Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Methow River
The Methow River flows for about 45 miles out of the
Lost Valley west of Winthrop and enters 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.
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.
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Photo Courtesy of Stephen Lamb
Methow River Washington
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