Back to the Future 4 Now Playing

April 30, 2015

I believe it was 2005 since we had flows this steady, low, and clear in the spring.  That doesn't sound like that long ago but 10 years goes by in a flash when all you do is fish, talk about fishing, write about fishing, eat, sleep, fish, etc.  Just think about how fast a day of guided fishing goes by.  Now multiply that by 10 years.  It is almost like traveling forward in time.

The river flows have been super steady with just a small daily cycle bumping us up and down 150 cfs or so.  Take a look at this flow trend below.  Boring isn't it?  So steady and predictable.  The odds of hitting the Yakima without any issues of a blowout or fluctuation in flows has never been better.  Where is the excitement?!!!  Where is the worry!!!!?? Normally we are up at all hours trying to figure out if the river will blow its lid by morning and if guide trips will come off as planned.  Now we just get to wake up every day knowing that conditions are great, this is weird.

This flow cycle... boring.  In the past 7 days it has bounded between 1700 and 2000 cfs.  This is actually perfect and a really good thing for guided guests and DIY anglers. The downside... is that from my position is that I am forced to use one of the dirtiest and least appreciated words ever written in a fishing report..... the "a" word.  Yep, I am not afraid to use it once in a while.  I don't like to, but I will and won't apologize for it either.  The fishing this spring has often been "average".  There I said it.  I know its awful!  What a terrible way to describe a mixture of mayfly and caddis hatch fishing on a Blue Ribbon Stream!  It just doesn't seam like a fair way to describe fishing that isn't bad, but it isn't really really good.  

What else do I say?  "fair"?  That description immediately reminds me of those little fishing icons on grandpa's calendar that are colored in to let you know how the bite is going to be.  I always used to look for the days that the fish were all the way colored in, but I can't ever remember a single time that I avoided going fishing when the fish was only half full.  I fish no matter what, especially when it is "fair".  Well that sounded good didn't it? That is officially the word I am going to use now from now on instead of the "a" word.

The fishing right now is "fair" and will be "fair" through tomorrow.  Saturday and Sunday however it will be the "best".  Don't believe me?  Just look at the prediction calendar below for May 2nd - 4th.  I found this on the internet so it must be true.  It is from the Farmer's Almanac.  It is kind of fun to look at and it makes a guy wonder what it would be like to have  a calendar like this.... (beginning to day dream and wonder now...)

If I were a screen writer and Back to the Future 4 needed a script, I would cast Michael J. Fox as a fly fishing guide that fished in the future, wrote a calendar like this based on his guide trips, and then he would travel back in time and start a fly fishing guide service and fly shop.  All the guides would know what each day will bring because Michael J. Fox, um er I mean McFly, would know where to fish and what to use.  He would name this guide service Red's Fly Shop and they would have access to this calendar so they can put their clients on the best possible fishing.  Biff would run shuttles and Doc would work in the basement at Red's selling hundreds of switch and spey rods to people all over the world.  Instead of a Delorian that runs on Plutonium he would have a little silver car named the "silver bullet" and would keep no less than about 50 spey heads laying on the back seat at all times.  They would appear strewn about, but Doc would know exactly what line to put on every single rod!  In the movie however, instead of a stupid color code on the calendar they would have awesome little fish colored in because it looks way cooler and they can do special graphics in Hollywood.

Now this is much easier to read.  They nailed it today, "Good Fishing" indeed!  

The Real Yakima River Fishing Report

I hope you find some of this humorous.  Fly fishing is supposed to be fun so be sure to lighten up and enjoy the journey.  I took it way too serious for a lot of years and almost made my wife quit fishing all together about 6 times because I was too high strung.  You can fish hard, but it is ok to laugh hard too.  Maybe not at my jokes because half of them suck, but I know that you will find this video out of control funny.  Roger, Casey, and Craig watched this about 6 times today in the shop and it reminded me to share this.

It is doubtful that if you are reading a fishing report for the Yakima River right now you won't be setting any IGFA records this weekend.  Make it easy on yourself and don't take things too seriously. Unless of course you are after Whitefish.  You have a legit shot there.  I am positive the state record is in the PacMan hole right smack dab in the middle that run in the top half. I have hooked it and lost it at the net twice.  I hope someday to make the record book and this is my best chance.  Do they list the guide as an assistant in the record book like they do with Tarpon? The state record is only 5.31 pounds.  It was caught in 1983 on the Columbia River in Benton County by Steven Becken.  He must have been unguided because it didn't list anyone else haha. I recommend a big ol' Red Holo Prince.  The big Whitefish love that fly.

Business Time

More seriously now, the Caddis hatch is about to blow up but hasn't hit yet.  Until then, you should be fishing nymphs most of the day until you spot feeding fish.  Most will be eating small BWO's in the #16 range and your best success will be "headhunting".  This means that you scout for feeding fish, find them rising, and then hunt them till they are in the net. One fish at a time please folks.  I encourage you to take a very methodical and quiet approach in this game.  In the river above Bighorn all the way to Easton be looking for March Brown hatches.  The peak of this hatch is over, but there are still some rising fish mid day on this hatch. Be ready with a #12 Split Wing Adams.  

Split Wing Parachute Adams
Split Wing Adams.. all sizes required.  This is the go to dry fly for almost any situation.  

Banks' Sparkle Dun
The ol' Sparkle Dun in #16 in both grey and olive has been a go to dry fly.  Find a rising fish and with this fly "you spot 'em you got 'em!"

The Cripple.  The trout can't help but pick on this poor guy stuck in the surface film.  This works on all Mayfly hatches.  The Pheasant Tail color works for almost every bug.  


I really like this new fly we got.  It is a Tungsten Jighead Caddis Pupae.  It is deadly under a big dry fly and fishes like you wouldn't believe.  The ultra soft CDC hackle pretty much hula dances in front of the trout and drives them crazy.  Use this right at the beginning of the hatch before the trout start feeding on emergers.  Be sure to let it swing up at the end of your drift!  This soft hackle combined with that rising action triggers strikes.

Image result for golden stonefly yakima river
Golden Stoneflies will start showing up in greater numbers this next week as well.  I really like this fly.  This factory picture is super duper lame.  Buy it and you'll love it.  This is my go to Golden Stone Dry Fly pattern.  

Bullet Head Golden Stone

  1. Do trout like to eat caddis bait?
  2. Yes, and you know this technique Eric. That is why you run deep with split shot and drag the bottom. After a few casts you will have 4 or 5 "Caddis bait" on your dropper nymph. This also makes you a dirty dirty bait fisherman though, its up to you to pull them off and remain a fly fisherman.
  3. ;).... nice work joe! See ya soon!
  4. Woah, fishing conditions of the "Full Trout Silhouette" variety!? Even Partial Trout Silhouette conditions would be acceptable. This should be a "fairly" exciting weekend. (Given the similarities of our names, in conjunction with a perfectly healthy addiction to fly angling, I felt obligated to introduce myself. That is the main reason for this post.) Good Day.
  5. I live for "full trout silhouette" days.