Hey folks, fishing is always fun but it is even better when the sky is blue and the weather is nice. The forecast right now has about 10 days of clear blue sky in Eastern Washington. River conditions on ALL streams are absolutely ideal with no rain in the forecast to stir it up. Whether you have just a single day to drive over and fish the Yakima for trout, or an overnight to the Wenatchee or Methow (which recently opened for Steelhead on Wednesday!), or a few days on the Klickitat GET OUT HERE! If you don’t plan for a day right now you won’t make it.
On the Yakima, we’re seeing some BWO’s mid-day with a few rising fish in the afternoon but they are pretty spooky so approach with caution. Fish small flies, like a ZEBRA MIDGE haha, this is a great fly. Simple with a good hook gape.
On the Wenatchee and Methow – mix up the fishing. Swing flies early and late and fish Stone fly nymphs and eggs mid-day. While the river is only open for hatchery steelhead officially, you will find some very nice trout as an ancillary catch. Big Cuttbows are busy eating eggs behind the spawning Chinook up there!
The Klickitat is full of Kings right now. Some are getting a bit dark but the “Fall Upriver Brights” are still in great shape and eating a swung fly pretty well! We are fairly well booked up but we have a few dates still open at our place down here:
Klickitat River Overnight Dates Available:
October 22/23rd (6 anglers)
October 30th – November 2nd (6 anglers)
November 9 – 12th (4 anglers)
Klickitat River Flows as of 1 pm 9/30/13
Follow this link for current flow conditions: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wa/nwis?program=uv&site_no=14113000&agency_cd=USGS
There is always some risk involved on your best days of Steelhead fishing! The river fished GREAT as it went out of shape on Saturday afternoon. Currently it is high and muddy, we’re planning on it coming back into shape on Friday…. cross your fingers! The fishing should be very good on the rebound as these steelhead move into the system and alter their holding lies into more vulnerable positions. On the rebound be sure to fish the tailouts and give the flat water and inside corners extra attention.
We hate to see the river get high and dirty but you have to take the good with the bad!
I got a new Redington Dually Switch Rod recently, the 7113-4 was just screaming my name. It is the 11’3″ 7 weight which is bound to be the most popular rod in the bunch. I picked it up as a backup/extra rod to have in addition to the Sage ONE 7116-4 that I already have. Both of these rods are now loaded up with the new Rio Switch Chucker. The team at Rio hit the ball out of the park with this fly line! More on that in a minute, but it is the line that most closely bridges the gap between a shooting head and one that will still mend and fish with a set of nymphs.
First off, the cost is attractive. I have yet to see a rod at $249 that even comes close. I’ll be honest, this was an economically biased purchase for me. I already have a 7 weight switch rod and since it was going to be an “extra” the cost contributed to the help. I did cast it first and loved it. While it doesn’t have that crisp response of its $860 cousin, it throws a nice line and you do feel like you have control of the fly. Most people don’t pay attention to the accuracy of a two-handed rod but that is one of the first things I analyze. It throws a fairly consistent cast. The rod does have a cool look to it. I like the all cork reel seat. It reminds me of my great uncle Ed’s steelhead and salmon rods that were left in our tool shed after he passed away. This rod looks “old school” but casts like a NASA rocket. The overhead casting with a Rio Switch Chucker is not something to be desired. This line is pretty heavy so I didn’t get a good feel over the past week on what it is like with a Rio Switch Line. I know rods well enough to know that it will cast overhand fairly well. Your line should be purchased or chosen based on what you plan to do. If you plan to do LOTS of single hand casting then an WF9F line will do. If you plan to do a ton of nymph fishing with one or two hand casting, Rio Switch Line, or if you plan to swing 70% of the time then the Switch Chucker is the only way to go.
Comparing the top “coach class” switch rods… The Echo SR is still the king of single hand preferred casters. It is only 10’10″ on the 7 weight and casts overhand and under trees like a champ. It doesn’t pick up the big heavy flies and tips as well as the longer rods. The TFO Deer Creek is still a good choice despite being about 7 years old give or take. It has good components and is a solid rod. It lacks a bit of the “punch” of some of these others but is very beginner friendly and a joy to cast. Lots of energy in the bottom half of this rod. The Dually hangs right in there with these other rods for about $100 less. It is a good choice for anglers on a tight budget.
Alas. A Shooting Head style line for switch rods with a gentle back taper so that you can handle an indicator at 30+ feet. We have been waiting for this line! Prior to this line the best “contiguous one piece” fly line that filled the bill was the Wulff Ambush. Which is still an awesome line! Especially if you plan to exclusively shooting line and swing flies or strip streamers. I got the pleasure of casting this line as a prototype far before it actually hit the market. In fact, I have a pretty worn it out casting everything that swings on my Sage 7116-4 ONE Switch Rod. These lines are “sized to fit” so a #7 Rio Switch Chucker gets paired with a 7 weight switch rod. Super easy.
This line will turn over “Rio MOW tips in the ‘light’ size range”. You can also use Versi-leaders or polyleaders. The Rio MOW tip system is sturdy and a very good investment so I recommend going that direction. Plus they tend to handle big flies better than the versi-leader system.
If you are looking for a line that will shoot line “spey style” well and double as an indicator line then this is it. For maximum nymph fishing range pair it with a 10′ Rio MOW Floating tip size Medium. A light floating tip will work, but if you are casting “junk” like indicators and weight then the Medium MOW Floating tip will turn it over a bit better. This line is an ‘ok’ overhead casting line. It is too heavy to pretend that it is fun to cast as a single handed line. If you want to overhand cast with one hand then the Rio Perception Fly line – up 2 line weights is a better choice. I’m not sure the Rio Switch Chucker can be beat for a spey style line on a switch rod however.
We do package the Redington Dually Switch Rod complete with line, backing, tips, and pretty much everything you need to get started. This is the newest switch rod package that we have assembled and the customer satisfaction is amazing. Great combination. Just follow the link below to learn more about this package.
9/24/13 Good week on the Klickitat. As most of you might know, it is an EPIC EPIC EPIC year for Chinook Salmon. While we don’t target Kings while guiding for Steelhead many fly anglers on the river are reporting numerous hook-ups with big hot angry Kings! We do fish Kings when we’re on a day off, and we do incidentally hook some Chinook while guiding for Steelhead and they are tough customers! Also we want to let you know before you schedule anything with us, anyone that catches a King on our guided trips must release it immediately. No retention of Kings on our guided trips. Hatchery steelhead however are fair game! We had a client shatter an 8 weight rod last week trying to tame one of these beasts. It has been a week filled with bent hooks, broken tippet, and busted rods! Spey fisherman should consider getting a rod specifically for fighting and fishing these Kings, check out the package below if you plan to head that way without us. If you are going to swing flies for Kings, get up EARLY and fish the tailouts while the fish are on the move. The fish seem to start moving about 3 pm in the afternoon again as well. Target those times of days.
If you are ever going to go after Salmon on a fly rod, this is the year. At Bonneville Dam (as of today) – the “10 Year Average” for Kings is 340,110 and the current 2013 count is 818,581. Unreal. Try this outfit if you are a DIY King fisherman, we have a package that is all pre-built. It is an Echo 9130-4, complete package for $549!!! Echo King Spey Rod and Reel Package.
The Steelhead fishing has been “average to good” with a couple of hookups a day for anglers that have been here before and can handle a rod. The fishing program with Red’s goes VERY smooth. We have a place on the river with great food, very comfortable accommodations, and guides that fish their brains out! The Klick team is doing a killer job. If you don’t have a trip planned yet please choose from the following dates and let’s get something going!
The Klickitat is fishing “ok” right now with a fish or two per day coming to skilled anglers in a guide’s boat. One of our guide’s gals landed this fabulous hatchery steelhead which was also her first! Slow fishing doesn’t mean a thing when you are the one holding a fish that special though! We feel like the most predictable time for numbers of fish this year is going to be October – mid November. No matter how the summer goes we always seem to have a killer fall. We have space left in the lodge and we would love to get you down there for 2-3 days of fishing your brains out!
Tips if you are fishing this week, first off call Canyon Market at 509.369.4400 to get a clarity report. The heat yesterday might have triggered a glacial burst but that should settle out quickly as the weather cools over these next few days. If the water gets to 5′ plus of visibility make sure to hit the water early and fish the bottom half of the run on the swing with a floating line. Fish a little further down than you think you need to! During the heat, look for shady holes and if you don’t mind nymphing fish the deep green slots with a deep indicator rig. Stonefly nymphs are fishing every bit as well as beads based on our recent data.
The counts are below the 10 year average (2009 was a HUUUUUGGGGE YEAR) but we are slightly ahead of 2012. Our fall season in 2012 was spectacular. We expect to have a great 2013 season.
If you are planning a guide trip down there give us a call. We have space and our riverside location makes your fishing days work very efficiently!
The Klickitat has been in and out of shape over the past 10 days but the cooler nights brought it into good shape. Steve Joyce ran down there yesterday to check things out with some guests and they had a great day. They hooked one fish on the swing and several nymph fishing between runs. For the most up to date clarity report, shuttles, lunch, beer, and ice call or stop by the Canyon Market in Klickitat. 509.369.4400.
Right now is the time to get your “prime dates” booked. Here is a summary of the dates we have left that include multiple days of guided fishing, awesome food, and riverside lodging!
September 4,5,6 – 4 anglers (great early dates, post Labor day there is nobody on the water)
September 23 – October 1st – 8 anglers
October 5th – 9th – 8 anglers
October 12 – 14 – 6 anglers
October 30 – November 3rd – 8 anglers
November 4 – 6th – 8 anglers
November 9 – 15th – 8 anglers
Also, something very cool is that they are painting a neat mural that will have salmon and steelhead on it at the Canyon Market in Klickitat. This should help bring some additional beauty to an already beautiful river and canyon down there on the Klickitat. Here is a picture from the first day they started! We’ll post more as the artwork progresses!
Steve Joyce plus a few went down to swing flies on the Klickitat and put one fish on the bank via spey rod. The river is currently in great shape with a few fish entering the system. They fished the “upper middle” below Stinson Flat and had one solid grab and put one fish on the bank. They fished sink tips mid day and floaters in the tailouts in low light . This fish was a BRIGHT 6 pounder that fought like a June steeelhead should!
The current river flows are 1,780 and are looking good through this next week! Get down there!
The Griz (Anthony from our shop) is down there right now fishing and hooked a Spring Chinook while spey fishing today! It was a beast.
If anyone is looking for a place to stay, please check out our lodging page and you can book a room or cabin rental directly through Red’s. We have a long term lease on a riverside cabin and are happy to rent it to you from June – August on a nightly basis. You can do a guided trip and stay there or fish DIY on your own. Here is more information about lodging, http://www.redsflyshop.com/klickitat_river_lodging.html
The Klickitat opened yesterday, we missed the actual opener but the river is in GREAT shape! The fishing in early June can be quite good especially if the flows are under 2,000 cfs. This is the time that spey fisherman have some advantages. The fish are fresh, spunky, and the flows are high which lends itself to swinging flies. We are hoping for amenable flows this month and hooking some HOT fish on the swing!
At the moment the river is in great shape and according to historical data there should be fish coming up. Fish the lower river from the Little Klickitat River downstream this time of year as most of the fish will be in the lower section.
For anyone planning a DIY trip to the Klickitat, please know that you can rent our cabin which is ON the river in Klickitat for $199 a night. It is very spacious, sleeps 3 and has a fully equipped kitchen. Split it with your pals and it is very cost effective. Plus it is within walking distance of the Canyon Market where you can get shuttles, beer, sandwiches, flies, Red Bull, and pepperoni sticks. Call us at 509.933.2300 to reserve a night. Here is a link with more lodging information: http://www.redsflyshop.com/klickitat_river_lodging.html
Quick note, the Yakima River fished GREAT this past week with the above average temperatures and humid conditions. We had our best success on nymph fished in the long deep slots on extremely drag free presentations. The exact fly did not seem to matter as much as the quality of the drift (as is usually the case), but we caught fish equally on a size 18/20 Silver Beadhead Lightning Bug, #16 Holo Prince, and an Amber Clinger Nymph (#16/14).
The river came up hard today and got a bit messy in the Canyon, but if you plan to fish over Thanksgiving weekend it looks good. The river will drop and the fish will be hungry after this freshet of rain.
Try fishing with a San Juan Worm after this bump in the flows. This happened at the beginning of the month and we did VERY well on a pink/red San Juan worm along with streamers fished on a sink tip.
Great fishing on the Klickitat this past week with multiple fish hooked most every day, a couple on the swing and most on the nymph. It has been a strong November thanks to the big rain that we had at the end of October. Currently the Klickitat is OUT of shape right now and it will be touch and go for the last 9 days of the season with more rain expected NOAA predicts that it will be in fishable range later this weekend and then again about the 27th but last time the river recovered much faster than expected. Call the Klickitat Canyon Market for a clarity report anytime, they are great and are open from 6:30 am – 9 pm at 509.369.4400.
The Wenatchee is back out again for a few days it swelled up again and prior to that was kicking out about a fish a day to the spey anglers we have had on the river up there. It should be back in good shape next week and we anticipate a strong early December thanks to another good burst of rain which is bringing in fish as we speak!
The Methow is high”er” but fishable especially if you want to do a float trip. The fishing has been puzzling, it has been “ok” on the Methow which has a positive effect in that there are A LOT less anglers than have historically fished this stream. A fish or two a day is par for the course, for anyone that loves fly fishing for steelhead this is great! For a lot of folks that have experienced big time fish counts in years past this isn’t quite enough to get them to banzai far from home and hit the water. So if you are willing to go you just might have all your favorite runs to yourself. At flows around 900 cfs consider doing a lot more swinging. You will efficiently cover the wide runs. 900 cfs doesn’t sound like a lot but some of the tailouts on the Methow are really wide and tough to wade and cover with a wimpy single handed rod and a bobber. Trust me, I’ve been there. Big rocks and deep ledges = wet elbows from mending and casting double nymph rigs. Standing back in the knee deep stuff and slinging sink tips might be a more enjoyable and effective fishing style right now.
The Klickitat is back in GREAT shape after a burst of rain shut us down for about 5 days or so. We are amped to be back on the water and enjoying great fishing. We have caught fish swinging and nymphing in the last 24 hours, probably in the last 4 hours because the guys are on the water as we speak. If you are thinking of joining us for a trip, call now! We have some lodging available and after November 15th we are offering a “Banzai Trip” that is $299 per angler (based on double occupancy) for a night of lodging and a dawn till dusk day of fishing. Stop by our new fly shop the day before your trip and we’ll throw in a Red’s Fiberloft Insulated Vest for free! One per boat, this is a $75 vest. All yours, just for going fishing and stopping by the new store!
The water is clearing up fast and we are going to go from complaints about the water being too dirty to complaints about the water being too clear in a matter of days! Funny how that works, somewhere right in between is where we are at right now.
Swing slow, swing in detail as the water temps cool this week. Our best fly has been variants of Silvey’s Extractor which is lightly weighted. Longtime Klickitat spey bum, Roger Shearer whom happens to be our retail manager also hunted down his favorite muddler for our shop and we now have that in stock. It is sweet, I have personally caught several fish on the Methow swinging this fly both as a skater and on a sink tip. I am stoked to fish this on the Klickitat this weekend. It is called Duddles Magic Muddler and we prefer black, but get a few in purple too for sunny days.
The nymph fishing usually rules for fish numbers, but it isn’t all about how many fish you can boat. Fishing on foot, swinging a fly, and doing “on your own” without a rower is very rewarding. If you have fished with us in the past and primarily used nymphs and want a new challenge, learn to spey cast and line up a date to swing flies. After this week we’ll be out of the prime swing season but make 2013 your year. Get a spey rod or an 11’6” switch rod and make it a point to become proficient with it before you get to the river. That way you can focus exclusively on fishing and not have to struggle with your cast. We see too many people that are interested in swinging flies but haven’t done the reps to gain a basic grasp on it before the trip. Once they get here and it is time to fish… it is time to fish. They usually pick up the single handed rods with indicators (which is great) but we will only swing flies for 15 minutes at lunch which isn’t enough exposure to get good at the casting or the fishing.
As the water gets clear and the salmon are gone. Our efforts are focused back to traditional holes and runs. The Steelhead will enjoy slower, deeper water these next few weeks. Your flies should be more natural and look more “trusting”. We like a black #4 Jimmy Legs stonefly nymph as the water clears. It is very natural and since the fish are holding in slower water they have much more time to examine it.
Most guides use a bead for an egg pattern most of the time, yes, it is hard plastic and not exactly a fly but it is effective and our job most days is to help the guest simply hook a few fish. We sell some random assortments of beads so that you don’t have to have 25 of the same color. Our Steelhead Bead Assortments are a hodge podge of colors and sizes. Mix it up. There isn’t one color or size that seems to work better than another. Ask 4 guides what size/color is the best and you will get 4 different answers. All passionate and certain that they are right!