Fickle Eats Call for Audible Techniques

July 28, 2014

Date: 7/25/14, 7/26/14 3:00 pm ? 9:00 pm

Location: MM20 to Mahre?s

Flies: Chubby, Tupac stone, Solitude hopper, Blooms caddis, PMD, CFO Ant

Results: Easily rose 30 fish per day, but only netted a third of them

Gear used: Redington Classic Trout 590-4 with Redington Surge reel lined with a Rio Perception and Redington Butterstick 370-3 with a Redington Drift 2/3 reel lined with a Rio Gold.

The last couple of evenings have been pretty much *not going to use the ?epic? word* OFF THE CHAIN!  This is what makes this river a destination fishery.  The combination of wildlife, weather, and adrenaline pumping takes will keep your eyes strained, blood flowing, and leave you in a pile of exhaustion at the end of the day.

If you?ve read Joe?s latest report, he gave a few tips regarding fishing hoppers as well as some techniques to overcome these sometimes finicky fish and I highly encourage all of you to go read it again and take notes as it is spot-on information.  I?d also like to elaborate on some of my own findings.  Right now, the fish are getting used to the standard play, so it?s important to know how to call an audible and when.

The standard play:

Hoppers and other attractors in the mid-day sun thrown tight to the bank and chubby?s with a caddis dropper in the morning and evening.  If you stick with this you?re likely to get quite a bit of action.  What I noticed over the last couple of days though, is the fish have become extremely noncommittal and have been short striking the flies.  It takes a great deal of patience not to ?set? on these fickle strikes as there?s a good chance they will come back after testing your nerves.  In these situations, I recommend ditching the standard and get creative.  Here?s how I audibled out of the routine.


Follow the hatch

I noticed around 5:30 pm a small PMD hatch came off.  When you notice any sort of hatch happen, follow it.  Of course it?s easier to stick with your same ole ?hopper against the bank?, but you might be surprised at what fish will key in on your slight adjustment.



Find a lane, shadow, or pool under an overhanging tree that you doubt anybody else can hit, and HIT IT!  Friday night, my co-pilot ran a drift 2 seconds longer than I wanted (figured it would have ended in a lost fly) and he was promptly rewarded with a huge take.  It was a gamble, but paid off.  Don?t be afraid to roll the dice once in a while.


            Nerves of steel

It takes a great deal of patience not to ?set? on fickle strikes, but if you do, there?s a good chance they will come back with vengeance after testing your nerves.


Identify your target

With the river screaming at ~4500 cfs, it?s tough to do any anchoring, so most of the fishing is ?run and gun?, but if you?re able to identify a fish worth spending some time on, it could take the day from good to great.  Smaller fish tend to slash at and make a huge spectacle of eating your fly.  The larger fish will slowly boil or ?shark? your fly with very minimal surface disturbance.  These slow rolls, boils, and slurps are the fish you want to target.


The other side of the river

On several occasions, if I went more than 10 minutes without a strike, I?d change to the other side of the river and find fish once again.  You have to remember, that during the summer, these fish are seeing floaters, fisherman, swimmers, birds, and pretty much every other creature all day long.  Sometimes fishing the other side of the river will produce more action.


Happy fishing and see you on the water!

  1. I had the pleasure a couple years ago to take my son-in-law (Chase) from Texas, myself and Luke as our guide on a float trip down the Yakima River . Chase had never fished a fly before. Luke was an awesome teacher. Chase actually was able to not only cast the Spay Rod correctly but landed the only catch of the day. Thank you Luke for being such a great host and teacher. Your expertise on the river is amazing. An experience Chase and I will never forget.
  2. Great tips man.