Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My First Day at Yakima

Yesterday, Feb 1st, my objectives were: first to drop by one of the fly shops in Ellensburg, Worley Bugger, for information of Yakima. Mostly about the public land access so I don't get accused or shot. Certain spots and effective flies were welcome to hear also. Second to shop some materials and to order a Regal vise (yes!! I think my tying skills seems qualified to own one!!) there. Third to fish some in the afternoon. And finally to drive back home along Yakima Canyon Road before it gets too dark.

Tim at the shop is a very passionate person about his and fellow anglers' enthusiasm for fly-fishing. I didn't know the history of Yakima River and he was the main act of converting the Yakima to a catch-&-release fishery. I'd like to see more people like him around here.

A bit after 12:00 I grabed a Snickers bar, then I headed to an access where Tim pointed me. Though he did tell me exactly good looking spots, hatches, flies, etc, Yakima is such a big river. So my attitude was to observe first. See if he I can find where he told me and how it looks to my eyes.
There are lots of information and situations in my head. Most of waters look very good for streamers (I tied on some), some deep runs and holes for nymphs (stonefly and mayfly nymphs, caddis and midge larva, and also eggs and worms), and some good looking riffles to swing soft-hackles for midge and baetis hatches for this time of the year. There might be some dryfly fishing for midges and baetis too.
Well I didn't see any surface actions. I fished down-stream with streamers and soft-hackles as observing my surroundings. I didn't get any actions at all. I though it was still OK since my objective for yesterday was to learn and observe and I had to get home before it got too dark for driving the Canyon. So I fished up-stream with nymphs, that I consider the best when walking up-stream, at some spots I passed.
Since Yakima holds Rainbow, Cutthroat, and whitefish, I had a great confidence in my tying and selection of nymphs. $3 Serendipity is a catching machine for rainbow and whitefish in Madison River. I like this slim yet dignifying looking tied on the straight shank hook.

But yesterday, I somehow tied on this curved hook version. Whichever, this fly represents broad imitations. Mayfly nymphs, caddis/midge larva, or maybe a little aquatic worm.

This is the spot that really interested me for nymphing. My experience with nymph fishing at Madison River was lingering in my head. I cast some near-side from the main current to me and then cast to far-side beyond the current. It was a deep run but not wide so when I aimed the far-side, I did a high-stick rather than mending.

My Thingamabobber sank at the first cast to the far-side and I set the hook at "!" above. I first felt "hey I have just saved my day with whitefish, not so bad, I can go home". But it didn't fight like whitefish, instead I started to see some golden flash as I retrieve the line........

It was a beautiful and handsome buck Westslope cutthroat!!, measuring 16-inch.

Look at him. He took my $3 Serendipity confidentially in his mouth.

My first catch at Yakima was this very beautiful Westslope Cutty. It meant a lot to me. I love the native Westslope in my area, especially when coming up to my dryflies. Though certainly not the biggegst in the river, I didn't expect to see this kind till summer in Naches area.

I fished some more up-stream and walked back to my truck. I drove along the Canyon and checked out some access along as I planned. It was a very fruitful day.

I was told there are 18" to 24" rainbow in Yakima that really pull out our lines but it's hard to hook and land. It sounds like a very big challenge worth making efforts. I have hooked and fought some 16" to 18" rainbow in Madison River. Though I have caught bigger brown but rainbow's running is one of a kind regardless of its size.

I will try to get to Yakima once a week in February and March. Then I hit the road to Livingston, MT in April. I am sure I must develop some skills and knowledge by fishing Yakima. I might even have some days to fish Yakima after my Livinsgton trip before the run-off and the irrigation starts.

Hopefully I can provide more fishing reports with great pictures here!!


  1. sawwwwweet looking fish, sounds like a great hunt!!

  2. Only one beauty was enough for me on that day. I'll keep fishing at Yakima for much bigger individuals.