The Green River twists and turns across 65 miles of Western Washington, providing residents of the Seattle and Tacoma areas with fresh drinking water and endless fishing opportunities.
At its headwaters in the Cascade Mountains’ Stampede Pass, the Green River is a tumultuous alpine stream.
It rushes through rugged canyons and picturesque forests before the landscape flattens out closer to the coast, and the river becomes broader and less prone to mood swings.
The lowest 12 miles of the Green River—a section also known as the Duwamish River or the Duwamish Waterway—traverse the urban landscape of Seattle before the river eventually drains into Puget Sound.
This last section of the river, lined with shipyards and industrial buildings, may not be the most scenic portion of the Green River.
The lower Green, however, is the most heavily fished, and because it’s the section closest to the river’s mouth, any salmon or steelhead must pass through it before heading farther upstream.
Like most coastal rivers in Washington, the fishing in the Green River fluctuates wildly with the strength of the annual runs.
A look at past years’ fishing surveys reveals a pattern of lofty highs and abysmal lows. Boom years followed by total busts.
Ask any angler who’s been fishing the Green River for long enough, and they’ll tell you the runs aren’t what they once were. Yet that isn’t the entire story.
In several recent years, numbers of Chinook and coho salmon have seen a significant uptick.
And hatchery operations along the Green River release 100,000 winter steelhead smolts most years, making it one of the most abundantly stocked rivers in the state.
The bottom line is: Don’t write off the Green River. Folks still catch some massive salmon and steelhead here, and this river might just surprise you.
Green River Salmon Fishing
For most anglers who fish the Green River, salmon are the main quarry.
Several species of salmon spawn or return to hatcheries in the Green River and its tributaries, initially making their way through the Duwamish Waterway, within easy reach of Seattle salmon fishermen.
Chinook salmon are the undisputed heavyweight champs of Green River salmon, reaching sizes up to 50 pounds. King salmon that size are rare in this particular river, but giants have been caught here.
Chinook salmon spend much of their lives in the Pacific Ocean, and enter Puget Sound every summer as they prepare to migrate up coastal rivers to spawn.
Seattle anglers troll for big king salmon in open water, or cast for immature chinooks (known locally as “blackmouths”) from piers and jetties around the shore.
By the time the calendar turns toward fall, there are opportunities to catch them in the Green River.
Of course, it’s worth acknowledging that Chinook salmon no longer run anywhere close to their historic volume in the Green River. Still, they’ve been making a gradual comeback since their numbers bottomed out a couple decades ago.
Most years see quite a modest run, with some better years in the mix.
Local salmon fishermen catch them on plug-cut baitfish, and on wobbling plugs like Kwikfish and Flatfish. Natural salmon roe becomes an increasingly effective bait as the season wears on.
The best places to catch Chinook in the river are deep holes, which the fish use as resting places while they make their way upstream.
There’s a lot of great access along the industrial shoreline of the Duwamish River, but many anglers choose spots farther upstream.
Chinook salmon eventually make their way upstream past Flaming Geyser and through the Green River Gorge as far as Kanaskat-Palmer State Park. The hatchery that raises Chinook salmon is in this area, and most mature salmun return here to spawn.
At our most recent check, the majority of the Green/Duwamish River is closed to Chinook salmon retention, and they must be released immediately if caught.
The only place you can keep them is from the 212th St. Bridge in Kent downstream to the Tukwila International Blvd./Old Hwy. 99.
Check the most recent regulation updates before fishing.
Coho salmon make up the largest annual salmon run in the Green River.
Also referred to as silver salmon, some years coho can be abundant in Puget Sound, while other years are tough.
These fish are a mixture of wild salmon and hatchery-raised fish, with the latter providing the bulk of the sport fishery, and coho provide a bustling summertime fishery before they take up their annual fall spawning run.
Many anglers in the Seattle area focus their efforts on Puget Sound itself in August and September, when the coho are still fattening up on baitfish and are quick biters on trolled herring and other offerings.
When the fall rains raise the river levels, anglers shift their focus to rivers like the Duwamish and eventually up into the Green River as fall wears on.
October is most often the best month to catch coho salmon on the Green River, although eager anglers will get after it in September and stick with it closer to the holidays.
Most days, there’s a solid morning and evening bite when salmon are in the river, and flows this time of year are usually manageable enough to make fishing relatively easy.
Overall coho are smaller than Chinook salmon, averaging 5 to 10 pounds but occasionally reaching 20 pounds.
But most years they’re more abundant in the Green, and if you hit them when their mood is right, they are aggressive and more easily hooked and landed. At other times, coho in freshwater or notoriously lock-jawed.
A wide range of lures work for coho salmon.
Plugs are popular, including casting plugs and Flatfish. Many anglers also favor Blue Fox spinners or hoochies, while others choose to drift natural baits like salmon roe.
Generally speaking, the brightest, most aggressive lure colors work the best. Chartreuse, silver, hot pink, red and firetiger patterns often draw the most strikes.
There’s a lot of easy access for salmon fishing in the industrialized portion of the Duwamish River. The Spokane Street Bridge is an early hotspot, followed by Herrings House Park, the 1st Ave. Boat Launch and Duwamish Waterway Park.
As the coho make their way up the Duwamish and Green rivers, they typically pause to rest in deep holes and at the mouths of creeks. When a rain comes and raises the river, they’ll push onward upstream.
Many eventually end up in tributaries of the Green River, including the Black River and Soos Creek.
Usually the latest of the fall-spawning Pacific salmon, chum salmon enter the Green River a little bit behind coho salmon. The best time to catch them is October through December, though some likely remain in the river system past the new year.
Chum salmon are also referred to as dog salmon—a nickname that may stem from the canine-like teeth the male fish develop while spawning—and often are between Chinook salmon and coho in size.
Look for chum salmon in deeper holes, along the slow side of a current break, or the inside corner of a riffle. Drifting fizzy marabou jigs beneath a float is the most effective way to catch them.
Hot pink, chartreuse and green marabou jigs, spinners and drift presentations often tempt chum salmon.
Fly-fishermen also target them using streamers in similarly high-visibility colors. The brightest, flashiest flies are often the best, and green hues are often the hot ticket.
Most of the same spots where anglers target Chinook and cohos are also good for chum salmon. There’s plenty of access on the Duwamish, but the Kent and Auburn areas of the Green River get most attention.
Chum salmon don’t head as far upstream as other species, but a few make it up the Green River to Flaming Geyser State Park or the Green River Gorge.
Unlike most salmon, pink salmon follow a two-year life cycle instead of having some of their kin spawn every year. In Washington, pinks spawn on odd-numbered years.
So if you happen to visit the Green River during a year that ends in an odd number, you have a decent shot at catching pink salmon, or “humpies” as they’re often referred to among local anglers.
True to their name, pink salmon do have a slight pinkish hue, but they’re most recognizable by the hump-backed appearance they take on while spawning.
Pinks are the smallest of the Pacific salmon, only occasionally exceeding 5 pounds. But they’re still hard fighters, can show in huge numbers, and are simply great fun for anglers.
On years when they run in the Green River, they’re both plentiful and aggressive.
Pink salmon are fall spawners that actually arrive in the summer, and the best time to target them is late August through October, with early September often very good.
Pink salmon often strike jigs, with the most popular being squid-like hoochies and fuzzy marabou jigs known as twitching jigs. Hot pink is the favorite color, and Green River anglers catch salmon either by actively jigging or letting jigs drift below a float.
More Salmon Fishing
Best Salmon Fishing Rivers in Washington
Salmon Fishing: Simple Techniques and Tips
There was a time when the Green River was consistently ranked among Washington’s best steelhead rivers. These days, we must admit, the steelhead runs aren’t what they once were.
Catch rates for steelhead in the Green River have hovered right around 1,000 in recent years, though there also have been some far more disappointing runs.
That’s nowhere near the numbers you would see decades ago. But there’s still a modest steelhead run here, and there’s also a lot of hope that consistent stocking efforts will continue to boost populations.
For now, your best bet for catching steelhead is to arrive early in the season. Winter run steelhead is at its best in late December through January, and tapers off in February and March. There’s a small summer run as well.
Natural baits fare best much of the time, with salmon roe being the top producer. Shrimp works too, but it’s tough to beat salmon eggs.
A corky rig is often the most effective way to drift natural baits on the Green River. The rig involves one or two hooks and a sliding drift float, with or without a piece of yarn.
Spinners, spoons, jigs and other lures sometimes tempt steelhead in the Green River, and seem to be more effective when the river is low and clear. But during typical winter/spring flows, natural baits are the all-around winners.
The section of the Green River from Kent to Auburn is often the best stretch for steelhead angling, and abundant access is available in the area. The Highway 18 bridge in Auburn is an especially popular spot.
There are also opportunities to catch steelhead from Auburn up to Flaming Geyser State Park. The park is a popular launch site, and it’s possible to launch there, and make it a full day drift trip all the way down to Auburn.
Often the best way to fish this river is from shore. But a drift boat can be used as a water taxi of sorts, making it easier to hop from spot to spot as you make your way down the river.
More Steelhead Fishing
Best Steelhead Fishing Rivers in Washington
Steelhead Fishing: Simple Techniques and Tips
Several species of resident trout inhabit the Green River. These include non-migratory rainbow trout, as well as bull trout and cutthroat trout.
Your best bet for catching these fish is farther up in the Middle Green River, where the stream is narrower and better suited to fly fishing.
The water also stays pretty cool this far upstream, including in the summer when the lower river is running warm, and there are some beautiful pools and riffles that harbor trout throughout the year.
Some of the best opportunities to go fly fishing for trout are late spring and early summer, when water levels are manageably low and trout are feeding heavily.
The water can be crystal-clear this time of year, so a stealthy approach is in your best interest.
Elk Hair Caddis are often the most productive fly patterns here. Parachute Adams and Stimulators can be effective too, and some spin-fishermen catch trout on tiny Panther Martin spinners.
Don’t expect giant trout, but there are lots of 10- to 12-inch fish in the area.
Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is a good spot to try some bank and wade fishing, and there are several places to access the river in and around the communities of Franklin and Palmer.
Be sure to check up on current regulations and limits before you hit the water, and brush up on your trout identification as well.
A lot of the smaller “trout” you catch may actually be salmon or steelhead smolt, which should always be handled with care and released.
Bull trout also are highly protected in Washington and must be released unharmed if caught incidentally.
Learn how to catch more with Trout Fishing: How-To Techniques and Tips.
Planning Your Trip
Fishing opportunities exist on the Green River during almost every season.
One of the great things about fishing the river is that access is rarely hard to find (though beating the crowds during peak salmon and steelhead seasons may prove more challenging).
These are some of the best public access areas on the Duwamish and Green Rivers, listed from the mouth of the river upstream.
Duwamish River Access
- Spokane Street Bridge: A popular early season salmon spot, the Spokane Street Bridge access site is close to the mouth of the Duwamish River, and offers a covered fishing pier.
- Herrings House Park: This urban park in Seattle offers walking trails alongside the river.
- Duwamish Waterway Park: Another Seattle Park, this one offers riverside trails and picnic areas, with a good stretch of open shoreline for fishing.
- Codiga Park: In the city of Tukwila, Codiga Park offers walking trails down to the water. It’s a popular spot for kayakers and bank anglers, and one of the few access sites in the section of the river where Chinook salmon fishing is permitted.
Lower Green River Access
- Fort Dent Park: A popular salmon fishing spot, Fort Dent Park is right around the area where the Green River becomes the Duwamish. Ample shore access is available here. The park is located along the Green River Trail, a hike and bike path that parallels the river for 19 miles and provides a lot of great fishing access.
- Three Friends Fishing Hole Park: Fishing is the main attraction at Three Friends Fishing Hole Park in Kent, with ample parking and easy access to the river.
- Riverview Park: This Kent park offers ample shore access on the Green River.
- Isaac Evans Park: In the community of Auburn, Isaac Evans Park includes a broad stretch of open riverbank. Directly across the River, Brannan Park also offers access.
- Green River WDFW Access: Just upstream from the Highway 18 Bridge, WDFW provides a free public access site at Porter Levee Nature Area. This is one of the most popular fishing spots on the river, with ample bank access and suitable shoreline for launching drift boats.
- Green River Natural Park: Several distinct former parks (Metzler, O’Grady and Green River Waterway Parks) were recently combined into Green River Natural Area, which offers a lot of quality bank access.
Middle Green River Access
- Flaming Geyser State Park: The first in a series of state parks along the middle Green River, Flaming Geyser State Park is a popular put-in location for float trips. There is excellent shore access here as well.
- Green River Gorge State Park: Although relatively undeveloped, Green River Gorge State Park does provide river access to a rugged section of the river via walking trails.
- Kanaskat-Palmer State Park: Located within the Green River Gorge, this state park offers camping and yurts, along with access to the river. Some salmon and steelhead make it up this far, and there’s also fly-fishing for resident trout.
COVID-19 update: Fishing on the Duwamish River is currently allowed under the state's gradual approach to reopening businesses and modifying physical distancing measures.
Fisherman can drive directly to Little Hole and then hike up or downstream to some great fishing holes, or many put in just below the Flaming Gorge dam and float the seven miles down to Little Hole, which is the first takeout spot along the river. Indian Crossing Campground is 16 miles below the dam.
The Green River fishes the best from spring to early summer. By August the fishing slows then starts picking up again by mid-September. The warm water from the Flaming Gorge Dam increases fish metabolism by introducing the most consistent aquatic hatch of the season.
Several species of resident trout inhabit the Green River. These include non-migratory rainbow trout, as well as bull trout and cutthroat trout. Your best bet for catching these fish is farther up in the Middle Green River, where the stream is narrower and better suited to fly fishing.
The Green-Duwamish is one of the most modified rivers in the state. Despite this, salmon return every year. Chinook, Chum, Coho, Steelhead, Pink, Cutthroat and Bull Trout all use the habitat in this area.
How it got polluted and what's being done to clean it up. The last five miles of the Duwamish River towards Elliott Bay is one of the most polluted rivers in the country! In 2001, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared it the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site.
The Green River is well known for its excellent fly fishing and is considered one of the best tailwater fisheries in North America. This world-class, blue-ribbon trout fishery is home to Browns, Rainbows, Cutthroats, and Cut-Bow Hybrid Trout.
Fishing is restricted to artificial flies or lures; catch-and-release is highly encouraged but limited harvest is permitted (check the latest Utah proclamation for details). Fly tackle is most commonly used but spinners and Rapalas are also effective. The Green flows through a scenic, steep-walled canyon.
Wading will do just fine. At the dam there are some restrooms and 3 sets down at Little Hole. There is also a set upstream from Little Hole about 1.5 miles up.
The only Duwamish seafood safe to eat is salmon. In the Duwamish River, the seafood that spend their entire lives in the river (perch, sole, flounder, crab, mussels and clams) are unsafe to eat.
Overview. This trail starts at the base of Flaming Gorge Dam and follows the north bank of Green River at the bottom of the canyon 9 miles downstream to a place called Little Hole where the canyon opens up. Along the trail, you will encounter many boardwalks and pathways created with crushed rock.
Pale Morning Duns or PMDs provide some of the finest dry fly action of the summer. They are classified as crawler nymphs. Nymphs, emergers, cripples, duns, and spinners are very important to catch the most selective trout. Spinners vary according to sex.
The Green River – 20 feet deep and moving fast during the summer – presented one of the most dangerous crossings on the trails. Several ferries operated on the river, and pioneers cut off from the trails to seek safer crossings to the north and south.
The only Duwamish seafood safe to eat is salmon. In the Duwamish River, the seafood that spend their entire lives in the river (perch, sole, flounder, crab, mussels and clams) are unsafe to eat.
Green River is a city in and the county seat of Sweetwater County, Wyoming, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. The population was 12,515 at the 2010 census.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery Programs in the Duwamish-Green River Basin
NOAA Fisheries is releasing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that reviews the impacts of various alternatives for operating ten salmon and steelhead hatchery programs in the Duwamish-Green River Basin in Puget Sound.. They are prepared and submitted to NOAA Fisheries for approval by the co-managers, and provide management frameworks through which the co-managers would jointly manage their hatchery operations and monitoring activities, while providing for the conservation and recovery of ESA-listed species such as Puget Sound Chinook salmon and steelhead.. Continuation of current operations, without approval of the proposed HGMPs Operation according to the proposed HGMPs Elimination of the proposed programs A 50-percent reduction in hatchery production under the HGMPs. The draft EIS was developed considering comments received during public scoping, and evaluates the impacts of the hatchery programs on animal and plant species (both listed and not listed under the ESA) and their habitats, water quantity and quality, socioeconomics, environmental justice resources, and cumulative effects.. You are not constrained to comment solely on the specific alternatives in this draft EIS.
The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam is a world-renowned fly fishing stream; its clear, emerald waters support a large population of trout, with rainbows being more common just below the dam and…
The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam is a world-renowned fly fishing stream; its clear, emerald waters support a large population of trout, with rainbows being more common just below the dam and browns dominating downstream.. How many fish are in the Green River?. With over 15,000 fish per river mile , the temperature regulation system the dam provides through the penstocks, and the beauty and ruggedness of the canyon, to me, this river really is the best trout stream in the US.. Green River, Utah • Water0.12 sq mi (0.32 km 2 )Elevation4,078 ft (1,243 m)Population (2010)• Total952 What kind of fish are in the Green River in Kentucky?. The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam is a world-renowned fly fishing stream; its clear, emerald waters support a large population of trout, with rainbows being more common just below the dam and browns dominating downstream.. GREEN RIVER FISHING–Winter time fly fishing on the green river Utah–fly fishing from a raft. W4F – Fly Fishing Utah – Green River “Wading”
Fishing in and around Seattle, Washington In this article, we are going to talk about fishing in and around the City of Seattle. And believe me, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to this subject. We have phenomenal fishing opportunities within the city limits. As well as a countless fishing spots …
Puget Sound Coho Salmon bounty, caught near Seattle’s Shilshole Bay.. Puget Sound has many more salmon fishing beaches outside the city.. Seattle has several lakes within its city limits that offer great places to fish.. North Seattle’s Green Lake is the most beloved Trout lake in the city.. If you are interested in casting a line in a river, Seattle offers plenty of great options within an hour’s drive.. Seattle area rivers offer seasonal Chinook, Coho, Pink and Chum salmon fishing as well as Steelhead and Trout fishing.. It is a local favorite for Salmon and Steelhead anglers during summer, fall and early winter.
The University of Washington is producing nine videos in Spanish, Vietnamese and Khmer on how to fish the Duwamish River and safety issues around consuming fish in its Superfund site.
I arrived with a quiver of fish poles and an overloaded tackle bag, and Miguel and Alex brought their powerful interest in joining Northwest anglerdom by fishing for The Unicohorn.. If I recall correctly, that day I also gave a brief discussion about which fish in the DGR are safe to eat – ocean-going species like coho, Chinook and steelhead, among others – and which are most definitely not: resident fish and shellfish.. And it is one that is now being addressed by the University of Washington, which is working to “get this critical message to the fishers — especially members of the Cambodian, Latino and Vietnamese communities — who fish that stretch of river.”. Yet many fishers from a wide range of cultural backgrounds continue to fish the 5-mile stretch of river for fun, cultural connections and food even as cleanup of this designated Superfund site continues.. Most recently, the program has been assisting in efforts to educate local communities about the safety of eating fish from the river.. “The focus of our program is to help reach communities that continue to fish the river,” said Tom Burbacher , the director of community engagement for the UW program and a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences.. “As part of this effort we encourage people fishing in the Duwamish to eat only the salmon, within recommended amounts, and not the resident fish taken from the waterway.”. But the question quickly became how to get this critical message to the fishers — especially members of the Cambodian, Latino and Vietnamese communities — who fish that stretch of river?. Taking that advice, the agencies partnered with UW and the community members to create nine videos to introduce salmon fishing, the regulations involved, what fishing gear is needed, how much salmon is safe to eat and how to prepare salmon and cook various dishes using salmon.. “Community organizations have been advocating for effective health communication about fishing in the Duwamish River for nearly 20 years,” said BJ Cummings, community engagement manager for Superfund Research Program.. “We’re very grateful to our partners for helping the community achieve this key tool to inform and empower the river’s multilingual fishing families.”. Healthy Fishing in the Duwamish: Let’s Catch Salmon Step One: Obtaining Your Fishing License Choosing Your Fishing Gear Things to do when Planning your Fishing Trip How to Fish: Intro at the Duwamish River Filleting Salmon Blackened Salmon Caesar Grilled Salmon Tacos with Mango Salsa Salmon Ceviche. “People go fishing, or just go near a river because it helps remind them of home,” says Emma Maceda-Maria, a community health advocate and a narrator in several of the videos.. If you’re fishing in the Duwamish River, we only suggest that you eat salmon since it’s a transitory fish.
Salmon and the Green/Duwamish Watershed
Salmon and the Green/Duwamish Watershed. Key. Facts Year 2000 population estimate is. 583,692; 89% reside within the Urban Growth Area designated. under the state Growth Management Act.. The lower river’s meandering course through 9. miles of wetlands, tidal marshes and intertidal mudflats was straightened. (channelized) and dredged down to 5 miles between 1900 and 1940 to. provide shipping lanes and new land for Seattle’s burgeoning. industrial and manufacturing district.. The Duwamish remains a river of major cultural importance. to Native Americans.. Local, state, federal and tribal governments, area. businesses and environmental stewardship groups have demonstrated. a sustained commitment to protect and restore salmon and the health. of the watershed.. Since the late 1980s, half-a-dozen major collaborations have taken aim at restoring. the Duwamish watershed, including the Lower Duwamish Superfund and Elliott Bay/Duwamish. Restoration Program.. Current collaborative restoration and protection efforts. involve state, federal and local governments, including King County, Tacoma,. and all 15 cities in the watersheds.. The. project will make more municipal water available for fast-growing cities in. south King County and allow Howard Hanson Dam managers to improve flows for. fish in the Middle and Lower Green River.. We’re. Making Progress—Some Accomplishments Strategic Habitat Restoration Over 500 acres have been acquired by local governments for habitat protection. and restoration purposes in the watershed since 1999.. Most of this high quality. habitat is in the Middle Green, a part of the watershed identified as essential. to protect threatened Chinook.. 45 major habitat restoration projects will be constructed over 20. years.. King County’s Flood Hazard. Reduction Plan is being updated to ensure compliance with Endangered Species. Act mandates.