Time to Get Some Fresh Air - Yakima River Fishing Report

February 9, 2016

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time out on the river these past two weeks. The snow is starting to melt for the most part and luckily we haven’t had too much runoff yet.  Hopefully the upcoming warm days and cold nights bleed off much of the low laying snow slowly.

Here are some suggested flies for current conditions:

Anato Mayfly Nymphs
Jimmy Legs Stonefly Nymphs #10's and 8's
20 Incher Stonefly Nymphs
San Juan Worms (anytime the flow rises a bit this is historically a good idea)
Amber Clinger Nymphs
Zebra Midge

I have noticed the fishing has also been getting pretty dang good in comparison to where it was at 10 days ago. There are more fish moving now than there has been for a long time and they are sneaking up onto the fringes.  And let me tell you they are feisty as well with lots of jumps and great fight in them.  Even the smaller fish are getting pretty wild when they are on the end of your line. Which brings me to my next point… the smaller fish are starting to move which is good news! I have also been seeing small midges starting to fly around as well as several fish rising throughout the days. Which means one thing… Spring is coming!

Great Farmlands Cutthroat!

As far as how to fish right now stick to the same set up as I mentioned before. A double nymph rig set about 4’ to the first fly then another 18” to the second fly. Use an indicator, I love the New Zealand yarn system! It takes a little crafting to get the hang of it, but once you know the system you'll never look back when nymphing light setups.  It helps detect some of the more subtle takes that you can miss on the Thingamabobber. Don't get me wrong, the bobber has its place and all the guides use them but if you want to get the absolute best drifts try the New Zealand system.  It certainly helped me anyway.  The fish right now are being very subtle on their takes for the most part every once in a while you’ll get an aggressive strike but the rest of the time they are hard to see. Make sure to slow your indicator down so you can get really give your flies time to sink down to where the fish are holding. To find most of the fish look for a slot, drop in, pool, or inside bend that’s a good 3-4’ deep and moving a slow walking pace. Make sure there isn’t too much water swirling around, this will make for tougher floats and more work for the fish. Which let’s face it, they are cold and aren’t going to want to spend any energy holding in rough water.  If it boils then move on.  

Once you find one fish this time of year there is likely to be more holding in that spot. Find the pod and then spend some time working the same water. Once you feel like you’ve gotten enough floats through the hole and got every fish out of that pod throw one more cast and head on to find that next pod, or if you are wade fishing change flies, change depth, add or subtract weight. If you get into a good pod you can get 6-10 fish out of the same spot if you are patient and stealthy about it.   

Right now is a great time to be out and beat the fair weather guys.  Try to get out and enjoy some time in the sun and maybe catch a couple of fish.  It isn't about big numbers of trout in February, but you are assured a great average size fish and the scenery is really great.  Lots of wildlife and it just feels good to get some fresh air. There’s still a little bit of chill in the air but when the sun is out you don’t even need a jacket, which feels like the turning point for spring. The chill is good for us though, it’ll keep the river from blowing out completely. So get out and enjoy the river right now while it’s perfect.  

  1. So worth it right now
  2. Great report man! Well said. Winter fishing is at its peak right now!
  3. All true - wading yesterday took 6 NICE fish out of a small pool by changing bugs twice.