Smallmouth Bass Fishing on the Lower Yakima

June 19, 2014

The boys and I took off for the Lower Yakima to do some Bassin' and R and D (research and development) yesterday.  I can't remember the last time we got 5 guides to all get the day off and get in the boats and "yuck it up".  It was hilarious, I think my stomach still hurts from laughing.  I didn't realize we were employing comedians as well as fishing guides.  

Tyler, James, Brian Williams, Bailey, and I wanted to fish a new stretch of the Lower Yakima that we hadn't been on before.  I just got invited to try some private access that makes the float from Benton City downstream towards Horn Rapids more feasible, currently the public access there is simply too long to make a reasonable fishing day out of it.  We floated about 5 miles and that was on the long side, the next public access downstream was another 5 miles which is way too far.  The river is much slower there and when you fish Smallmouth it is better to take your time and pick apart the water.

The fishing was quite good right off the bat and just as we were getting dialed in.... the fishing tapered off for mid-day.  We did land some very nice Bass though!  Lots of fish in the 10" range which hit hard and are fun to catch.  We hooked a few in the 2-3 pound range and Bailey got the hawg which we estimated at a conservative 5+ pounds!

Carp Fishing on a Fly Rod

Part of the problem with doing a long float is that you can't slow down to fish for Carp!  We had some awesome shots at numerous Carp in the 10 - 20 pound range but we simply didn't take the time to slooowww down and fish them right.  They are spooky critters so you don't get to just slap a cast in front of them and expect them to chase it.  They are best fished on a longer 30+ foot cast with a soft landing.  If they are aware of your presence they don't bite well.  We managed to land this fish but should have spent more time mid-day pursuing these fish.

Viewing from the Elevated Position Hunting for Carp on a Fly Rod

Gear and Flies for Smallmouth and Carp

If you are going to do this float, you will want 3 rods setup.  Just think about a pro Bass fisherman... how many rods do they have?  LOTS!

  1. 690-4 will do most of your damage (we liked a 6 weight Redington Predator the best, the 6710-4 Redington Predator is awesome for casting under trees and picking apart the structure) Line this with a mid-range sink tip, we all agreed that a Rio Versitip 2 Fly Line with interchangeable sink tips would be the best.  There are weed beds that grow up and and as the summer rolls on you will want to run lighter tips while floating "on the go".
  2. 696-4 or 796-4 Single Hand rod lined up with a heavy heavy sink tip.  There are some fast and deep runs mid-river that don't have any weeds that you simply need to GET DOWN into.  This rod doesn't need to be cast under trees or along structure as much.  Your summer steelhead rod would work great.  You will want a heavy sink tip on this though.  We believe the Rio Coldwater Outbound Fly Line (fine for freshwater, it was designed for Striped Bass).  Get it in the "6 inch per second" sink rate to get it done.  Keep a heavier fly on this setup for your mid-river work.  
  3. 890-4 Flats Rod Setup with a Floating Line for Carp.  This rod can also be used for Popper and floating line work on Bass as well, but having a rod that is "Carp Ready" is key.  There won't be time to change tips, flies, or leaders.  You will need to grab 'n go if you want to Carp fish.  It is so warm that you can use your saltwater flats setup if you have one.  

Flies for Smallmouth Bass:

Click here for a great selection of all of our Bass Flies, you will need a good variety as some days certain colors, weights or actions will be on fire... and others will be dead.  You have no doubt experienced this in trout fishing and the same is true in Bass fishing if not more so!

Jawbreaker Bass Fly - This is the #1 fly we use and sell, it just gets it done.  Get a bunch of them in all colors, seriously.  We argued over these at times!

Flash Fry - Also very good!  We used this a lot on our heavy sink tips while "swinging" in the faster currents.

Our Favorite Carp Fly!