Yakima River Rundown
Location: Lower River
Weather: Highs in the 80s, cool nighttime temperatures in the 50s and 60s.
River Conditions: ~2900 cfs @ Umtanum, 4-5 foot visibility, water temps in low to mid 60s. Find current river flows HERE.
Hot Flies: Wybie Hares Ear (#14-16), Coffee Pats Stone (#6-8), Peach Chubby Chernobyl (#6-10), Gold Lightning Bug (#14-16), Purple Chubby Chernobyl (#6-10), BWO Nymphs (#14-18)
Bug Scene: Fall bugs on the menu
We are starting to experience some fall temperatures, with nighttime temps dropping into the 50s. The Blue Wing Olives (BWOs) are starting to pop off and fish are keying in on them. October Caddis are also starting to get ready to hatch in the coming weeks and fish are starting to eat nymphs. There are still a few Hoppers and Summer Stones out and fish are still eating large flies on the surface. If you’re a streamer junkie, now’s the time to start tying your Sculpin patterns for late fall and winter.
Fishing Forecast: Fish close to the bank, go deep when you need to
We are still starting our early mornings fishing Dry-Dropper rigs. Fish have been rising to a Purple or Orange Chubby Chernobyl (#6-10) fished close to the bank, in seams and around structure in the Rock Gardens. Some takes on the dry aren’t super serious, with fish only mouthing the fly or slightly pulling on the legs. It’s key to be quick on the hook-set right now.
Dropping a nymph 3-4 feet off of the back of the dry will keep your fly in the zone right now without getting stuck on the bottom. Effective patterns include the Wybie Hare’s Ear (#14-16), Coffe Pat’s Stone (#8-12), Gold Lightning Bug (#14-18) and BWOs (#14-18). Put your flies within 5 feet of the bank along the grass and near structure. While there are some fish sitting in shallower water over gravel bars, focus most of your time along deeper banks and drop-offs.
If you just don’t seem to be getting to depth with the dropper rig and fish quit rising to the dry, it’s probably time to switch to the nymph rig. Dropping a weight 3-4 feet below an indicator will get you down to depth. Tie on a Coffee or Orange Pat’s Stonefly (#8-12) and follow it with a Gold Lightning Bug (#14-18) or some sort of BWO nymph (#14-18). Fish along drop-offs and in deeper runs. You can also fish heavy water in the middle of the river as fish are starting to pool up as the flows drop. We are getting to a great time of year where fish begin to put on weight for the cool months ahead.
Yakima River Clean-Up
It’s time to give back to the river we love so much. After a summer of fishing and recreational floating, the Yakima is in need of our help! Sunscreen tubes, tackle, beer cans, rubber rafts and various pieces of trash washes up on the banks of the river and bobs around in its back eddies. Ellensburg Angler, along with the Yakima Fly Fishers Association and the Ellensburg KOA, will be hosting a Yakima River Clean-Up on Saturday, September 21st. Paperwork and registration starts at 8 a.m. at the Ellensburg KOA before splitting into groups and picking up trash in various places along the river. After the clean-up, everyone will return to the KOA for a hotdog feed and raffle benefitting the Yakima Fly Fishers Association. This is a great time to meet new people, reconnect with old friends and give back to a fishery we all love so much.