spring weather in the ‘burg
We must be in spring here in Ellensburg with the rain and wind we’ve been experiencing lately. The river is staying fairly stable and the fishing is good. We’re now seeing multiple species of insects hatching during the day throughout the system. Skwala Stoneflies are prominent, as well as March Browns, Blue Wing Olives and a few caddis. The river is fishing well and you should get out while you can!
Our standard nymph setup of a Coffee Pat’s (#8-12) trailed by a Pink San Juan or Squirmie Worm (#8-10) has been working well. Sometimes fishing two worm patterns can be productive when the river is off-color and immediately following a bump in flows.
BWOs, March Browns and caddis are starting to make an appearance. Fishing caddis patterns like a Waltz Worm (#14-18) in olive can work as a good trailer. Small BWO nymphs have also been producing before the hatch occurs and just as it's starting. March Brown patterns like Pheasant Tails (#12-16) and Hares Ears (#12-16) are also great patterns to fish prior to the hatch.
Fish seem to be holding in slow water and in current seams.
Staying in good runs and fishing them thoroughly will be more productive right now than covering a lot of water.
If you're looking for a dry fly bite, fish are still feeding on Skwalas. Bullethead patterns (#6-10) and Chubby Chernobyls (#6-10) in olive and brown are working well in soft water and around submerged structure along the bank. Now that we're a couple of weeks into the hatch, low-profile patterns will become more important for casting to picky fish.
BWOs are beginning to show up in force late in the morning and lasting into the afternoon. You can see occasional risers spread out throughout the day, but the most active fish seem to be holding in pods of five or six fish. Trout are feeding in foam lines tight to the bank and behind structure, making casting difficult at times. Parachute Adam's (#16-22) and Hackle Adam's (#18-22) in olive are great patterns to fish during this hatch. Trout wont feed on BWOs very long, so make sure to really focus your attention on the hatch when it occurs.
Our local lakes have been a great change of pace for our guides to target some trout and warm water species like bass and perch. These hatchery trout love to eat Woolly Buggers (#10-14) in olive and black stripped in on a sinking poly leader. Fish near weed beds and dropoffs.
Fishing with an indicator can also be productive. Chironomids (#12-18) in red, black and olive 5-8 feet below the indicator has served us well on the bank and out of the boat. Squirmitos (#14-16) in red and pink are also fun to fish. Don't be surprised to catch other species like sunfish, perch and bass while fishing these lakes. They're just as fun!
The river looks to be holding fairly stable right now. We've had a lot of rain in Ellensburg this week, but it doesnt seem to have blown the river out. We're seeing water temps in the upper-40s before noon, so things are looking up for our dry fly fishing - literally! The wind we’ve experienced early this week looks to be dying down a little bit this weekend. Make sure to pack a rain jacket to help cut the wind and keep you dry during a sudden shower on the water.
Here's a link to the water flow chart that we use by the Northwest River Forecast Center and NOAA. We will continue to share water updates on our various social media platforms.