Droppin' Short, Goin' down Big

April 12, 2015

Got out on the water yesterday, it was great to go put in a long day on the oars and nice to shut off the phone and the Wi-Fi for 10 hours so.  I am back upstairs today wishing that it was just that simple.  The way it use to be.  Guide, guide, guide, fish, guide, guide, fish, fish, sleep, guide, go hunting, guide, guide, guide, fish, sleep, guide, guide, repeat until winter time.  Ha!  My routine has changed has, but my passion for fishing is stronger than ever.  I love this game and gotta share it.

A few times we have been accused of "giving out too much information", especially on our fishing reports page.  I'll admit, I can't help myself.  We want to see everyone catch some fish and I feel that if you guys catch more fish, whether you are currently a customer or not, then we'll be a more successful business.  Plus if our staff falls into a rut of fishing the same flies and styles, then we might get complacent, burned out, and soft.  We like to stay up on our toes and are constantly finding creative new ways to guide and put our clients on fish.  By giving out lots of intel, it forces us to keep honing our skills and trying new strategies.  I also think this passion for ingenuity becomes contagious with our guests.  Nobody wants to fish the same fly, same setup, and same section every time.  Also, I have yet to see candid fishing reports and detailed advice for DIY'ers hurt our guided guest's fishing.  Enjoy the advice and we'll keep laying it on thick and helping put more trout on the end of your line.  All we ask is that you keep the trout wet when you catch, handle like they're the last ones on earth.  

The Salmon Flies are hatching, Golden Stones are on the way, PMD nymphs are EVERYWHERE, March Browns are only hatching from Bighorn on upstream, BWO's only on the dark days, Mother's Day Caddis will be early (IMO), Christmas Island departs in 3 weeks, Costa Rica Tarpon is on the radar, the Red's Rendezvous is very soon... man oh man fly fishing life is good right now.  

They're here.....

Ahhhhhh!!! Gross
Deanna is freakin'.  Big deal, its just a Salmon Fly.  She does all of our guide scheduling and is learning to fly fish so we're giving her tough love entomology lessons.  

Comin' up Short, Goin' down Big

Yesterday was very tough fishing most of the day.  The pressure was changing big time with some serious wind that was ice cold one minute, warm the next.  The fish weren't happy and even nymph fishing deep with a big stone and a dropper on the big color changes and ledges wasn't hardly doing a thing for us.  We threw streamers for about an hour and a half total and had a few grabs and got to visually see a couple of nice fish follow, but it was slow too. We fished adult Salmon Flies and finally stuck a couple of nice fish on those. The BWO hatch was dismal and there were no March Browns hatching.
Yakima River Fishing Report and Nice Rainbow on CDC Jighead Pheasant Tail Nymph!
This nymph, the Jighead PT was awesome yesterday.  This Rainbow was very similar to several others we caught.  Great average size, PLEASE let them go quick!  See those Leopard spots all the way down to the belly?  This is a big ol' beautiful Rainbow so we didn't even touch it.  We want to catch more and bigger fish.  Better handling practices might be the most sure fire way to accomplish this TODAY.  It immediately improves the fishery.    

The Super Sinker Nymph was also very good!

Salmon Fly Shucks are Lining the Banks!
The Salmon Flies are migrating out of the water and you'll find lots of "schucks" along the shoreline.  Notice the adult to the back left, and the Caddis sniffing it out.

Our other guides messaged me similar reports at lunch and finally in the afternoon I changed it up.  I have seen this before where the fish holding on the obvious color changes and buckets have been pressured enough that you need to find fish in the "obscure" zones.  The problem is a lot of that water varies in depth and speed and can be very shallow as well.  This makes it tough to fish a true nymph setup in.  You'll spend all your time snagging bottom and you simply can't hold a decent drift anyway.

I have done this before with success and yesterday afternoon it paid off, as far as I can tell it was the only strategy that produced quality fishing. Like I said, yesterday was tough.  I rand a dry dropper with a Super Sinker Nymph in Tungsten and a Jighead PT #12 in Tungsten.  The unique thing was is that I ran it about 9" under my dry fly.  I kept it super tight to the dry and we fished all sorts of 'off' water.  We hooked some spectacular fish in the afternoon and it was very good from about 3 pm - 4 pm.  We even got a couple on dry flies because this strategy helped us stick with the dry long in enough in order to get some good boat tempo going.  It was a lot more effective than deep nymphing the spots.  So, the mantra was Droppin' Short Goin' Down Big.  The average sized fish was very impressive.
Pat's Stone with Amputated Legs Here is a Salmon Fly Nymph and a #4 Pa'ts Stonefly Nymph.  I trimmed the legs, tails, and antenna's off the Pat's to better match the Salmon Fly which has more body than legs.  In the Upper Yakima River where the water is extremely clear I find this to be an advantage.  

Adult Salmon Fly
Here is an adult Salmon Fly. Big and tasty. Just ask Larry at the shop.  He likes his with Garlic.  No joke.  

Bullet Head Salmon Fly
Bullethead Salmon Fly Pattern
- Get all sizes. They float pretty low in the water and seem to work well on this river.  

Wade Fishing Opportunities in  the Yakima Canyon

Wade Fishing the Yakima River We did some wading yesterday.  It was great fun to get out of the boat, get your feet wet, and catch a few fish on foot.  We love rowing the boat and setting up the plays for our clients, but we also appreciate how good our guests feel when they get out on foot, stalk up on a tasty seamline, and pursue trout the old fashioned way.  The water conditions lend themselves to productive wade fishing right now.  As much as we would love the guide business, please don't shy away from just stopping into Red's, getting the best advice possible, and wade fishing on your own.  We'll give you all the help we can.

  1. Joe, ignore anybody who thinks you are giving out "too much information!" I, for one, need all the information I can get to be more successful on the water. Your blog contains great tips and advice on techniques, events, gear, places to fish, and more. Reading it every day has probably cost me more money, but what the heck ;-). Keep it up! Mike
  2. Thanks for all you put into your blog and fish reports. Rick in Spokane
  3. Intel or not, people still have to make choices on their own to get quality fish. I Don't think it will take any business away from your shop. I for one look forward to the blog every week it's one of the most well thought out and Educational Blogs on any fishery I'm interested in and it draws me out to the yakima every year. I make sure to stop in the shop each time I visit and show my gratitude.
  4. I agree with Mike and the others, there is never too much information about fishing gear and river reports. Thanks for this blog!
  5. Joe, your advice is what keeps me coming back to Reds. I make it a point to spend money in the store just to show support for all you offer. I also rent a raft at least 6 times a year, never even think about taking my business elsewhere. So, Thank You for giving us such great advice!
  6. Thanks for the upper river commentary add in on this one! Coming over from Seattle and sometimes short on time, I don't often get to make it to the canyon. Thanks for the great info.
  7. All the info is great! Its funny though, every time I've been into the shop I have never gotten any help or advice once they've figured out i'm buying just a few flies. I've been a dozen times, and this has been the case every time. I'm closer to cabella's and get the same tiny bit of customer service as red's. I love fly fishing but feel like I've got to start making more money and spending it at red's before I go back. Thanks for the reports!
  8. Great stuff! See you on the river tomorrow! Thanks!