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Skagit River

Skagit County, Washington.

Skagit River midpoint in Deming, Washington.

Skagit River ends in Mount Vernon, Washington.

10 feet (3 meters)

124.34 miles long (200.10 kilometers)

3241840.33 miles (5217237.89 sq kilometers)

About The Skagit River

About Skagit River, WA

The Skagit River is one of the largest rivers in Northern Washington, about 150 miles long and a 1.7 million acres area, including its tributaries. It is a biologically important river in the United States, with half of it classified as privately owned property. The Skagit River consists of three scenic tributaries – Cascade, Sauk, and Baker Rivers. And it empties into the Skagit Bay, a branch of Puget Sound. 

The course of the Skagit River begins at Allison Pass along the Crowsnest Highway in British Columbia, flowing into Manning and Skagit Valley Provincial Parks. It converges with the Sumallo River and Klesilkwa River until it flows into Ross Lake, traversing the Canada-United States border to reach Washington state. Beaver and Ruby creeks join the river course and then receive Thunder and Colonial creeks before entering Gorge Lake. After merging with several bodies of water, the river meets with its tributaries until it diverges into two forks that drain into the Puget Sound.

Skagit River Fishing Description

All About Fishing in Skagit River, WA

The Skagit River is not only renowned for its picturesque view. It is also a prime fishing destination for Chinook salmon, chum salmon, sockeye salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon, Dolly Varden, steelhead trout, rainbow trout, bull trout, and cutthroat trout. The vast ecosystem of Skagit consists as well of thriving squirrels, beavers, chipmunks, deer, porcupines, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, oysters, sea urchins, sea stars, clams, octopus, orca, harbor seals, whales, sea lions, and sea otters. Also, the population of bald eagles in the Skagit River is one of the largest in the United States. Every winter, they clustered up along the riverbanks to prey on spawned-out salmon.

Anglers from different parts of the world recognize the Skagit River as the top fly-fishing destination, accessible via walk-in, drift boat, and river sleds. Pioneering the famous double-handed casting technique happened on its waters back in the 1990s. Experienced anglers developed “Skagit Casting” as an offshoot of a fly-fishing method called Spey casting. Thus far, worldwide fishing enthusiasts still visit the Skagit River as their testing waters for fly fishing. 

For an exceptional fly-fishing experience in the Skagit River during the spring, you may want to use a heavy nymph, jigs, caddis larvae, and gold-head flies. Olive dun, red quill, and orange tag dry flies are effective lures at high water levels. And if you prefer bull trout as a target, prepare to use heavier tackle of six-weight fly rod to trap 20 to 22 inches and 3 to 4 pounds of bull trout. Bull trout in the Skagit River come in large sizes. You will want to fly fish using an effective floating line, a fast sinking tip, and 5 to 8.5 pounds leaders. And to catch rainbow trout, you can use a 2-4 weight fly rod, fluorocarbon leaders, and an effective floating line.

Skagit River Seasonal & Other Description

Fishing Seasonality

You will experience an excellent fishing adventure in the Skagit River from August to September. However, the fishing season opens in July and ends in October. Visiting anglers should note that Skagit River is vulnerable to snowmelt runoff in the first two weeks of July. So, you will want to come with extra carefulness as you try to fish during this time. It is also helpful to know where the campgrounds are in the Silver and Ross lakes as the whole Skagit river system does not have lodges for you to stay. Hotels and bed and breakfasts are about 45 minutes of drive away. You may want to look for areas before you head out for a safe stopover on the road. Also, no nearby fly-fishing shops and fishing guides are available. So, it would be clever to prepare all fishing equipment and remember crucial hacks before traveling to the Skagit River.

Temperature and Optimal Seasons

Fishing Seasonality

You will experience an excellent fishing adventure in the Skagit River from August to September. However, the fishing season opens in July and ends in October. Visiting anglers should note that Skagit River is vulnerable to snowmelt runoff in the first two weeks of July. So, you will want to come with extra carefulness as you try to fish during this time. It is also helpful to know where the campgrounds are in the Silver and Ross lakes as the whole Skagit river system does not have lodges for you to stay. Hotels and bed and breakfasts are about 45 minutes of drive away. You may want to look for areas before you head out for a safe stopover on the road. Also, no nearby fly-fishing shops and fishing guides are available. So, it would be clever to prepare all fishing equipment and remember crucial hacks before traveling to the Skagit River.

Skagit River Fish Species

All About Fishing in Skagit River, WA

The Skagit River is not only renowned for its picturesque view. It is also a prime fishing destination for Chinook salmon, chum salmon, sockeye salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon, Dolly Varden, steelhead trout, rainbow trout, bull trout, and cutthroat trout. The vast ecosystem of Skagit consists as well of thriving squirrels, beavers, chipmunks, deer, porcupines, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, oysters, sea urchins, sea stars, clams, octopus, orca, harbor seals, whales, sea lions, and sea otters. Also, the population of bald eagles in the Skagit River is one of the largest in the United States. Every winter, they clustered up along the riverbanks to prey on spawned-out salmon.

Anglers from different parts of the world recognize the Skagit River as the top fly-fishing destination, accessible via walk-in, drift boat, and river sleds. Pioneering the famous double-handed casting technique happened on its waters back in the 1990s. Experienced anglers developed “Skagit Casting” as an offshoot of a fly-fishing method called Spey casting. Thus far, worldwide fishing enthusiasts still visit the Skagit River as their testing waters for fly fishing. 

For an exceptional fly-fishing experience in the Skagit River during the spring, you may want to use a heavy nymph, jigs, caddis larvae, and gold-head flies. Olive dun, red quill, and orange tag dry flies are effective lures at high water levels. And if you prefer bull trout as a target, prepare to use heavier tackle of six-weight fly rod to trap 20 to 22 inches and 3 to 4 pounds of bull trout. Bull trout in the Skagit River come in large sizes. You will want to fly fish using an effective floating line, a fast sinking tip, and 5 to 8.5 pounds leaders. And to catch rainbow trout, you can use a 2-4 weight fly rod, fluorocarbon leaders, and an effective floating line.

Coho Salmon

Habitat: Lake, River, Onshore, Nearshore

Weight: 8 - 12 Pounds

Length: 24" - 43"

Chinook Salmon

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, River, Lake

Weight: 10 - 50 Pounds

Length: 30" - 59"

Pink Salmon

Habitat: Onshore, Lake, River

Weight: 3 - 5 Pounds

Length: 20" - 30"

Rainbow Trout

Habitat: River, Lake

Weight: 1 - 8 Pounds

Length: 16" - 34"