straight outta winter (and into spring)
In the last two weeks we’ve gone from breaking ice out of our rod guides to applying copious amounts of sunscreen to our sunburned necks. The Kittitas Valley has transitioned from winter to spring in a very short amount of time. The Yakima River is responding accordingly with less-than-favorable conditions for fishing. The system below the Teanaway River is dirty and high, and the Upper River around Cle Elum is receiving a lot of angling pressure. Despite the amount of anglers and ever-changing flows, we’ve been experiencing our first dry fly fishing opportunities of the year. Skwala Stoneflies and Blue Wing Olives have been making quite the appearance this last week in the Upper River. Once the river stabilizes, we should be rolling right along into some great spring fishing!
A skwala hatch Update
The Skwala Stonefly hatch seems to be starting high in the system and working its way down this year. We’ve been seeing a lot of Skwalas beginning to hatch around 1 p.m. and continuing until dark. Fish seem to start feeding on the surface about an hour into the hatch on inside corners where water is slow, as well as in back-eddies and slow foam lines where insects get trapped. If you watch a likely holding area long enough, you should be able to see a fish rise in a rhythm. Bullethead Skwala Patterns (#8-12) in Dark Brown have received some attention. As the hatch progresses, fish will focus more on the insects and feed off the surface more readily in different water types.
what to nymph when there’s no surface activity
When fish aren’t keying in on the surface, we’ve had some success nymphing Pat’s Stoneflies (#8-12) in Coffee and Green/Black. We’ve also put a few fish in the net with Squirmie Wormies (#8-12) in Red and Pink, Hare’s Ears (#12-16), Pheasant Tails (#12-16) and a variety of BWO nymphs/emergers (#16-20).
Fish eating subsurface are holding in deep water in the tailouts of pools. Focus on slow water and thoroughly cover runs that look “fishy.” There’s a bunch of vegetation being flushed down the river, so be aware you will have to clean your hooks every few casts to get it off your line.
WHat about water conditions?
Well, we wish we knew exactly what to expect in the next couple weeks. We hope to see better fishing conditions midweek with a drop in temperatures and less runoff. Predictions from the Northwest River Forecast Center and NOOA ARE NOT AWLAYS ACCURATE but can give you an idea of what to expect on the river. Current river flows are also available at the United States Bureau of Reclamation site. Upriver of the Teanaway River confluence is the only fishable water in the system right now. If you are looking for more options to fish, many of the lakes in the Columbia Basin are starting to thaw out and warm up. Rocky Ford Creek is always an option, but large crowds are also making an appearance out there with this nice weather. Wherever you end up fishing, make sure to stay safe and enjoy this spring weather outdoors!