Yakima River Fishing Report // Summertime Tips

June 26, 2021

The high water flows of summer that make the Yakima River unique are here to stay. The water is up, but clear and stable.  Thank goodness we get LOTS of water during the summer, as the heat wave underway is going to be hard on fish in some of the smaller freestone rivers.  

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Yakima River Fishing Report

The wade fishing is not impossible, but expect to be challenged and get creative this time of year. You'll see in the video below, I'm using a WaterMaster boat to stop and wade along the edges. It takes some knowledge and experience to know just where to stop, but this is a HUGE advantage.  It can be done from shore as well, but the spots are small and more limited than lower flows.  Nymph fishing mid-day is the ticket, but late evening and early morning are providing solid dry fly fishing on Stonefly Dry Fly patterns.  A mix of colors average #8 in size is good advice. Depending on which guide you ask, the hot fly verys and a joke I heard in the basement a few minutes ago...

Q: "What are the trout hitting on?"
A:  "A good mend!" Hahhahahahaha.  

The advice here is to start with a GOOD pattern, but the trout want a really good drift and it needs to be presented well.  

Floating:  Concentrate on good oarsmanship. If you need a rowing lesson, please get one. This makes all the difference.  Our team is happy to help get you trained up.  Longer floats, limited stopping is the norm as its very hard to get anchored other than right agains the shoreline.

Wading:  It can be done.  Look for areas to "dry wade" and fish the cutbanks right under your feet.  Use a personal watercraft and try working behind the rockpiles in the pocket water. Be careful.

Yakima River Summer Hatches:

yakima river summer stonefly nymphsYakima River Summer Stonefly

There are some waning Mayflies, but the hatches right now are Caddis at dusk, and Summer Stoneflies beginning their migration.  Use Caddis emergers at dusk and look for feeding fish starting about 7:30 pm in the shadows. During the day, trout will be holding in swift water looking for migrating Stonefly Nymphs.  Any of our patterns in the #10-#6 range are a fine choice. Try a few out and choose the one that feels like the right weight and stick with it for an hour. If no action, keep searching for that day's hot pattern.  

Hot Weather and Trout Health:

Warm water is on the way, and trout don't do well being caught when the water gets into the upper 60's. With the number of anglers days our outfit provides, translating into thousands of fish caught, our guides will be immediately releasing all trout from this point on for the summer.  Other than a quick snap shot of a wet fish in the net please don't expect to grip 'n grin.  Instead, there are some cool ways to capture memories. Ask your guide to get a picture of you fighting a fish, or even netting it like this shot below.

Many of our larger trout are 6-7 years old!  They have survived a lot in that time and we don't want to jeopardize the quality of our special fishery. Fight 'em hard, keep 'em wet, and we'll all enjoy an ever improving fishery here on the Yakima.

Early vs. Late?

When water temps get into the upper 60's, we will urge guests to try and fish early in the day following the "Hoot Owl" model regularly adopted as a mandate in other western states. In Washington it's historically voluntary.  If your schedule allows the option to fish starting at dawn, do it. It's peaceful, productive, and the cooler water helps the trout recover after a tiring battle against your 5 weight.







  1. I will be in Moses Lake in mid July. I have a 13 yr old niece that recently took one of your fly fishing for women class and really enjoyed it. Can you recommend a good place to wade fish with her. Something pretty easy to wade, and the fish are active? Size is not of a biggest importance, just to give her the opportunity to catch some fish. The initial plan is to go fish right by the fly shop but have never fished in Washington, let alone the Yakima.
  2. I'm staying at Lake Chelan (from San Diego) the week of July 5. Can I book a float on the Yakima that week, and how far by car is it from Lake Chelan. If not hours and hours of driving, please give me the days for available guides. I may be fishing alone. Thanks, Jack Duncan mobile: 619-838-0920