I am in full swing now, anglers. Guide season is getting good. The river is fishing right as she should be for the spring. The weather is funky, the bugs are here, the flows are good, and the fish are eating. Some days are slow, and some days, the weather rocks us, but there are fish to be chased.
I’ve done a dozen guide days and fished another 20 or so since February. It was a slow start, and it’s still creeping in, but it’s as good as any spring could get.
This season is a push. I want to fill my calendar and get my business moving forward to more and new things. So, I am aggressive for those trips. A busy guide is 15 to 20 trips a month, and that’s what we are scheduled up for moving forward. April is almost there, May won’t be far behind with the prospect of good caddis and salmon flies this season. I’ll be gone for most of June. July and August are already starting to fill!
It’s really good to be back. I love my work. I live this life through and through. I eat, pay bills, and live off of guiding and fly fishing. And I want more. More species, different boats, bigger rods, different states, and new water, and I want to be challenged. Both as an angler and as a guide. I yearn for the challenge. The puzzle to solve with fly and rod, currents and water, food sources, and light angles, weather, and water conditions. Give me the challenge, and I will meet it. Learn it and get in tune with it. Find its rhythm.
The Yakima and I are tight. I know this water real good. I’ve been bouncing all over the place fishing it. Getting back in tune with her. Finding that vibe and riding it. I’ve come back into guiding after the offseason like I didn’t really leave. And that’s how I’ve always wanted guiding the Yakima to be. Like we are just getting back to kicking it together. I put a lot of time into learning this river and how to be a good guide. It pays off these days in ways I find surprising but always appreciate. This river will humble you, but oh, will it reward you when you put in the right energy.
It’s good to be back anglers. Really good. I’m back to myself and what I do best. I invite you to come out and fish the Yakima with me this season. I’ve been at it a while, and it’s always a good time in my boat. You will learn some things, get pretty good at fly fishing with me, and you’ll meet some amazing wild fish that live in a gorgeous place.
I’ve got March 30th open and dates in April and May.
Well, anglers, it’s freaking MARCH! Wooo. Here we f’ing go!
I’m stoked! March is almost full, and April is about half with May dates until the 20th wide open! The season is shaping up really nicely with over 80 days already booked out of 150-175 trips I’m taking this season! Thank you to all my clients!
Now, let’s get into what to look forward to. It’s gonna be a slow start. Overnight lows stay below freezing for another 10 days. Daytime highs hit 40 ish. As we get into the 10th thru the 15th, things should switch over to more springtime weather. Really, it’s all about those overnight lows staying right at freezing or above. This gets things going for troots.
Skwallas, BWOs, and March Browns are the bugs of choice for the next 6 to 8 weeks. With high potential for all three to overlap! May will give us caddis and that evening feed I love so much!
With dates getting grabbed up fast and early, I am already having to turn trips away. To help give more options for anglers, I’m also doing a second Spring Educational Clinic on April 23rd. I’ve got 9 of the 10 spots open for April. It’s $175 per angler, which is a great deal for instruction and 4 to 5 hrs on the water. My March Clinic filled up in a matter of days and had overflow. I’ll be partnering with Kristen and Streamside Coven Co. on this clinic as well, so come out to learn from two of the best guides on the Yak.
I’ll be gone May 25th through June 25th on a networking and fishing adventure in Michigan for the 2024 season. I’ll be back to guiding the Yak for July, so book your summer dates early.
Once October rolls through, I’ll be heading south to Florida with a new boat and chasing and learning the saltwater until the following spring. Things are moving and shaking, and I am expanding my business. The 2023 trout season on the Yak is a huge jumping off point for me, so the stroke and anticipation are rather high!
March has the 5th through the 10th open. The 13th and 14th, 21st, and 22nd and the 29th open. That’s it for March. Grab em while you can.
April has more with the 4th through the 7th, 10th through the 14th, 16th through the 21st. 24th, 26th, 27th, and 30th all open.
May has 1st through 4th. 6th through 11th and the 13th through the 20th open. CADDIS ANGLERS!
Our extended forecast and flow predictions look perfect for the spring, and I anticipate some superb fishing with a large chunk of our fish population being adult size that 15 plus inch good stuff for fish. Let’s go.
Reserve today. Grab a spot on the clinic on April 23rd. Half days, walk and wades, and full days are all options for anglers! Give me a holler, and let’s chase some trout together in 2023 anglers!
I’ve had a thing about nets for a while as an angler. As a guide, it’s my most important tool. It’s what I introduce anglers to fish with. As an angler, my net is the 2nd most important piece of gear I own after a fly rod.
Nets aren’t expensive. As long as it’s got a rubber net it’ll do just fine. A fancy net is not required but any net should be. I see too many anglers without a net riverside. This is a problem.
When you don’t have a net, it tells me one of two things. One: that you don’t expect to catch fish. Which is a whole other blog post about confidence. Two: it means you catch fish but have no proper or respectful way to land them. Unless you are keeping your catch a net should always be how a fish is landed. Dragging catch and release trout onto the bank is bad. Period. There is no argument to be had. If you aren’t using a net and you’re dragging fish onto the bank to land them, you are doing it wrong.
There isn’t any real excuse not to have a net. Every fly shop, Cabelas, or mom and pop outdoor store has fishing nets for sale. Many under 30 dollars, which compared to what most anglers spend on gear, is nothing. Even the shwanky fly shops got wicked nice nets for under 50 bucks. So buy a net if you plan on fishing.
Dragging fish up on the bank means a few things. It means you aren’t playing the fish strategically, meaning working the trout to the point where netting is possible. This means the trout is getting overly stressed. Playing trout up into the bank causes unnecessary stress in a few ways. The fish can be battered and bruised while fighting along the shallows and rocks, they have a higher chance of rolling and getting tangled in the line or dropper or trailer flies. It also means that an angler is unable to get the fish close enough to them that they can’t net it which means either the fish is too big for you’re set up and you need to up your rod weight, or you don’t deserve that fish yet. Part of fly fishing is playing the fish to net. Fly rods are harder to land fish on and are designed for that purpose and process. Underweighting your rod looks cool in bent photos and makes fish feel bigger, but it’s not good for the fish.
Trout should be landed in less than 10 minutes. 2 to 5 minutes is the average for most fish. After 10 to 12 minutes of fighting an angler in any water conditions, trout mortality jumps to 30%. This means that within the next 12 to 24 hrs, that trout has a 30% chance of kicking the bucket unable to recover from its encounter with an angler. Add any other negative variable for the trout in that situation, and that percentage increases. Warm water temps, a higher percentage of dying after 10 minutes, heavy heavy current, same, dragging them up onto the bank and not using a net…same.
This is why I teach anglers to use proper weighted rods, play fish offensively not defensively, and use a net and play fish to the net. It takes practice and is an integral part of fly fishing and how it is different from other methods. It is a craft and skill to net fish. Just like a cast, a presentation, or playing a fish. Netting is a skill you need to master to be considered a good fly angler.
I’m not trying to shame or call anyone out. This is education with a little frustration. I’ve seen a lot of changes in this industry over almost 2 decades. There are a lot of new anglers with no nets. I used to keep a half dozen cheap hand nets just to pass out to anglers that I saw riverside without one. Buy a net.
Fly shops should also be selling you a net. If you buy a fly rod and still don’t have a net you need one. They are an easy upsell for fly shops, they don’t have to be expensive, and it is part of your tool kit for fly fishing. If your local fly shop doesn’t carry nets ask them too. If they are those fancy wood handled 200 dollar nets, go to the fishing gear store and buy a cheap frabill rubber net for 22 bucks. Learn to use it.
Netting requires you to counter and play fish by closing the gap. Not chasing a fish all over the place. Learning to move a fish into position depending on where in the water it’s hooked, learning to anticipate fish movements and how they react to the play of the encounter, the current a trout has to come through, the power of the rod, and an anglers physical ability all come into play. As I said, netting fish is a craft and a skill that is lost somewhere between casts and fly selections.
Learning to net fish solo is harder than in tandem. It takes practice and lots of failed encounters with fish as you learn to play them through trial and error. That’s experience. With a partner, you’re able to play the fish to the net with help, and the landing rate increases. But all of the skills can still be honed and perfected as you develop your fly angling abilities.
Fly fishing isn’t quick and easy. It has many layers with lots of steep learning curves. There are no real shortcuts. Guides help teach and get you leveled up faster. Good ones do. But nothing will beat personal experience and time on the water.
After learning the basic cast, fly fishing only opens up with more things to learn. From mending to setting the hook, to landing, to handling the fish. There is a lot. Netting trout is no different.
Wading clinics, trips, and even float trips always give guides the opportunity to teach playing and landing fish to net. Don’t hesitate to ask how to get better at it. It’s a struggle to get fish to net even for me some days. We still miss fish due to netting mistakes on my part as a guide. It happens. After a while, it happens less and less, but it still happens. Eventually, you land 80% of your hooked into fish, and that’s about as good as it gets.
If you’re an angler that finds themselves not getting fish to net while encountering a good number of them…it tells you that your skills at playing trout need fine tuning. Maybe the rod is too small. Maybe you’re playing them too offensively, maybe not enough. Starting to break down each encounter with a lost fish and finding the moment the fish got the advantage is how you learn to get better. It’s unique to each fish encounter, but eventually, you’ll start to see patterns in how they fight. How they move, what tension at what angle in that current gets the fish to behave this way. Then you can predict the trout, read the water for playing and landing the fish, and move the fish through the river with a purpose and goal instead of just hanging on and hoping they tire out. A tired fish is a fish that needs more time to recover, and that is done in a net. Not while tailing them on the bank. They need to be properly handled even after a 2 to 5 minute encounter so they have a higher survival rate. Otherwise, what’s the point of releasing them? The ability to do this for the trout is only through the use of a net.
There are lots of nets. I wade with my boat net. Yes, my net is a 200-plus dollar net. It’s lasted me over 5 seasons of heavy use. It is over 4ft long, which gives me a huge reach and advantage when netting fish on foot or in the boat. It has a wide custom-made basket to scoop and net fish easier and quicker. And it looks nice because I like nice things for my troots and to show off fish to clients. Nets come in all shapes and sizes. I recommend a longer handled net or one that extends. Doesn’t have to be expensive, rubber net. That’s all.
So there’s my blog on nets before we get going. I want to see anglers with nets and no more photos of fish on the bank. Quit it. Get good at using a net or pay to be taught how to use one better. We take lessons for rowing, casting, tying, and netting fish is part of the skill set of a fly angler. So give it the necessary attention. I have become rather good at this skill. It was through a lot of trial and error and just days on the water missing fish. It’s part of the process of getting good at this gig. Learning and getting better at netting and landing fish is an advanced skillset, so be stoked to have made it there. You’re finding fish, now let’s get them to net like a fly angler!
I hope this helps persuade anglers to use a net. Don’t take offense if you haven’t used a net in the past. We are always learning and improving in fly fishing. There are lots of ways to play and land fish. I have developed my way over the years with inspiration and education from others.
A lot of thought goes into playing and landing fish as a guide when working with clients. It’s an advanced skill for a guide, too. We have to get really good at it, or we suck at our job in a way. I’ve landed thousands of fish over the years. I can tell you that it does get easier with practice. There is a point when setting the hook, playing the fish, reading the water through the encounter, and finding success and high landing rates clicks into place for an angler. Time, patience, missed fish, learning through trout encounters, and maybe a lesson or guide trip that teaches you some things about netting fish will pay out in the end.
I’ll be hosting another Spring Educational Fly Fishing Clinic on April 23rd with Streamside Coven Co.
Our March Clinic filled up quickly and had overflow, so get on this date fast. These clinics are a great way to learn from 2 experienced education focused guides who fish and guide more than any other!
We go over everything from water reading, casting, bugs, wading, netting, playing fish, nymphing, streamers, dries you name it we cover it for spring fishing for trout.
It’s $175 per angler. We can supply waders and boots and rods for an additional $65.
We have 10 spots open for April 23rd. Sign up today!
It’s here. While the weather doesn’t seem super trouty at the moment, we are into March, and that’s the start of the season.
It’s snowing. We are at about 100% snowpack. Which is pretty normal for starting March. With at least this storm, and probably one more before April gets here. Which means we have water for the summer.
I’m looking at the next few days of weather, and it looks like Thursday this week it starts to warm up a bit and stop snowing. By Tuesday the following week, March 7th, we are in business. Next week, we have overnight lows staying above freezing for the most part and daytime highs above 40. That’s trout fishing weather for the spring.
Skwallas are 10 days out. Maybe less. But I anticipate that by mid next week, we start to see skwallas. Fish will be ready to feed after this wicked cold snap the past week. It’s a slow start to the season, but the days are here, and you don’t wanna miss them.
The next few weekends are going to be busy. Snag a week day and get more places to yourself to fish. That being said, we’ve only got a few days left open in March, and I’d like to get a few of them filled. Spring fishing is some of the best. Also, there is more opportunity at those trophy sized trout before high water comes in.
March 5th thru 10th is open. Right as things start to turn on. Could be that first banger skwalla fishing starting that week. March 13th and 14th, 29th, and 30th are all that’s open for March. Get em while you can.
It’s here, anglers! It’s finally here. We all know the procedure. Let’s get this 2023 season started. I haven’t guided since October. Only touched a dozen ornso fosh during the off-season. I’m hungry for chasing trout. Let’s F’ing go anglers!!
Fuck that groundhog. Little varmint was right. I hate the cold and the snow. Winter has a bitter grasp on the river, and it’s been a slow slushy grind to the winter breaking.
Fishing hasn’t changed since December really, and I always say that February is a crapshoot, and this one was on par. A few okay days but mostly cold and slow.
We are having a more normal year. We’ve got nominal snow packs, and temps are just below average, which is a good thing. We have average precipitation, and in all honesty, the river is about where she should be for late February. With the ice flowing down river again the past few days, the water temps will be hovering just above freezing and will take some time and rather warm days to come back up. Tis, why I’ve been pushing March and April, especially hard. Once it starts anglers…its gonna be real silly out there.
Skwallas will really start moving as we enter the 2nd week of March. As the conditions peak for the ‘hatch’ and the fish keying in on them really ramp up. It’s gonna be cold leading up to those 45 plus degree days, sunshine, and overnight lows, staying above 32 degrees. Once they show up and we get 3 to 5 of them in a row,… that’s when shit gets silly. It’ll be like a light switch turned on, and it will happen quickly. I’m guessing the 2nd week of March is when it turns.
As March really gets going, we will get more food options, spawning behavior, and warmer water temps that sit right in the sweet spot for trout fishing. The BWOs, the March Browns, Skwallas, and that streamer game really pick up as we come into April.
April is money for the March Brown mayfly hatch. It’s a big hatch for the Yakima, it lasts for 3 to 6 weeks, starts like clockwork around 2pm everyday, and it’s some of the most consistent small dry fly fishing we get to partake in here on the Yakima. I highly recommend it. It’s quite nice, presents anglers with lots of opportunities to test their dry fly fishing abilities and get learnt by the guide and the trout during some really amazing fishing.
I love teaching anglers to headhunt in the spring. We get 3 good hatches for dry fly days with Skwallas, Bwos, and the March Brownies. Headhunting is one of the more challenging ways to fish for Trout and requires a lot of technical casting, water reading, and fly presenting skills as well as perfect timing, no missed hook sets, and the ability to play trout well. It also requires good listening skills. Headhunting is not to be taken lightly and is when I, as a guide, am at some of my most intense moments. I have high expectations and can get any skill level of angler to present and land these types of fish during these encounters. But it requires teamwork.
I look forward to this kind of fishing and the challenge guiding it presents. Still to this day, I see guides and anglers pass these kinds of trout encounters up for easier opportunities and less challenging angling. I don’t pass rising fish. We are gonna take shots. If there are risers, the bobbers get put away.
I still only nymph about 20% of the time during the spring. Streamer eats are more consistent and less boring in between takes. That being said, nymphing has its place, and I do rag on nymph fishing a lot. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s not my cup of tea, and in my experience, just as many fish are caught on dries as nymphs when done right.
In the spring, I use nymphing to teach how to break down a hatch. When we know skwallas are moving during this time, there’s a reason to nymph specific water that trout would be holding in to feed. When March Browns come off at 2 pm every day, there is a 45-minute to 2 hr window prior to that time that gives anglers a perfect opportunity for excellent nymphing. I nymph with a purpose not with hope and to just comb the water column and bottom of the river. Nymphing has a time and place for me, and it’s used accordingly when it’s most effective and produces consistent results.
As April ends, we transition out of spring and into summer. Caddis through the 20th of May is what’s on the menu. And maybe Salmon Flies if we are lucky. I’ll be around until the 20th of May before I high tail it to Michigan until July for networking and setting up guiding for 2024. It will correspond with the Yakimas high water and bum-tastic fishing. I’ll be be back for proper summer time fishing in July.
So that’s what we have coming up. A slow creep into the spring. A big switch when it warms up in 6 to 10 days and an almost full spring calendar.
I won’t be on the Yakima full-time next season, anglers. I’ll be down south until March in 2024. Down payment on a new saltwater skiff is in the works. This might be your last chance to get guide days with me during specific hatches like Skwallas and March Browns moving forward. I’ll always guide days on the Yak, but they won’t be all of them. So come out for the 2023 season and chase some wild trout. I’ll teach ya stuff, make it so you can find success without a guide, and have a better understanding of fly fishing and trout.
I’ve got days open those first 2 weeks of March and lots in April and May still. See below.
I’ll be starting my 9th guide season in a few weeks. There’s a lot that has changed and is changing here on the Yakima. Some of it for the better, some not so much, but it’s still one of my favorite rivers. A river I’ve had a long almost 20-year relationship with now.
I started fishing the Yakima and Fly Fishing when I was 18 after I started college in Ellensburg at CWU. I caught my first trout on my own nymph fly just near the upper ringer loop access. It was mid-February just before my 19th birthday. If you were to tell me then that I was going to be a guide, I would have laughed at you. I had plans to be a corporate IT guy.
2008 happened job market tanked as I exited college and I had to pivot. Over my time in college, I ended up fishing regularly. Skipped a lot of class. I’m probably still banned from the Japanese Garden and Koi Pond on CWU campus for getting caught on camera fishing pellet flies for those fancy carp. Twas a good thing I got good at fishing.
I bought my boat in 2010 and was pretty decent at rowing within a few years. It wasn’t until I was guiding that my chops for rowing really took off. I got experience guiding other things, dabbled in business ownership, had it fail, and moved into the fly fishing guiding world in 2015.
I worked for Reds when I started. But quickly realized I wanted more than they could give, and I didn’t like working for others. College and my time in business and owning my own made me realize I could do this gig solo, so I did. My 2nd year was great. 3rd even better. The business grew, and I got better, and my clients excelled and learned.
2020 came and knocked the shit out of me. I’m still recovering in a few ways from that. Last year 2022, we had a huge rebound year. It was also a tumultuous year personally. So I did what I do best. I guided. I did more trips and fished more days than I ever have. Despite people thinking my math was off for 207 guide trips, 15 two a days is 30 trips in 2 weeks. That’s how you stack trips on the Yak anglers. I worked my ass off last year. It showed in a less stressful off-season and a new perspective on my guiding moving forward.
This year, there are over 50 days already booked. All the way out to October. My spring calendar is almost full, with only about a dozen days left open in March and April. I’ll be here on the Yakima until Memorial Day. I head to Michigan that weekend for most of June as I network, learn the fisheries, and look for guide jobs for the 2024 season.
I’ll be purchasing my skiff this season… finally. With enough money coming in the spring to put a down payment on a new boat, I’m incredibly excited to get back to the guide grind. By October this year, a new boat will be in my arsenal, ready for saltwater and new adventures. Come late October, I get to snowbird down south and begin the next phase of my business, which is learning the southern saltwater fisheries, captains license, and spending my 40s getting good at something new.
Looking back at all the trips and days on the water… It’s all been a slow work up towards this move. I never had any intention of only ever guiding or fishing the Yakima. I’ve traveled to some of the best fisheries, the PNW, Alaska, Canada. Montana and Idaho have to offer. There is more out there. I’m excited and proud of myself for working towards this goal and these adventures. I never set out to be the best or the busiest or the fishiest, but to enjoy my life and work and be content.
The Yakima River over the past 19 years has kept me quite content. This season will be my last full-time one here. Bigger and different adventures await. I’m looking forward to it this year don’t get me wrong. The stoke to guide is very high. I love guiding and teaching, I’m one of the best at it. I find my enthusiasm for fishing myself lower these days. Less stimulating, so to speak. And that says it all right there.
Sharing this river and it giving me my livelihood and sanity over the past decade will always be immeasurable. I will always have a place in my heart for this river. It is my homewater.
This season is shaping up to be one of the banger ones. We have normal snow pack, we have normal weather, we have lots of troots, there are bugs, and there are 78 miles of river ready to be deciphered for anglers. I anticipate a really good season looking forward with weather and conditions.
It’s also going to be one of the busiest seasons I’ve seen. More and more anglers frequent the Yakima. More and more people recreate here. It’s February, and I’ve seen more boats and anglers than I ever have this time of year. I cannot stress enough how busy it will be. Plan accordingly. It’s why I’m pushing early bookings and limiting my days to 150-175. There will be days when 50 boats will be on the water. 100 plus waders. We saw it last season. Be ready. I’ll be creative and strategic with my floats and trips this year in order to relieve some of that pressure, but it’s gonna be a crazy one.
Be prepared to fish different times and different floats. To hike down to the boat, that wad left overnight to get first dibs or be spaced out from other boats. Be ready to get off in one spot and then put the boat back somewhere else and fish different chunks of river at different times. You’ll get your money’s worth and then some with me this year.
We are shooting for 15 to 25 trips each, for March, April, and May. March only has 11 days left open. The rest are for me to fish. I might not see the Yak in the spring again for some time. April has 18 days open. 10 of those would be nice.
May…I wasn’t planning on being here at all in May. But with the current snow packs and the extended forecast, I’m gonna stick it out for Yakima Caddis. The Yakima will always be a caddis river first, and last year, the Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch wad ridiculous until the water blew out to over 7 Gs. The first 20 days of May are open for guiding and evening floats for caddis eats! I love caddis and fishing past 7pm on the Yakima. Come out for the Mother’s Day Caffis hatch this season. Skate dries, pick off feeders along the banks, soft hackles, pupas, our trout go stupid for caddis.
I listed my blocks of open dates below. I highly recommend a half day starting later. Most guides still wanna be off at 5 pm. I don’t. Morning floats are for August and September. Skwalls, BWOs, and March Browns all are active after noon for the next 2 and a half months. 9 am is too early. I’ve got compounded years of experience here on the Yakima…trust me. Caddis are an evening game. 6 to 9pm is the sweet spot. So again, plan accordingly because we fish when trout eat, not those banker or amusement park ride hours.
It’s still early. I’ve fished a few days in a row now, and it’s been slow. Skunked yesterday. Water temps are still sub 45. And yes, you’ll get a day when 6 to 10 will come to the fly. But it’s 1 day in 5 that happens still. That’s nothing more than being lucky to be fishing that day. As we enter March, it changes. Becomes predictable, consistent, conditions align in the favor of the angler, and the trout gods bless the rivers with life and abundance so that anglers may partake and enjoy. In March. February is always a crapshoot. After the first weekend in March is when they switch will flip. I swear these fish now what day of the week it is anglers. If you can. Avoid a weekend. If you can’t, Holla at me and let me help you find places others won’t be. If you’re booked on a weekend this year, be prepared to get funky.
I didn’t become this good by just running the river like everyone else. I work it, learn it, listen to it, on it almost every day, and maybe only a dozen guides fish their days off here regularly. I’ll plug anglers in and keep things up to speed this season with reports on conditions, including angler and boat traffic.
I’ll be live streaming while fishing this year so clients get ready to be on the spit at times! We will be predicting our days and weeks and checking back in with anglers post trips and each week to see how we did what we learned and how it may change. We are gonna get into the tight work, the excellent casts, the one and done drifts, the perfect hook sets, all the stuff and things. If you’re experienced and think you know how to fish…I’m gonna find out and let ya know. I’ll pull more awesomeness and excellence out of you. If you’re new. You won’t be after a day with me. You will learn better than most, and you will understand fishing and be able to find success without me. Which is always my goal at the end of the trip. You don’t need guides to catch fish. But a good guide will make you better and teach you how to get better.
I’m looking forward to this year. I have hundreds of stories, experiences, and moments shared with clients and anglers here on the Yakima. If I could pay bills with smiles, handshakes, and bent rods, I would anglers. It’s never been about the money. Chasing my passion, having a little financial stability, and living a fly angler life, content, and happy is all it has ever been for.
Come experience fly fishing on the Yakima with me this season. We are just getting started.
May: 1st thru 20th. Caddis Hatch around thr 10th. Get ’em.
Reserve dates, anglers. I’ve got July through October dates open as well. Only 100 or so days left open to reserve before it’s full. Might be one of the last chances to get a guide trip with me during certain hatches on the Yakima moving forward. Book days, support your local trout bum guide, and help me buy a new and expand business to new waters and experiences.
The spring is in the air. There is a lot lining up this season to give us one of the better seasons for fishing here on the Yakima River.
Let’s talk about what my trouty senses are picking up on shall we:
First the snow pack. Last year at this time we had over 200% snow pack. Way above average. Which gave us some of the highest and coldest water flows through June in over a decade.
This year, we are at 96% snowpack today. Right around normal with a few more storms to come through before April. This means we will have nominal flows in the river. Consistent flows is our first boon to the season! Now that’s a prediction, and it’s gonna be in flux, but the conditions are lining up pretty nicely.
Moving on to the weather. Last year, it was cold, snowing, and raining into March. This year, we are looking at just above average precip…meaning a little more rain this spring and a little colder. About 30% colder and wetter. Which means low barometric pressure and cloudy warmer days. Almost muggy for the spring… which are ideal conditions for spring fishing!
Let’s talk about food. We have had really good skwalla hatches the past few seasons, and this year is shaping up just the same. Already, they are near the bank staging to hatch. I give it 10 to 14 days. I say that every spring, but this feels right. March is looking to be a banger for skwallas. We also get BWOs here soon. Especially as it the air temps rise and that cloudy and wet starts to roll in. With a high probability of prime conditions for head hunting days on less spooky trout with small abundant mayflies…sign me the fuck up anglers. Let’s go. It’s maybe 20% of the time on a good year that we get those kinds of days and conditions for head hunting pods of trout. Streamers. Over the years, I’ve put the big streamer stick in clients’ hands as well as my own to catch monster troots on swung and stripped meat. The spring offers a lot of food for very hungry trout.
Now let’s talk about the trout this year. 2020 was 3 years ago, we had a massive spawn in 2020 and our trout had literally zero pressure during that time of the season. Those fish that were born in 2020 are mostly adult size and sexually mature. And they are the majority population of trout now. I’d sat more than half the trout per mile are in this age range. And the size is 15 plus inches and heavy. And mostly females. Sexually mature fish spawn, and they eat. As they wake up, they are going to smash food and move around a lot as they start their first spawn. This works to our advantage as anglers in that we have a good population of healthy big fish and ravenous behavior pre and post spawn. Now we don’t target active spawners, but they got to eat before and after, and that helps up the opportunity at fish on the fly.
Some of the best encounters with wild trout happen during the next 2 months. As fish wake up and get trouty. Skwalla eats are some of the most explosive from cover eats that these trout do. Full body lunges for big, easy meals. The battles on a streamer rod in the spring are unparalleled. Into the backing kind of shit. Consistent nymphing, and the higher possibility of headhunting, along with fewer boats than other times of year, especially during the weekdays, and everything culminates into some of the best fishing the Yakima has. The spring had become a favorite time of year for me.
So let’s talk about dates, anglers! Because we are trying to fill that schedule! I’m limiting days to 150 to 175. With the possibility of good caddis fishing in May, I’m gonna stick around until Memorial Day and chase those evening eats, so book those Mother’s Day Caddis Days and May dates. March has openings and they are during prime times.
March 1st-10th. Let’s get some of those dates booked up. Early, first dibs, chance at those big number skwalla dry days!
March 13th-16th. During the week, right in the thick of it all.
March 28th and 30th. Possible March Browns getting going, colored up trout, aggressive pre spawn eats.
April 4th-7th. March Browns popping off at 2 pm. Excellent nymphs pre hatch, last days of skwallas.
April 10th-14th. Prime March Browns!
April 16th-21st. Big cutties prepping for spawn, streamers with a little bit higher water, March Brown epicness.
There’s more dates in April after that. But that’s what’s open coming up. I highly recommend those half days during the skwallas. Walk and wades are also available. Let’s get on the water, learn some stuff, and chase trout!