numbers.
There are lots of hatches taking place.
Send us a email for recommended fly list.
08/06/19 Conditions are excellent. We
are getting good reports from customers.
Good hatches are occurring.
09/08/19 We are still getting good reports
from customers fishing the river. All
sections are producing trout. There are
good hatches and terrestrials will work.
09/20/19 We have received more good
reports from customers fishing for trout.
Stream levels are good.
10/01/19 We received more good reports
on trout. The cooler weather is helping.
October caddis are starting to hatch.
10/21/19 The river levels are above
normal, but we are still receiving good
reports from our customers. Midges are
hatching as well as October caddis.
10/27/19 The river is running above
normal which should bring Steelhead
upriver to spawn. Fall is also a good time
for trout and Midges rigged in tandem are
02/12/2020 The river is in good shape
and we you should be able to catch some
nice winter steelhead. Send us an email
for your next trip,.
03/15/2020 The river is closed for the
06/01/20 Trout season is now open. There
are good hatches taking place. Let us
hear from you.
06/13/20 The river is in good shape and
good numbers of trout are being caught.
07/22/20 The stream levels are a good bit
below normal and you need to use caution
to not spook the trout. We are still getting
good catch reports from customers.
08/06/20 The conditions remain very
good. We continue to get good reports
from customers.
08/21/20 The stream levels are low and
you have to use a little caution to avoid
spooking the trout. We continue to get
good reports from customers.
9/21/20 Sorry for the missed reports.
Stream levels are a little high right now
due to recent rain. Fish as soon as it
drops. We were getting good reports
prior to the high water.  
11/28/20 Trout season closed the end of
September. We can help you plan that
next season trip. Shoot us an email.
12/18/20 The river is still closed to fishing.