What Are You Wading For? - Yakima River Fishing Report

September 6, 2015

Now is the time to start getting your cool weather gear ready to go and planning a trip to the Yakima Canyon.  As many of you know the high, swift, and powerful river flows that plague the wade fisherman have vanished. We're in full flip-flop mode and the water is down as you can see by these pictures.  Check out that waterline!  This is the best time of year for wade fishing the Yakima River.  The water level is down, the fish are beginning to condense into more obvious holding spots, and you can put together a great DIY trip.  Pontoon boat anglers need to dig their boats out from underneath all the junk in their garage that is stacked on top of it too.  Dust that boat off, pump it up, and get your one man boat float going.  If you are interested in fishing out of a one person boat, get a Watermaster or an Outcast Scout.  We have them in stock and you can fish the same day.  

The water temps are down and its time to take a look at your wading gear and be sure that you are ready for fall fishing.  The days are getting shorter and the shadows are hanging around a lot longer.  The trout will begin going into a pattern of feeding mid-day as the water warms up.  We have already seen the morning slowing down, which is perfect timing because the Hoot Owl restrictions that were necessary during the summer have now been lifted. The afternoon and evening fishing is excellent right now.

The dry fly fishing is still good but you'll have to be smart, stealthy, and patient.  I personally LOVE the challenge of dry fly fishing this time of year. Most anglers and guides punt the ball too early in my opinion.  If the dry fly fishing isn't hot they'll switch to nymphs which is frankly pretty easy fishing right now.  On Friday the nymph fishing was too good, if there ever was such a thing I suppose.  The dry fly fishing was good enough that the accurate casts and delicate drifts, when placed consistently, were being rewarded.  In fact we caught our biggest fish on a dry fly.  It was a 19" football that could have been on a poster it was so pretty.   The only problem was the nymph fishing was so good that every time we glanced at the other guide we were working with their boat had a fish on... nymphs.  EVERY TIME we looked over.  It is really tough to stick with dry flies when that kind of action is happening next door.

So what's a guide to do?  We folded.  At lunch time we set up a lightweight nymph rig and punished the trout for the last 3-4 hours of the day.  It was very good fishing.  I will say that I believe that if you want to get better at light line nymph fishing, and really step up to the next level beyond Thingamabobbers I suggest you try using small sparse yarn strike indicators or a New Zealand Strike Indicator system.

I have been working the shop these past 2 days and sent quite a few of these out with anglers on DIY trips and have had 2 parties come back in and give a testimonial on how well this system worked for them.  Expand your skill set and knowledge, try some new tackle.  Be thinking about what your "next level" is and how to get there.

Please check out this article and video on how to become a better Light Line Nymph Fisherman.

The fly system I used was very simple and very effective.  I did not use any split shot whatsoever, and I didn't even use a Pat's Stone!  What!  No Pat's Stone?!  Are you kidding?  What kind of guide doesn't use a Pat's Rubber Leg?

Before I give the details on the nymphs that were insanely productive, let me say this again.  YOU SHOULD DO MORE DRY FLY FISHING.  I can't over emphasize that your casting skill and general angling prowess will be defined by how productively you can place and drift a dry fly.  Anglers that can throw tight loops and deliver delicate dry flies at distances up to 50-60' can go anywhere in the world and fly fish.  At this point you have obtained accuracy, line speed, and loop control.  Your streamer fishing, beach fishing, bonefishing, and anything else you do will benefit immensely from the time you invest fishing dry flies.

Too many people go through this routine.  They will dry fly fish, often poorly because they aren't in a groove yet, for about 30-45 minutes.  That is hardly enough time to figure how your fly likes to float, get warmed up, figure out what type of water the fish are holding in, and also give the fish a chance to help you out.  Anglers constantly abandon dry flies too soon and they will nymph for HOURS.  And hours and hours whether they are .  They do this for a couple of reasons.  Primarily because of the confidence, which is based on success.  But when you think about it, success is typically achieved when a person commits to something and puts the time in. If you want to catch fish on dries put your time in.  Making precise 40' casts against the bank, under the brush, and into challenging seam lines takes practice!  Stick with it.

Ok, so you put some time into dry fly fishing and perhaps you have achieved some results. Regardless of your catch I believe you'll get a lot done sticking with dry flies because your casting, line handling, reading water, and all around prowess will improve.  If you don't have desirable results... maybe its time to nymph fish after first trying some dry flies.

That is where the light line system comes into play.  Low clear water with picky trout requires more delicate presentations. Although you can have success lobbing bobbers and a double fly stone nymph and a dropper rig its not the best. 

The system I am using has a Yarn indicators with a Tungsten Jighead Pheasant Tail with CDC Hackle or a Jighead Yellow Spot Pheasant Tail.  Notice how beat up this fly is!  That baby got worked.  Notice the LOOP KNOT to allow freedom of movement, and it sinks faster when it is allowed to fall head first.  I use NO SPLIT SHOT or big stone to weigh it down.  I trust a delicate drag free drift, directed by a yarn indicator, and a piece of 5X Fluorocarbon tippet to get it down.  Lighter is better.

Below that fly I like a WD40 Nymph or a Zebra Midge.  Use various colors and mix it up.

  1. Thanks Joe!