There are some great options for winter fishing here in Central Washington. The Yakima has dropped back into great shape, and is fishing well from the boat or the bank. Rocky Ford is also a solid fishery this time of year, and will be fishable any day of the year, regardless of air temperature or weather conditions.
The Yak is back in shape and kicking out some nice fish both on nymph rigs as well as streamers. It's cold out there so fishing between noon and 4pm will give you the best shot at the warmest part of the day when the fish tend to feed the heaviest. Nymphing a Pat's Stone trailed by a San Juan worm, Brassie or WD-40 is a sgood bet this time of year. This is the time of year our guides start using yarn indicators on their nymph rigs versus the standard 3/4" Thingamabobber. Yarn is much more sensitive, and will help detect those light takes on small bugs in cold water! Streamer fishing is a good way to target big fish, and there are fish taking flies swung down and across as well as on a strip-retrieve from the boat. Some guide favorite patterns have been Sculpzillas, Dali Llamas, Hot-Bead Buggers, Moto Minnows and Sheila Sculpins. Olive, black, white and tan all have been good color choices lately, you just have to experiment until you find what the fish want.
A few of our guides checked out "The Ford" this week, and found some nice fish on a variety of tactics. Fishing scuds, damselfly nymphs and midge pupa under an indicator is always a good way to pick up a few fish this time of year, as are stripping streamers in the flatter water. These fish love to chase streamers, but getting them to commit can be tough, so don't be afraid to change up the speed of your retrieve until you find what they're liking. Buggers, Dali Llamas and bunny leeches in olive white, black and tan are all producers at Rocky Ford. There were some sporadic dry-fly eaters around and a few were hooked, the reports were the fish were eating either small midge or BWO emergers in the surface film and were VERY picky. This can be a good place to get your winter dry-fly fix, but be prepared to fish small flies and light tippet (#18-24, 6x, 7x) to catch fish on top this time of year.