The River Held its Color

March 30, 2015

I have to admit, I was surprised this morning to see that the Yakima Canyon is actually in very good shape and even more surprised that it fished as well as it did yesterday. Humbling.  Apparently after all that low clear water the fish were getting thirsty for more water.  Our guide Charlie was able to pull it off using a dry dropper set up all day yesterday.  It certainly helps when you know exactly where they are livin'.  He said to say that he was using an egg sucking leech. I laughed.  

I won't even pretend that I could have predicted good fishing, Saturday was tough, Sunday was decent, and it is looking good today.  I'm always learning and often surprised by my home water.  The Canyon is in good condition this morning so if you are heading this way rest easy.

My advice would be with the slightly elevated flows to go slow, find water that you know there to be fish, and slowly pick it apart.  If you want to put a couple of fattys in the net get a couple of Power Worms

Boaters should consider pulling over, finding soft inside seamlines, and wading. Yes wading.  Get out of your boat, get your money's worth out of those fancy Simms waders, and fish on foot. This really helps when rivers are high and cold which is what we have now.  Use an adjustable indicator system so that you can quickly correct for depth without messing around.

  1. Joe: Friday (3/27) was a real puzzler in the Upper Canyon! We put on @ Bristol Flats @ 11:00am in what was as close to ideal weather conditions as is possible on the Yak: high filtered sunshine, generally windless, balmy temps (70s) and good humidity. Yet we STRUGGLED mightily. I was fishing streamers and my partner stayed on top with attractors. Total for 8 hours of fishing HARD, Bristol to Thorp: two (2) fish! He got one and I got one. We saw a few odd March Browns around 1:30pm, but otherwise the day was bug-free. Any ideas about why Friday was so hard, when all the fundamentals were there? FRUSTRATING!! (Ps. Between us we each have at least 20 years of fishing the River.)
  2. Great question. I'll be interested to hear a professional opinion
  3. I am a guide at Red's and I work the upper river mainly. I fished it yesterday and the main reasons fishing has been tough was the increase in flows, temp fluctuations, and the spawn. I had two fish to the boat. They were deep. Really deep. All the cold water that came out of Cle Elum and up from Easton put the fish way down. Water temps have been moving from 47 48 down to 41 all within the past few days. They are also spawning. The two fish we caught were very spawned out. Same with the two other boats that floated after talking with the guides. Starting back on Friday the flows went up, then leveled, then rose, and leveled, and on Monday alone the flows increased 245 cfs and dropped 50 all within the day. The clarity of the water went from 3 feet to about 20 inches during the day as well. Add to that all the debris in the water from the fluctuating flows, and fish can't see much to eat plus they went down deep to get out of all the madness. Spawning fish also tend to focus on one thing and it isn't food. Fish won't be up on the surface until conditions become more consistent up here. This is very common during this time of year when the reservoirs are being filled and dumped to get 100% and move to operational flows for the spring and summer. March Browns, Drakes, Caddis and the Salmon Fly nymph and Golden Stone nymphs will be moving around with this increase in activity and fishing will get back to a normal rhythm as things settle and get consistent. Hope that helps. Nate
  4. Thanks Nate
  5. This whole process started about a week ago with the biggest fluctuations starting Friday Morning around 6 am. It's a bit early this year but we are moving into spring flows and fish are having a hard time warming up to it. We are starting to see warmer overnight air temps which will help with the temperature fluctuations in the water. 65 degree days and 38 to 42 degree nights kept he water temps low when we had lower flows and warmed the water for an hour two in the late afternoon. This was why we had some good days of fishing here and there during the past few weeks. Now the flows are bouncing around as the lower valley gets ready for the season and the reserviors have filled to capacity. Once this colder wet weather system moves past us this week the water temps and flows should get where they need to be We are just waiting for a bit more consistency in conditions and things will pick up. Should see some stellar mayfly stuff in the next two weeks or so.
  6. I dunno...but it sure seems to me that the Yakima is getting more like a slot machine at the airport in Vegas every year: you have to put in $200 and do 500 pulls to get $10 back!!!