We just had our best weekend of weather all year. Air temperatures in the Kittitas Valley got into the 50s and we got a little sunburned on the water! For the first time we were able to strip out of our down jackets and ditch our gloves at the truck. The river is starting to take a bump in flows due to runoff, so we may see some unfavorable water conditions lower in the system for the next week or so. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the blog and through our various social media platforms as we see those changes.
Fish are starting to eat on top… but not steadily
We are starting to see some Skwala Stonefly adults in the Lower Canyon. The hatch seems to have been reversed this year, with the hatch starting in the Upper River and working its way down. There are some fish eating these bugs low in the system, and the bite should really pick up in the next week or so. Look for warm days with air temperatures in the 50s and water temps in the mid-to-upper 40s for the bugs to get active. Fishing later in the day and letting things warm up can help you focus on fishing the hatch. Keep an eye out for fishing eating midges on top, as well as smaller mayflies.
Your best bet is nymphing deep
With the river starting to rise due to runoff, we’ve been having our best success nymphing deep in slow water. Fish are targeting certain water types, mainly where there’s structure from broken water and on the edges of fast currents. It’s been hard to find exactly what fish are keying in on with a changing system. A few fish have been falling for the Pat’s Stonefly (#8-12) in coffee and orange/black. We have been playing around with fishing a variety of soft-hackle and bead-head Pheasant Tails and Hares Ears (#12-16) behind the stonefly and picking up some fish. Pink San Juan and Squirmie Worms have also been working well in the dirty water. They stand out well in the column and fish can key in on the movement.
Fishing one or two shot on the line can help get your flies deep and in “the zone” faster and stay there longer. A larger indicator will help keep your flies from getting stuck on the bottom and float this heavy rig. Focus on covering likely looking water several times and pick apart spots where you’ve hooked fish. Drop-offs and ledges have also been great areas to find fish staging up to intercept Skwalas as they work their way to the banks to hatch.
Watch the gauges and our site for runoff updates
As the temperatures begin to rise, the river will start to “blow-out” as it does every year. Wilson Creek is putting a lot of brown water in the system for the Lower Canyon right now. The Farmlands section has a bit of color but is still fishable. The river upstream of Thorp looks awesome, but the launches are not accessible yet due to snow at Bristol, Green Bridge and Diversion (unless you want to drag your boat a long ways!). We will keep you updated on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts during this time, as well as on the blog. We get our river information from the Northwest River Forecast Center and NOOA and suggest these graphs for people interested in hitting the river any time soon.