Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Nisqually River
The Nisqually River rises in the southern part of Mount
Rainier National Park. The river gets its water from the
Nisqually Glacier. It flows for eighty-one miles through
Ashford and Elbe into Alder Reservoir and below that,
into LaGrande Reservoir. Below the reservoirs the
Nisqually River flows through Fort Lewis and the
Nisqually Indian Reservation. It continues flowing into the
Nisqually River Delta and Nisqually National Wildlife
Refuge. The river empties into Puget Sound between
Tocoma and Olympia. Along the way, the Nisqually gets
additional water from nine different tributary streams.

The Nisqually River has naturally reproducing chinook,
chum, coho, and pink salmon and cutthroat trout. A large
hatchery Chinook salmon program plants Chinook
salmon into the river. There is also a winter and summer
steelhead run as well as sea-run cutthroat trout.

All wild fish should be released. The winter steelhead are
on the "Threatened Species Act:". Wild Chinook Salmon
are also on the "Threatened Species Act".

Hatchery “fin clipped” Salmon action starts in late July
and early August. The Indians start netting about the
second week of August allowing only a short time for
anglers to have a shot at the Chinook.

Varies by species
The upper Nisqually River and its tributaries trout
season usually starts in June but check the current
Chinook Salmon (fin-clipped) move in late July and
August be reserved for Indians starting the second week
of August. Pink Salmon (every other year) move in the
river in September and Coho Salmon follow in late
Chum Salmon begin to move in the river in November.
Sea run cutthroat trout come into the lower river.
December through January provides the best Chum
Salmon action.
Type of Stream
Freestone and Tailwater

Steelhead (winter and summer run)
Coho Salmon
Chinook Salmon
Pink Salmon
Sea-run Cutthroat
Resident Cutthroat

Medium to large

West Central Washington

Nearest Towns
Fort Lewis

Varies by species - Make sure you
see the current regulations


Non-Resident License
State of Washington

National Weather Service Link

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Nisqually River Fishing Report:
12/30/13 Customer reporting one steelhead caught on
Christmas Day. It took our Perfect Fly Black Stonefly
steelhead nymph. He reporting see no one else catch
Options For Selecting Flies:
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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.

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