The Sun’s out! Time to hit the water!
The Kittitas Valley is starting to experience some REAL spring weather this week. The air temperatures the last couple days have been in the mid-40s, and water temperatures have been hovering around the 40°F mark. The forecast is calling for warm weather late into next week. Whether you’ve been avoiding the river this winter because you don’t want to fight frozen reels and toes, or you’ve spent all your time breaking ice out of your guides and donning heavy mitts, it’s high time you get on the water and thaw out!
‘stones and salmonflies
We continue to see Skwala Stoneflies crawling around the bottom of the river and by flipping over rocks along the bank. Fish have been eating Pat’s Stones (#8-12) in coffee and olive. We’re seeing a few Salmonfly nymphs as well, so having dark black and black/orange Pat’s in similar sizes is a good idea. Play around with different colors and sizes throughout the day to find what the fish are really keying in on. It’s all about finding what the “Lunch Special” is for the day.
There a variety of mayflies in the river right now. Hare’s Ears (#12-16) can be fished both weighted and unweighted in brown, tan, olive and black. These can be fished behind a stonefly nymph and close to the bottom of the river. Pheasant Tails in similar sizes can also work well.
To get an idea of what the mayflies look like in a particular stretch of water, flip over a couple of rocks to try and find some. This has worked out for our guides in the past when the fishing has slowed down. Try matching your flies as closely to the real insect as you can and fish them with confidence. The fish know what’s going on below the surface, and sometimes a simple switch to a larger fly or slight variation in color can make a world of difference in the productivity of your fishing.
San Juan Worms (#8-14) in pink and purple have also been putting a few fish in the net. As the weather warms up and the water levels begin to rise, worms will become flushed into the river and the fish will focus on this easy food source. We’ve been finding a lot of worms 1-2” in length along the banks and under rocks. Other colors to try are orange, red and brown, as it is also common to see worms in these shades this time of year.
Fish worms behind a stonefly pattern. You’ll be able to cover most of your food sources that way. These flies should be fished deep along structure and in slow currents. Don’t be surprised if you hook a few whitefish, especially in the deep sections of pools and in tailouts.