Yakima River Fishing Update

July 17, 2016

We have had some outstanding fishing this past week since the water flow leveled off and cleared up.  There were a few tough days prior to the water dropping back in. Right now the flow is swift but this is normal for summertime here on the Yakima.  We're lucky to have the river run high and cool during July and August.  I got out with a couple of our younger guides to do some training a few mornings ago and it was awesome fishing despite the water being up bit. Now that its cleared... oh man it has been good. 

Working weekends isn't so bad at Red's.  Right now as I write this I am sitting at my desk eating the most amazing breakfast I have ever had!  It is a Corned Beef Hash served in a hot skillet with poached eggs, carmelized onions, and potatoes.  It is so good.  Have breakfast with us some Saturday or Sunday at Canyon River Grill.  Its our restaurant located inside Red's Fly Shop.  

I want to mention a few things before I get to the good stuff.  I try to update the reports as often as possible, but our focus right now is taking the absolute best possible care of our customers.  We are very busy answering the phones, teaching lessons, shuttling trucks, renting boats to DIY guys, and of course some guiding. We try not to use our fishing reports to sell guided trips, we honestly just want to help line you out. 

You also won't see many pictures of fish here because we try to let them swim as fast as possible.  Our crew wants YOUR fishing to be the best it can be.  I know we would book a lot more adventures if we posted lots of big fish pictures, but that wouldn't be good for the river.  We could bombard this page with slabby Rainbow shots on a daily basis.  Anyway, I try to stay current here but the personal service in the shop, on the phone, email, and in the boat takes priority. I WILL however offer the most transparent information available so that even you DIY guys will benefit.  Hopefully you'll wind up at Red's someday.  

Yakima River Fishing Update

The big bugs are out, and the dry fly fishing in the evenings has been absolutely amazing.  The morning today was a bit sluggish which is normal for slightly cooler cloudy weather.  I reckon the mid day dry fly fishing today will be mighty good today however. 

Here is a video from our Red's Fly Shop Facebook Page that I shot yesterday during the Learn to Fly Fish Class during the bug hunt.  If you haven't bookmarked our Facebook Page, better do that.  Its our best way to stay current on conditions and happenings since I can update from my phone.  Just so you know, I am no teaching many of our Fly Fishing 101 and 201 Classes, so if you have anyone that wants to learn chances are I'll be there instructor.  We have space this Saturday for 2 more.  

The Caddis hatches in the evening have been strong during the last 45 minutes of daylight, but prior to that aren't much to write home about. If you are fishing till dusk, COMMIT and stay out there till the lights go out. Its worth it and I strongly suggest that you have two fly rods rigged up. One with a big dry fly like a Plan B to imitate a Stonefly, and another rod that is a 3-4 weight rigged up with a Caddis emerger. I like a traditional Elk Hair Caddis followed by a Peacock X-Caddis.  

Thoughts on Summer Fishing in General

I see this every year. The Summer Stonefly Hatch hits, the fishing is INCREDIBLE.  No joke, that might even be an understatement.  Its truly amazing. The fish go out of their minds during the Twilight Hours through much of July.  If you can swing it, do a Twilight Highlight guided trip to see just how good it can be.  

Anywho, the fishing will be very good but as the fish get hooked a few times they get tough to catch. PLEASE don't take fish out of the water, fight, or handle them any more than necessary, if you do one thing for our fishery make this it. Take care of the trout, keep 'em wet, and pay forward a vibrant trout for the next angler.  

As the trout get roughed up on big dry flies fishing smaller, sparse patterns like traditional hair wing Orange Stimulators will become more productive. Use lighter tippet like 4X RIO Powerflex Plus.  This new tippet is 20% stronger so you can fish smaller diameter more supple line near the sticks without losing a dozen flies a day.  Right now the Chubby Chernobyl fishing is HOT.   I particularly like a Red Winged Thing. Its a bit thinner than the Chubby and I think the black legs work very well.  Try the #10 in the low light, switch to the #12 in the broad daylight.  

Stick with dry flies as much as you can, remember there are only a few months per year when a DFO  Day (dry fly only day) is feasible.  July - September are the best.  Work on your presentation and do your best.  If and when you decide to nymph consider ditching the Stonefly nymph (the trout are gettin wise to these!) and fishing small nymphs.  I like #16 Lightning Bugs this time of year. There isn't any one nymph in particular they are after as most of the small bug hatches are done for the year.  Try fishing 4' deep with a heavy piece of split shot and a single Lightning Bug or Prince Harry.    It fishes great, stays out of the trees, and when you hook fish a single nymph setup won't foul hook anything and makes releasing fish much faster. Which makes everyone's fishing better.  

If you are facing bright sun, picky fish (it is summer time!), then try this last fly.  This is a VERY good pattern when the trout get selective. I like it because its not flashy, has a Tungsten Beadhead which is good for fast water, and of course because it works.  

Thanks so much for checking into our reports.  It might be a week before I can outline another plan for you guys but for now this should get you into some trout.  We appreciate your support and look forward to helping out in any way we can!


Joe and everyone at Red's
  1. Great little video of the life cycle of the stone fly.
  2. Joe, I am in the area the last week of August through the first week of Sept. Please can't act me regarding guide service. 602-882-4988 Thank you Duane