It's starting to feel like fall here in central Washington state, with cooler weather, wind, and even a little bit of rain this morning. Although the seasons are definitely changing, we are still seeing some fantastic fishing on the Yakima River.
The river is still dropping, but we are very close to typical fall flows, making for some great wade fishing opportunity. Bug-wise, we are still seeing plenty of short-wing stoneflies, as well as craneflies and a few October caddis and BWO. Look for the October caddis to come on strong here in the next few weeks, making for some great late-season big-bug fishing. Our guides have been having success fishing big dries and dry-dropper rigs, consisting of a Chubby Chernobyl in pink, purple, or tan and either a Pat's stone, YB Hare's Ear or Jigged PT dropped off the back. Nymphing with a Pat's stone trailed by a smaller BWO imitation like a wd-40 or Psycho May in #16-18 has been producitve as well. For anglers looking to chuck streamers, this is the time of year we see the fish really start to key in on sculpin imitations in natural colors like olive, brown and black. Swinging streamers from the bank or strip-retrieving from the boat are both productive methods to put fish in the net.
One last thing to keep in mind this time of year is to fish where the fish are. Although we've seen lower flows for almost two weeks now, there are still a lot of anglers fishing the banks like it's the middle of July! As the water levels drop, the fish will pull away from the banks and find holding water mid-river using structure such as large boulders, or drop-offs to provide cover and feeding oppportunity. Focusing on fishing the color changes is a great way to target productive water and keep yourself into fish during this early fall time frame. Have fun out there!