Family Weekender: Seattle

Fly Fishing Middle Fork Snoqualmie River
Go Guide: Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

Activities: Catch-and-release trout fishing, wildlife viewing.

Age Levels: 10-adult.

Hours from Seattle: 35 minutes.

Getting There: From Seattle, drive 34 miles east on Interstate 90 to Exit 34 (Edgewick Road). Follow Edgewick Road north to the junction with Forest Service Road 5620, then bear right on Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road (Forest Service Road 56). The road parallels the river all the way to the boundary of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, some 20 miles upstream.

Reference: Washington Fishing: The Complete Guide to More than 1,000 Fishing Spots on Streams, Rivers, Lakes and the Coast by Terry Rudnick (Foghorn Press, 1-800-FOGHORN).

Contact: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek, WA 98012-1296; (425)775-1311.

Extra Treats: Watch the riverbanks for deer and elk, and watch the trees and skies for bald eagles, who also like to fish here.


There are three forks of the Snoqualmie River, but the North and South Forks are prowled by gear casters almost continuously. The Middle Fork — which flows the snowy headwaters at Dutch Miller Gap in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area down through a deep mountain valley to its mouth near the town of North Bend — is a selective fishery, which means artificial lures and flies, only.

It is also a catch-and-release-only river, which further cuts the angling competition. In fact, the Middle Fork is a de facto fly fishing only river-artificial barbless lures can be used, but since the fish must all be released, few gear-throwers will waste their time on a fish they can't eat.

The Middle Fork has plenty of deep pools and wide riffles, so there is a great variety of water for fly anglers of all experience levels. Beginners can find plenty of fishing holes within easy casting distance, while experienced casters can stretch their lines out 50 to 75 feet in search of fish less frequently caught — essentially finding fresh, unfished water on a popular fly fishing river.

The biggest fish are found in the first seven or eight miles of river above the town of North Bend, but far upstream, near the Dingford Creek Trailhead, for instance, just outside the wilderness area, there is plenty of pristine, small water to fish.

Bring a feathery 4-0 weight rod, no longer than 8 feet, and you can cast to foot-long rainbow in pools and pocket water that get little angling pressure. Or, toss on a pack and head to the Dutch Miller Gap Trail for a little wilderness fishing. Just be aware that there are lots of black bear up in the alder thickets along the river just inside the wilderness (the alder covers steep avalanche chutes that tumble down into the river and they provide cover for the bears). If fishing in the wilderness, clean and cook your fish at least 100 yards away from camp.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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