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Fishtober till its over! Last dates available for October

Hey Anglers. The end of the season is nigh. I have the following dates open this month:

October 13th and 14th

16th through the 19th

21st thru 23rd and the 25th

27th through the 31st

The BWOs are popping, the caddis are peaking, fish are slurping. Time to get in on the last and best days to fish the Yakima River.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

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Tis weird but what else is new…

A blog post! Ya, I have been out of it lately. This covid makes everything weird. The lack of work is excruciating and I know I am in the same boat as many so lets not dwell on it. Lets just acknowledge that covid on top of everything else crazy going on right now if fucken shit up and we gotta get through it.

Lets talk about fishing. Its summer, the flows are wicked high, and its busy….really busy. I have been doing this a bit…its busy. Now I haven’t been out as much as usual. Days I don’t guide which are a lot currently, I would normally just snorkel or fish. But with how busy amd crowded just about everywhere is…I end up staying in the house. Thats the covid there. Keeping things tight financially seems to be best right now and fishing and snorkeling everyday costs money.

The hoppers are here. As are the short wing or summer stoneflies. We have caddis in the evening and I suspect thr early AM fishing is decent but I haven’t ventured riverside at 5 am since the OP. Might need to remedy that. The big thing with the river is the big ass flows. Its rippin’ 3 to 4 times its normal size, so thats makes fishing….interesting and quirky. Water temps are stable and fish are on the bank, but I can’t help but think these fish have just grown accustomed to staying deep during heavy flows like this. The Yakima has always been kinda weird in the summer. And 2020 is no different. Could be the pressure too. The amount of traffic on the river is considerably higher than any other time of the season, even during the pandemic. But troots are smart and in my snorkeling I find the majority of the fish deep on thr bottom. Save for the ones that get forced onto the bank. We dont see thr big pods as much in the summer up high in the water column. The pods are deep along the bottom of the river. Nymphing is a challenge even with sll the new fancy stuff because the rivet is so heavy and fast. Presentations become a problem due to current speed both with its effect on the boat as well as the nymph rig.

That’s why I focus on mostly dry fly fishing. Opportunistic feeds are typically easier to come by in the summer and the added flows make takes explosive or super sneaky…both of which are intoxicating. Which is exactly what people need right now. Something that envelops the mind for a few hours.

I know its weird out there anglers. I am typically turing trips away but not this season. Can’t get things repaired quickly with rods, supplies are down across the industry, and we only have 3 months of trout season left. Even with everything I still want to chase troot albeit the drive is subdued. Sitting in my house hasn’t been as helpful or fun as I thought. And instead of chasin work I think I will just go back to chasin troot and being a bum about it more.

The river will provide. She always does in one way or the other. I may struggle financially this season, but those moments with wild places, and the trout that reside there will not experience themselves. And if everything is gonna go to shit I would rather spend it with trout and rivers opposed to sitting in my house sucked into the twittersphere and social media news cacophony. And call of duty only holds my attention for so long. Fishing is so much better…so lets go fishing.

Tamarack

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Summertime during the ‘rona

Well. This year sucks. Just all around sucks as everyone knows. Everyone is dealing with it in some way. And its not just the virus, its a list of things on a global, national, local, and all the way down to the individual level. Shit sucks.

So that might be why trips have slowed way down, its not my first economic shitstorm, its not my first slow summer, and its not my first year the Yakima River has been cold hearted and down right mean most days. She’s nice like once a week.

It was pretty busy there at the start of things opening. But as we can all see…it hasn’t gotten that much better virus wise. So I get why things are weird, we all get it in some way. Every single client, every single one….has brought it up along with a myriad of other things that are on people’s mind during this crazy time in our lives. Its been an interesting season fosho.

Fish seem to be a secondary thing. It seems that people are more just into the being out and doing something. And that is great when the river is being persnickety and I have built my trips on the experience not the fish. I also have to mention that I have never had a season where clients have been this open with perosnal feelings, opinions, deep conversations…its been a very human heavy experience as opposed to fish.

Its odd, not in a negative way, just a noticable and rather different way people have been this season. Maybe thats a benefit of all this crazy…we start to connect human to human again. The importance of that is immeasurable and something that has been lost in this world. I feel privileged to have a career that affords me that direct connection with so many different people each day we share the river.

While the fishing has been weird. It started off with a bang. But big water, and wicked cold water are the culprit right now. A mild start to the summer, colder temps for longer up high made the snow come off more normal this season. Been a while since irrigators got 100% across the board. And the fishing is showing that. I don’t like to sell the river when it isn’t producing, so to speak, and I always tell it straight in live updates. Ask the clients I have had and they will tell you, working our asses off and just getting it handed back to us. Part of the game we play fly fishing. I am used to it…but its still maddening.

A few other things make it funky this year. Lots of traffic, like a lot. And with covid closing a single access point off also puts more pressure in other sections which is also affecting things. Take it from someone who has sat in snorkel gear underwater and watched boat after boat pass over a run with fish and after about 10 the fish move out of range of things. And they take longer to reset the more constant the pressure. They adapt very quickly to their environment, when a bunch of boats, floaters and traffic is going over head and lots of fish get caught and spice things up down there…the trout adapt and switch over to other holding water, other food, and wait until things change to their benefit. I have seen it with my eyeholes. So the amount of traffic is a factor at times too.

So there’s a lot going on, off and on river. Personal life off river is just as weird. With truck shenanigans, slow work, just a lack of doing things I normally do. I usually go out and do stuff this time of year, fish, snorkel, camp, hike, but with how slow work is, and with how crowded things are and all the other shit…I end up staying in most of the time. Don’t even get me started on how weird sleep is.

With all that this its been hard to focus, hard to do a lot of things. And even after unplugging on the Joe and fishing in that dreamscape of trouty-ness, I still just feel off. Like everyone I know, but it helps to put it out there and I honestly have nothing else to blog about.

The heat is here and so is the big water. Running at 3800 cfs now. Big flows…awww ya. The grasshoppers are here, and the summer stones are showing up early! A few more days of this heat and these flows and the fish will settle in. They will….and they will eat. The big problem with eats right now is water temperature. Its been hovering at the 50 to 53 degree mark since things opened. Every time it warms to prime levels, we get more water in the system from the reservoirs…which has kept it cool. Great for trout, tougher for fishing. They just don’t have to eat that much when its that cold, and they eat mostly caddis off the bottom when its this cold and this big. Snorkeling shows you a lot. And when we could pump stomachs back in my earlier days every fish had a belly full of caddis in some form from May to end of June anyway. Its the most abundant food source here…and its mostly on the bottom of the river. Which is also where currents and flows are slowest. And at 3800 cfs and 52 degrees or less down there…why would trout eat anything else? And fishing for them is usually 6 to 8 feet down, but most of the fish are still out of reach. Wanna nymph 10 to 15ft down and drift 15 miles of river and basically just mend all day….me neither.

Now that flows are up and temps are up its gonna warm and fish will have to eat more and seek out other food. Hence the hoppers, stones, and steamers. Thats why fishing the LC has been a bit better on days. Because the water temp hits 54 and 55 and boom! Light switch on for trout eats.

We are almost there in the upper. This week. I have had a few days that flirt with that switch but not a full on. Here very soon, since its almost 90 out the past few days…and we will be there. Already starting to see the caddia harch, the stoneflies on the banks, and you can hear the hoppers. And the flows are big…so fish will be right up on the bank soon.

We will be starting floats wicked early soon too. And this weirdness now only means awesomeness for the fall. October caddis shoukd be amazeballs this season with all thos water making it so they don’t get stranded during the flip flop when flows drop like last year. There is also the maybe of things being better world wise in the fall.

I will be out on the river here leading up to the weekend as I am fairly certain that switch is gonna get flipped. I have lots of days open for the summer fishing and the hopper fishing!!! God I love hoppers and this is a great year for them with the big water. Mmmmm….big foamalicious hoppers and big slappy eats.

I invite you to come out and fish the summer. I know its weird. But its a safe activity during these times. Get a half day in, fish, enjoy some time unplugged, maybe trick a trout or two. Share a day with your favorite human, or fishing partner, let me facilitate some stress relief for ya, and we can all get through this shit show together and trick some trout and laugh a bunch along the way.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

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In it.

Well anglers…we are in it. The summer season is here. The summer bugs are starting, the flows are coming up, the sun is shining, and its getting pretty warm out. Awwww ya.

I have been on river damn near every day since the 7th. The river rythym has set back in and I finally feel locked in to the river. Yesterday sealed the deal for me. River came up with a salmon pulse that I didn’t catch prior so I had to completely change the day up while on it. The river became a puzzle and I was able to adjust and produce as a guide. The groove is back.

The boat feels right underneath me again. I have my boat legs back, the muscles are sore but finally feel like they should. My eyes and ears are synced up with my clients and the river, my knot tying skills are still quick and incredibly efficient. All the little thinga I miss being good at I am getting to do again!

The fishing is wonderful anglers. Just like I remember it…but with some big ass fish this season…whooo…4 wts aint gonna do shit out here! Trips are rolling in for the rest of the season, my phone is always beeping and buzzing, bank acount filling back up, and I am starting to feel like I am in the grind again! Trips or fishing erry day!

So there we are anglers…we are in it. See ya riverside.

Tamarack

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Booked Up

Hey anglers,

I am so grateful for the reservations. I am booked solid until June 9th and 10th and June 14th thru 18th are open as well.

Unfortunately I don’t have any more nights open for the Caddis For Dinner Floats. But look for more deals this season!

I am taking reservations for full and half day trips for June through October. Things book up really quick!

I hope to see ya riverside this season anglers.

Tamarack

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Caddis For Dinner Special

Guiding has Reopened!

I will be offering a discount Half Day evening float rate. Lets hit that caddis hatch and fish till dark:30 anglers.

Caddis For Dinner Special runs May 15th thru May 30th.

2 anglers $300 plus tax. Start late get off river after everyone else.

Caddis are whats for dinner so lets go feed the troots some fake ones. Call, email, or yell at me riverside. We start around 3 pm and fish until 8 to 9 pm. No lunch, just feesh. Masked up and getting after it for some pandemic trout.

Stay safe anglers.
See ya riverside

Tamarack

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Guiding Resumes May 15th

Hey anglers,

Guiding has been opened back up.

We have a list of things we have to follow in order to start working again. They are listed below.

I am taking reservations!

Guide Operations

These items will be assessed, and potentially modified, on a weekly basis. Any business planning to reopen this service starting on May 14, 2020, must comply with the following:

1. Utilize on-line or phone reservation systems to pre-pay and limit interactions, and restrict payments to credit cards only to eliminate the handling of cash.

2. Maintain a log of all customers, including at a minimum: first name, last name, physical address, and telephone information.

3. During Phase 1 of Safe Start Washington, only guided fishing trips with up to two clients at a time are allowed and all clients must be from the same household. Social distancing must be maintained. In Phase 2 groups of mixed households allowed, with a maximum of two households and a maximum of 8 individuals in a group. Social distancing must be maintained.

4. Require passengers to bring and wear masks or facial coverings on the boats. Crew members are also required to wear masks or facial coverings on boats.

5. Users need to bring their own pens to sign waivers. Digital devices must be sanitized between each user to sign waivers.

6. Consider the space provided for each customer when determining the maximum number of people allowed onboard. Ensure there is 6 feet of rail space between each person. Limit the number of passengers permitted in the cabin at any one time to provide adequate spacing unless there are safety issues such as weather or sea conditions.

7. In Phase 2, overnight boats are allowed. Physically distancing is still required between participants of different households. The bunks pads and all bunk room surfaces and hand holds should be cleaned and disinfected between each trip.

8. Create adequate space for physical distancing during tour check-ins, and when outfitting customers. Use visual markers for reference.

9. When outfitting participants with protective clothing and lifejackets, staff will maintain social distance. When social distance is not possible staff will wear appropriate PPE, including masks or facial coverings.

10. Where necessary, stagger tour departures to minimize contact between staff and groups of participants.

11. Develop cleaning protocols that allow for proper disinfection of fishing gear, protective clothing, and lifejackets after each use using CDC and EPA approved products. Regularly sanitize counter tops, hand rails, door knobs, and other common surfaces. Have hand sanitizer available for staff and clients.

12. In Phase 1 shuttle transportation only allowed for groups where all members are in the same household. In Phase 2 mixed household groups are allowed only if social distancing while transporting is maintained.

13. Require customers to cancel if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell and ensure that they can reschedule with no penalty when they are feeling better.

14. Keep up to date on all changes issued by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Labor & Industries, and the Department of Health.

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Thoughts from the stoop.

Only a few days riverside and already my mind and body crave it more. This pandemic has left drive and ambition lacking. Its like I had silenced the call, the pull of the river. Closed off to it.

Fishing solo just isn’t enough. I want more. But the world we live in now makes me cautious. Therea still so much that is up in the air the stress of it all seems to come on waves every few days. When you’re reminded you still haven’t worked in 8 weeks, bills aren’t able to get paid, truck needs work, gear needs replaced, repaired, restocked, funds are low, and yes there are trips coming…but will we get do run them and will they be enough are the questions that linger in the back eddy.

I have dealt with a lot of stress, and a lot of crap the last 18 months. So this challenge that has presented itself has been one that has been different to meet head on or even try to think out more than a week at a time. Just too much out of my control and a lot of nonsense that has come up that I can’t make sense of. Having the river back within my reach helps but only puts a band aid on the issues on mind.

My my mind seems to jump between the need to chase fish and slowly trying to keep the off river stuff from completley unraveling. Its a funky dance, a weird line to be riding. It sucks to be honest and is really uncomfortable. Navigating some heavy gnarly class Vs anglers. Shit better be worth the craptastic ride on the other side.

The river is speaking to me again. And that helps. It at least gives me a hint of purpose during all this. It keeps some of the positive vibes up near the top. Like everyone else I am feeling the lack of social interaction and connection. Anxious. Trying to stay cautiously optimistic about it all. River doesn’t know or care whats going on. Its just running doing river stuff. And that still gives me something to root myself in.

Stay safe out there. Chase fish if you can, wash your hands, wear your mask. See ya riverside.

Tamarack.

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The feel

Its been weeks since I felt the river tug at my legs while I walk the riffles. Its been weeks since birdsong, the smell of sweet cottonwoods, and bugs fluttering in my face. Its been weeks since I felt the thrash of a wild trout and the feeling of the release as it explodes away back to the depths.

For many the connection to the outdoors and in my case and others the river, is basically a necessity. The river has become a part of who I am. I am lost without it. Quarantine has been strange. Much like the offseason slump. But the weird sleeping, lack of routine, schedule, not having the river to guide me…its been…well it hasn’t been great. Neccessary but not great.

I was reluctant to fish right away. Almost as if the stay at home at taken away my drive to fish. It took the morning of me going out for that feeling to leave. My timing has been fucked since quarantine. I have lost track of the day and time multiple times. When I woke I thought it was later but I was on river and floating by 9:30 and I literally thought it was 11. I was so excited to get riverside I lost track of what time it was.

I spent 9 hrs on the river that day. I sat and watched the river. Felt the current move the boat. I played in the flow moving the boat just to move the boat. Not for fish just to feel the river. I met fish only got to tickle one but they were eager to eat flies and test my skills. Challenging and persnickety as always these trout are always consistent in that regard.

I have missed the challenge. Its like riding a bike, it comes back quick. Already my mind has switched back over to trout. I am reading water in my head again, seeing drift lines, approaches, angles. I am already feeling that connection, listening to what the river is saying. Its like not seeing a close friend for a while and everything that has happened since then just comes flowing out.

The river is home. I have never felt more at home than when in my boat in the river. To not have that gor this times has been internally hard. I had plenty of down days because of it. I am cautiously optimistic as we move through this pandemic. Even if I am unable to work when planned at least I can be home again. And if it all goes to shit…I would rather be riverside anyway.

I get the next 2 weeks to settle back into that river life. The drive to chase trout has resurfaced. Stay safe out there and I hope to see you riverside soon.

Tamarack