Bass, Red Bull, Coffee, Big Trout, and Log Jams

June 9, 2014

The last week has been a whirlwind of fishing.  I don't think we could have squeezed any more fishing out of this past week!  The important stuff is as follows - the Yakima is running at normal flows for this time of year (high), and we're having good nymph fishing mid-day with some decent evening dry fly fishing.  Things are "normal" over here which means solid fishing every day.  I personally hit the Farmlands today and had a good day nymph fishing for what its worth.  Ok, onto some photos and such.

Friday Morning Trout Spey... 

I hit the Cle Elum river on Friday, did some wade fishing with my guests in the morning and hooked a couple of great Rainbows!  There are not very many trout in this river but if you know where to go and what to do occasionally you get a few.  

Friday Afternoon Head Hunting...

After we went wade fishing in the morning, took the Clack upriver to the Yakima hoping to hook a couple, and I mean just a couple, of trophy Rainbows.  We were hoping for the Drake hatch, but... no bugs.  We did however manage to work up a couple of FANTASTIC Rainbows!  As you know, at Red's we try to minimize our impact on the trout.  Here is a shot of fish that I guesstimated that would go over the magical 20" mark.  Which is a lot bigger than you think, I don't know how many 17" fish that I see people call 21".  So many it is laughable.  We all get excited, I guess that is why we do this silly sport.  Anyway, here is a guest giving the Eco friendly fish pose upon release.  We caught this on a #12 Double Beaded 20 Incher which makes a very good Drake nymph imitation.  

Saturday's Bass Fishing...

We took off in the afternoon and tried to decide where to fish.... shall we hit the Klickitat and swing flies for Steelhead?  Hit opening day on the Naches River and be the first rods on the river this year?  Attempt to hit the infamous and phantom Green Drake hatch on the Upper Yakima?  Fish the opener on small streams?  Fish the evening Caddis hatch in the Yakima River Canyon?  Or, shall we go Bass Fishing?  

Bass fishing or bust...

We decided to go hit the Bass... and hit 'em hard.  We threw sleeping bags, tents, bbq, some coffee, and a cooler full of cold beverages in the rig and headed for the basin to some small lakes that we can get around in with a row boat and human motor, me.  We set up a temporary camp and hit the lakes for the afternoon.  It was super windy on the first lake we went to and we were targeting smallmouth Bass and trying to get them on Poppers.  It seemed like the wind was just too much and our Poppers weren't getting attention.  We switched up to a Jawbreaker and got some good action right away and Troy punched  out this nice Smallmouth!

smallmouth bass on a fly rod
It was super windy though, and the bass fishing there was tough.  We had a hard time getting the boat to hold still, even on anchor, so we decided to cook some dinner on the boat, WHILE FISHING :), and just keep at it.  These guys fish hard so we made good use of time.  Steak cooked on the boat!

After dinner we fished for Smallmouth a bit more and then decided to row back to the launch, throw the boat on the trailer and head for another lake that has some nice Largemouth Bass in it.  

At this point, it was 7:45 pm so it was a gamble but we just weren't turning up much on the big water so we relocated to a small piece of water that was a bit more sheltered.  It wasn't long after that when we hit a good flurry of about 45 minutes of pretty steady action!

One of the many things I love about Bass is that you have to cast in order to be successful, no joke.  A long, straight, tight line is often required to get the take.  Many bass eat upon impact, fly smacks down, if they like, WHAM.  One and done.  If your cast is sloppy with a big pile of line and slack laying down next to the fly it just doesn't work.  Good casting will increase your chances in any fly fishing scenario, but it is very apparent Bass fishing.  Coverage is king.

We were dedicated to fishing topwater, so we stuck with Poppers.  The Tigger Bass Popper was our best bug.  We had a good rally and got several dandy Largemouths including two doubles!
bass fishing on fly rods
We fished till DARK, dark, darrrk.  We couldn't see a thing and the fishing dropped off once it got dark out, which surprised us, so we headed back to "camp" if you could call it that.  Had a few too many cold ones celebrating the victories and laid down for the night.  Or a few hours actually.  

Sunday... More Bass and then Trout Fishing?  What?

We were up around 5 am, drank some coffee, thank God for JetBoils and hit the water again early in the morning.  We were in our favorite zone casting by 6:15 am and searching with Poppers again.  We hooked a few more bucketmouths but it wasn't as good as the evening bite.  
We fished the morning until around 9:30 am and it got pretty slow.  It was a blast sticking about 40 Bluegill on dry flies and site casting to them in the shallows, it is IRRESISTIBLE FUN!  It doesn't matter how much fishing you have done, this is a great time.  Bring a 3 weight and have a Bluegill beat-down.  You won't regret it.  All site casting with dry flies!  

Later on Sunday...

The Bass fishing slowed down so we slammed some Red Bull, actually it was Monster, and drove west towards Eburg to finish off our epic adventure.  We started to get our second wind and traded the Headhunter Bass Skiff for an Aire Tributary and drove to the Upper Yakima River to target some trout.  Not a bad follow up to the Bass eh?

Our hopes were to hit the infamous Green Drake Hatch, I have hit it only ONCE in all my years on the Yakima, and get some dry fly fishing in for large trout.  We didn't see but maybe one or two of these big Drake mayflies all day but we had a great float and caught some absolutely beautiful trout.

We even got adventurous and headed down a few side channels and hooked up!

The fishing was technical and challenging but the guys have had LOTS of practice.  The clear water on the Upper Yakima can be very challenging, not beginner friendly.  We refer to it as the "double black diamond" course.  The Lower Canyon and the Farmlands areas have a few more trout and are more beginner friendly.  As you gain some skills though, or would like a challenge or shot at some trophy Rainbows, give the upper river a shot.

You might even get a trout like this...

All in all... this was an exhausting couple of days.  We did about 12+ hours of hard fishing on Sunday and I have to tell you it was tiring.  I am getting too old for this stuff... yea right.  Bring it on! 

  1. funny, I wasn't exhausted! Epic day Joe, thanks!
  2. Great report, great read. Keep em coming!