Yakima River Winter Fishing Report

Its the late-season on the Yakima, and those anglers who are willing to dress warm and adjust their tactics are finding plenty of fish and solitude.

Nymphing has been producing fish in good numbers with a #8-10 rubberlegs trailed by a firebead PT or Hare's Ear in #16-18 under a Thingamabobber. The fish are definitely in the slower, deeper pools, so focus on the stuff that is slower than walking speed, with 4-6' of depth. Fishing in the middle of the day is going to be best, with the colder temps keeping the fish fairly inactive early and late.

Streamer fishing has also been productive, although the fish are not moving for a retrieved fly like they were a few weeks ago. Smaller patterns on a slow-strip or swing should get some love, with more natural colors like brown, olive and black. The Sculpzilla is a guide favorite, and fishes well both on a streamertip from the boat, as well as on the swing.

The crowds are gone, and the fishing is still going strong on the Yakima River. Although you may not see big numbers of fish this time of year, we generally see some of our biggest fish caught during the winter months. A pretty good tradeoff in our opinion!


Weekend Outlook: November 9th-11th (and the 12th)

The weather looks like it will hold and provide a great opportunity to get on the water and experience some November fishing. It'll be cold, though, so pack some extra layers!

The Yakima is on a drop right now and should stabilize over the next few days. If you are experiencing off-color water, try fishing a bright colored flies. For nymphs, try fishing a Pat's Stonefly (#8-12) in coffee, black, brown, or orange/black. Try trailing the Pat's with a hot bead nymph (#14-20) like a pheasant tail or hare's ear. If the river begins to clear, try fishing lightning bugs or bwo-style patterns.

Watch for dries to be coming off still in warmer periods of the day. Some mayflies can still be found with fish casually sipping them off the surface. Parachute patterns (#14-20) immitating bwos and mahoganies work well to fool these late season fish.

Throwing flashy streamers with a large profile will help fish to distinguish your fly against a dirty background and debris in the water. Sparkle Minnows (#8) in olive or white can work well stripping in or swinging from the bank. Also consider trying Sculpzillas in black, white, or "natural" (olive/black) and fishing them the same way.

Rocky Ford Spring Creek is also starting to fish well, so don't be afraid to make a trip to the desert this weekend. There is an abundance of fish in the creek right now that are happily snacking on scuds (#14-18) in orange and olive. These can be sight fished or drifted under an indicator. For those interested in tossing streamers, trying fishing a Sparkle Minnow (#8) in olive/white to trigger some very aggressive and heart-stopping takes.

There's good fishing to be had right now. Make the most of your extended weekend and take a trip to your favorite body of water. Cast a line, take some pictures and enjoy some sunshine before we lose it during the winter.


Transitioning Into Winter

The Yakima saw a bump in flows last weekend due to the weather we received last week. Visibility was low and there was a lot of debris in the water. The river looks to be on the drop now, so we should see our regular flows again by the weekend, weather permitting.

If you're interested in getting out and trying your hand at another fishery, check out Rocky Ford Spring Creek. Located just outside of Ephrata off of State Route 17, Rocky Ford has consistent flows and clairty all winter. When other bodies of water are blown out or dirty, "The Ford" is the place to be. You have opportunities casting at rainbow trout up to 10 pounds, with fish over 20 inches not uncommon. Even if you don't hook into one of these fish, you will be able to see them in the crystal clear water.

Some of our guide staff ventured out to Rocky Ford this past weekend to check out the fishing. The guides had consistent success on parachute Bluewing Olive (#18-20) patterns on the surface. Watch for hatches to stir up as the temperatures rise throughout the day. Fish were also happy to take a dead-drifted Orange Scud (#14-18) under an indicator. Scuds are a main food source for the trout at Rocky Ford, so take a box full of them. Play around with different colors and sizes to find out what they like on the specfifc day you're there.

If you enjoy chucking streamers, a White/Olive Sparkle Minnow (#8-10) can produce some massive takes and some insane chases. Since the water is so clear, you can often watch the fish chase and inhale your fly.

There is still some considerable weed growth in the creek right now. This makes fighting fish tough when they run for cover. Don't be afraid to really put a bend in your rod and put pressure on that fish to steer them around. As we get more nights below freezing, the weeds should start to die off and open up the creek a bit more.

Ellensburg Angler is starting their Rocky Ford Winter Special on November 15th. For $179.00 per person, you will receive six hours on the creek with one of our guides. We will provide you with any gear or tackle that you might need, as well as a hot meal. The special is a great way to get familiar with Rocky Ford if you're interested in learning about this unique fishery.

Watch the flows and the weather on the Yakima if your're looking to fish it this week. There are still some walk and wade opportunities, with more opening up as the river drops again. Try fishing brighter flies in the dirtier water so that they stick out more to the fish. And don't forget those streamers!

Tight Lines