Long one of Puget Sound region’s most popular, most publicized, and most productive steelhead rivers. This big beautiful river is consistently among the top two or three winter steelhead producers in Washington, giving up at least 2,000 fish per winter season, and some years doubling that number. Strong hatchery returns in December and January make those two months the best time to fish the Sky, but unlike many other Northwest streams, this one doesn’t have a February lull, so the fishing can be good then as it is earlier in the winter. March and April see the winter steelie fishery here turn to catch and release affair, one of the best and most popular of it’s kind in the Northwest. The biggest concentration of winter steelheaders, and often the biggest catches are around Reiter Ponds steelhead facility and from Sultan downstream to Monroe, but you might find a willing fish almost anywhere along the Sky during the height of the winter season. If you fish Reiter Ponds, arrive early, as in long before daylight, and take a selection of lead-head jigs to fish beneath a float. The area is known for it’s boulder bottom, and the jig and float combination will save you lots of fustration and lost tackle, and the combo catches steelhead. Summer steelheading can also be extremely good on the Sky. The summertime catch sometime tops the 2,000 fish mark, making the Skykomish an occasional entry on Washington’s top ten summer steelhead producers. June, July, August, and September all provide excellent summer steelhead fishing. As on many Northwest streams, gearing down to lighter tackle and using a more subtle approach is often the key to summer steelheading success.

Cohos and Chums share the salmon limelight on the Skykomish during a typical fall season, with pinks playing a part in odd-numbered years. Salmon angling is allowed up to the confluence of the forks, but it’s hard to beat the numerous pools and drifts from Sultan to Monroe, a stretch of river that’s as good as any salmon stream in the country. Pink’s show up in September, cohos in October, and chums are most numerous in November. Fish for all three and you’ll quickly see the improvement in fish strength and stamina as the runs change.
The Skykomish, and the entire Snohomish system, is one of the few places in Washington where it’s legal for angler to catch and keep Dolly Varden as part of the two trout daily limit. And Dolly Varden you keep must be 20 inches long or more. The Sky has produced much larger Dolly Varden, including the state record of 10 pounds back in 1982.