Water Temp Alert on the Yakima River

June 23, 2014

Just a very quick note, the water temps hit a scary number last night.  Water that is in the upper 60's makes it tough for trout to recover after being played to exhaustion.  This warm water combined with GREAT fishing makes it time to issue an alert.  Our staff simply wants YOU to have the best fishing experience possible every time you visit our home water.  Whether you are on a guided float with us or not, it is in our best interest to help take care of the fish so that everyone has a memorable adventure out here.  Right now the biggest threat the trout face are over-zealous anglers.  June - September are when the trout will be caught fairly frequently, especially in the Yakima Canyon where our staff spends most of their time.  Warm water and good fishing can be detrimental to a river.

Please work with us to help make sure the Yakima is as good next year, or hopefully even better, than it is today.  By handling trout, or not handling them as the case may be, we can work together to make a positive difference in this fishery.  Bigger fish are more of them. We plead that you handle every trout as efficiently as possible  until we get some more water.  The river is unseasonably low right now which is making it much warmer that it normally would be in late June.  

Tips for Handling/Releasing Trout in Warm Water:

  1. Don't take them out of the water for anything except quickly removing the hook.
  2. Pinch your barbs FLAT, then pinch them again and again.
  3. Use one fly if you are catching fish better on pattern versus another.  Two flies makes the handling time on fish go way up.
  4. Play the fish very quickly, a low rod angle to the side will tire them out then "surf" them across the surface to finish them.
  5. Use heavy tippet.
  6. If a fish in the net gets tangled in your line, cut all the tippet as fast as possible, unhook the fish and let it swim.  You will probably have to retie anyway, and it will save the fish.
  7. Release them IMMEDIATELY.
  8. NEVER squeeze a trout.  They have soft organs and you will injure them.  
  9. If the fish must be held to unhook it, WET YOUR HANDS and hold it upside down without squeezing it.  

Tips for Getting a Good Photo Without Harming the Trout

First off, we love fishing photos.  But no picture is worth the expense of a trout.  Especially a mature trout which takes about 6 years worth of TLC to develop.  "Let's treat every trout as if it were the last one on earth!"

  1. Take a photo of the hookup and fight. 
  2. Take a picture of the fish simply being lifted in the net, your smile will make the photo pop!
  3. Shoot some amateur video, your phone will video just fine and capturing all the laughter, the fight, the fish jumping, etc. will capture the essence of the experience without having to 'grab and grin'.  
  4. Get creative and use the "buddy system", at the beginning of the day show your pal how to work your camera.  Don't wait until a fish is suffocating to do an instructional clinic.
  5. Most good fishing photos don't even have a fish in them, look for the unique moments throughout the day.
  6. Take a picture of the fly you used, it will bring back vivid memories of your trip.
  7. Get a waterproof camera and get it right down at water's level for a release shot.
  1. Joe, It's probably time to once again post the illustration of a trout's anatomy that was featured in a previous blog this spring. I know many anglers were surprised to see where a trout's lungs, heart, liver (all it's vital organs) are located. In this case, a picture "is worth a thousand words."
  2. Excellent info Joe. I am going to print and laminate these tips and have all guests in my boat read them before launch. Be good to the trout and they will be good to you!
  3. Thank you Joe and for taking the time to write this great, informative blog. I appreciate everything Red's is doing to educate the fly fisher person in proper catch and release. I believe the right weight rod in a 5 or 6 wt. along with heavy tippet will help in landing a trout faster in the these summertime flows and less oxygenated water.
  4. Apparently the temp gauge isn't working quite right, NOAA is showing lower temps than USGS (thankfully). Anyway, still worth the warning.
  5. Joe - I really appreciate the insight you always offer in your blogs. I especially thank you for the increased attention Reds has brought to properly playing/handling fish. I have not always been so great with this and have probably hurt/killed fish while attempting to get the glory photo shot. No more. Thanks.
  6. Great piece of writing, I really liked the way you highlighted some really important and significant points. Thanks so much, I appreciate your work. <a href="http://www.caverhilllodge.com/articles/british-columbia-fishing-lodge.asp">fly fishing trip in british columbia canada</a>