Family Weekender: Seattle
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.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication