Yakima River - Mandatory Hoot Owl

August 15, 2015

WDFW went ahead and closed fishing from 2 pm - Midnight yesterday on the Blue Ribbon section of the Yakima River.  Starting today the Yakima River Canyon is closes at 2 pm.  It i a good move and we'll all enjoy much better fishing in both the long and short term. The water temperatures we are seeing are nearly unprecedented levels in the afternoon.  We absolutely support this decision and are glad to have a good team of educated pros at WDFW watching over this.  

Thanks for the support and we'll be altering our shop hours to accommodate morning fishing. We'll open at 6 am today and tomorrow, and will post our new "hoot owl shop hours" on the blog later this week.  

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

August 14, 2015

Select Yakima Basin tributaries to close to fishing for game fish due to drought

Actions: Partially or completely close current seasons for game fish in select areas to reduce drought-related injury and/or mortality.

Effective date: Immediately until further notice

Species affected: All game fish (trout, whitefish, etc.)

Locations for new restrictions or closures:

1) Yakima River from I-82 Bridge at Union Gap to the South Cle Elum Bridge: Closed 2 p.m. until midnight

2) Swauk Creek and all tributaries downstream of Williams Creek: Closed 2 p.m. until midnight

3) Williams Creek and all tributaries: Closed

4) Swauk Creek and all tributaries upstream of Williams Creek: Closed

5) American River: Closed

Previously announced restrictions and closures remain in effect on the following Yakima Basin tributaries:

1) Ahtanum Creek, including North and Middle Forks: Closed

2) Naches River from Tieton River to Bumping River/Little Naches River: Closed 2 p.m. until midnight

3) Rattlesnake Creek: Closed 2 p.m. until midnight

4) Little Naches River: Closed

5) Teanaway River, including West, Middle and North Forks: Closed

Reason for action: Afternoon water temperatures in Yakima Basin rivers and creeks are approaching the upper limit for survival of trout and salmon. Most of the above waters do not benefit from cold water releases from the Bureau of Reclamation storage reservoirs. These select waters receive significant summer fishing effort that will subject hooked fish to handling stress, injury or death directly related to elevated water temperature combined with record low instream flow conditions.

Information contacts: Eric Anderson, District 8 Fish Biologist, (509) 457-9301 (Yakima) or John Easterbrooks, Regional Fish Program Manager, (509) 457-9330.

  1. Not sure I agree! I ran up to the river yesterday to randomly shoot the temps of the river in a few places in the lower canyon at 2:00PM and again at 5:00PM. Highest reading I took was 62.8 at 5:00 at Big Pines. Far from any critical temp for trout. Kind of tough on us guys who have a day job that does not allow us to be out there at 6:00AM I wish that WDFW would figure out that things like Pelicans and nets do much more damage to their precious Salmon runs than we do! Maybe they are assuming that when the flop happens ( turn the water out of the reservoir's off ) the temps will rise, and they would be a head of the game and have people trained by then, but I think that would be giving them way too much credit!
  2. The Hoot Owl on the Yakima above the Rosa Dam, in the waters deemed Catch & Release is to help protect our NATIVE Trout. We cannot target Salmon or Steelhead above Rosa Dam. The Bureau of Land Management controls water flows, not WDFW. They done a very admirable job of monitoring the flow for #1, Agriculture this summer. I have all the respect in the world for outfitters and fly shops with guides like Red's who's annual revenue comes from guiding and other resources. The majority of fly shops have been fishing Hoot Owl for weeks before WDFW implemented the restriction a few days ago. In closing, I love Catch & Release fly fishing and consider the Yakima my home waters, even though I live on the west side. I'm not thinking about missing a few fishing days now, I'm thinking about our future days with plenty on healthy native trout. "Let's Catch & Release each wild trout as if it's the last trout on earth".