Help us Make 2015 Amazing Fishing

February 6, 2015

The water looks great from the office up here, but it is on the rise pretty fast.  If you had plans to fish tomorrow it will be marginal.  You can always just come out, give it a shot, and cheer yourself up with a giant Pac Man Burger and a beer if you don't catch any fish.  

The rain has been relentless.  The good news is that the reservoirs have LOTS of water in them so we'll have summer time flows that are close to normal.  With the low... I mean no.. snow-pack the spring fishing should be outstanding.  I'll post reminders but I can't emphasize enough how important your role as an angler is in the quality of the trout fishing. In a low run off year the early season fishing can be incredible and the big fish vulnerable to the fly.  

The big pre-spawn (and spawning) Rainbows that we catch here early in the season shouldn't be handled but rarely (if ever).  Once in a while we take a picture of a fish out of the water, in fact on SuperBowl Sunday we caught some absolute slabs and released all but one of them instantly.  No touchy feely.  The only reason we touched one of them was so that I could get a picture of the fly in its mouth.  A harmless snap shot that we didn't have to re-take 15 times because somebody had their eyes closed or a stupid look on their face.  What's my point?  The better we all handle the big fish, the better the fishing. Pay it forward with a zero-touch fish handling philosophy and I guarantee you will have a positive influence on the health of this river.  When you fish it almost every day and can see it from your desk you start to become attached and hold dear the wild trout under the surface of that moving water.  

Let's have an absolutely kick-butt 2015 and take good care of the trout!  Try to release everything instantly and if you do take a picture and hold the fish, MAKE IT QUICK, and take extra good care of all the other fish you hook that day.  Pinch your barbs super duper flush and fish one fly whenever possible.

Thank you so much to the anglers that have committed to this practice.  We have seen the difference at Red's.  Since I started fishing here in 1997, started guiding in 2000, and came to Red's in 2006 I've seen good fishing years, some very bad fishing years, and some awesome years.  Right now we're in a good spot.  From 2005-2009 were pretty lean but we have been on the upswing the last 4 years and I personally think the fishing is better than ever.  In my heart I truly believe this is because of a united group of anglers that want the best possible fishing... not the best possible picture.  Nothing against anyone that grips and grins, we're just doing our best to keep our pet fish strong and vibrant haha!

PS - Don't get feisty if we post a fish out of the water a few times a year.  We catch thousands upon thousands of fish and we're gonna lift one every now and then.  

  1. Thanks Joe for the great article on handling the trout. The paragraph about the big pre-spawn trout is spot on in not handling. It is estimated that a 18" female hold twice as many eggs as a 16" female. These fish are critical to great fishing for the years to come on the Yakima and all catch and release waters. "Let's catch and release each wild trout as if it's the last trout on earth".
  2. Thanks Tim, I know you have been fishing here many many years and seen the highs and lows that come with a wild trout population. Unlike many other fisheries (like an ocean) we have a pretty captive audience of trout here. Taking good care of all of them is critical to maintaining a quality fishing experience.
  3. Thanks for the post. Helpful to this guy from Spokane that's just returning to fly fishing after a 12 year layoff. Never fished your area before, but plan to this coming year. Again, good information. Thanks!
  4. Good point about not handling the fish. It might be a good idea not to post pictures of guides or clients handling fish on your web site. My philosophy has always been the guy holding the fish out of the water should have his head held under water for the equivalent amount of time. See you in March.
  5. Got that right on the handling. Keep your paws off of them. Who needs pictures. Fish are always larger in your memory.. Thanks for your blogs and videos. You folks really excel at media and info.
  6. Thanks for the reminder Joe. Those of us who are fortunate enough to connect with these spectacular fish, would do well to remember, that river stewardship is about respecting and valuing the environment and the critters that live there.
  7. I would add that if you're so inclined as to hold a fish for a picture, make sure it is done with wet hands. They're slimy for a reason. Let's keep them that way.
  8. Joe, your comments are spot on. Thanks