The Yakima River has been fishing okay this past week, with cold water temps making the fish a bit sluggish. Air temperatures in Ellensburg this morning were in the single digits. It looks like we may experience some snow midweek, and have some days close to 40°F on Thursday and Friday. So if you're planning on fishing the river, the weekend looks like it may be a good bet! There may be some snow showers Saturday night, so pack accordingly. Gloves, extra socks and hand warmers are all important items to add to your gear list this time of year. Also note that the river is low right now. If you are floating, watch out for obstacles and gravel bars. Some of the launches are also a bit icy so be careful launching and loading your boat.
The Weekend’s Top Performers
The Skwala Stoneflies continue to be active below the surface. Trout and whitefish have been eating Pat's Stones (#8-12) in coffee and olive bounced close to the bottom. Look for structure to put your flies around and transitions between shallow and deep water. Slow currents that butt up against fast currents are likely spots for fish to be holding as well. An emphasis should be placed on DEEP. Adding shot to your nymph rig will help you get the depth you need right now.
Fishing a San Juan Worm or Squirmie Wormy (#6-12) in pink or red behind a Pat's has also been picking up both trout and whitefish. Play around with material and color combinations to find what worms they like best for the day. Other patterns to fish as a trailing fly include Pheasant Tails (#12-18) and Hare's Ears (#12-18) to mimic the mayflies that are present right now.
Fish were also rising to midges in some slow tailouts. If you can find fish that are steadily eating on top, try fishing a Parachute Adam’s (#16-22) in black or white. If you can’t get an eat on a dead drift, try swinging soft-hackle flies to try to pick up a fish eating emergers. Focus on swinging dark colors that imitate the natural. If you need a size reference, look at the snow on the bank of the river for little black specks: those are adults!
Some things to consider
Be aware that if you are fishing right now, you'll probably be knocking ice out of your guides. Make it a routine to clean them out every few casts to avoid getting frustrated and if a big fish takes you for a run - you don't want the ice to keep from giving it line!
Fish will become more active in the afternoons when the water temps get higher. No need to be on the water at first light!
Other Happenings This Weekend
While some of us were on the river, Todd and Sarah made their way to the Orvis store in Bellevue to give seminars on spring fishing the Yakima River and Rocky Ford Creek. We had a great turnout and appreciate everyone for stopping by to listen and for our friends at Orvis for hosting us.
Please note that we will be offering Walk-and-Wade classes for the Yakima starting this month and have extended our Rocky Ford Creek classes into April. For more information and to book a trip, check out our calendar for available dates.