Transition Time

The spring has been a good one. I did more trips this spring than any previous. We had skwallas, bwos, and a decent March brown hatch that is still going. I’ve put over 40 days on the river and most of them guided. Tis a far better spring than 2020.

The month of May can be tricky. We get caddis and maybe salmon flies but we also get irrigation water and purges to make sure the reservoirs fill properly. We have a lot of snow still and it’s melting at a pretty normal pace. But there’s a lot of water so I expect higher flows here soon.

The river is back in decent shape for May. And once the warmer temps being the water temps up it won’t really matter what the flows are. If it near 50 or more it’s and it’s got 15 plus inches of viz…its fishy. The big flows make fish eat more, push them into angler advantageous water, and typically make them eat dries for me.

I’ve become a bit of a dry fly whisperer with Yakima Trout. The handful of new faces in the boat this spring solidified that for me. I have heard for years now that anglers never catch fish on dries on the Yak. Which we all know isn’t true. It comes down to confidence. Yes they will eat a nymph. But they will also eat a dry.  Fish the water not the fish. Too many times I see anglers dredging perfectly good dry fly water with indicators and then winder why they aren’t hooking fish.  Or why it takes all day to get a fish outta that one spot. 

Fish are picky. Not just for food, but how, when, and where they eat it. That’s why presentation, even with nymphs is key. When you run nymphs through dry fly specific water it spooks fish. They are up in the water column, on high alert, and on the hunt for small food.  All their senses are at full function, eye sight, lateral line, oxygen content, all the stuff and things that trout use are being used. So duh…they aren’t gonna eat your shit. Chuck a dry just right and Boom. Same in reverse for throwing dries into nymphy water. You really think a troots gonna come up through 8 feet of water for a dry after not taking 30 casts of your nymph…quit it.

How do you think I get away with fishing behind everyone.  Just gotta fish the water not the fish. I pick it apart, dissect it.  I tailor my trips for specific fishing styles and types. We hit water with a purpose and a process. We try it all, fish it all, when something something clicks we stuck with it until it doesn’t and then start the process of dialing it in all over again. It’s what guides do. I love it and that’s the groovy part of being riverside most of the time.

The caddis are here.  Percolating but here. As the warmer air and water temps arrive the fish will be all over that good source more than they are now. We also have salmon flies that seem to be happening. Historically not something we focus on here on the yak save for a few days if we are lucky but the Yakima does as she likes. And with how skwallas were and how many big salmon fly nymphs I see in the water column lately…I have hope. Like spicey heartburn…are they gonna happen…will fish eat them on top? 

I have lots days open this month but as things get nice it fills up. Caddis are gonna pop hoard soon and you get your shots at 30 fish days especially fishing to dusk. I highly recommend the evening half day floats. Fish till dusk, or caddis:30, watch the sun set on the river, catch a mess of fish on dries. It’s pretty nice.

Hope to see ya riverside anglers!

Tamarack

Run off blues

The run off and salmon pulses can be a real pain in the ass. But the are a neccessary and natural part of the way the tailwater here is managed. Fish are used to crazy water flows in Washington state so these periodic bumps that mimic run off and snow melt to help outward salmon migration. These bumps are good for the river too.

The Yakima is a tailwater and needs to be recharged with with big flushes of water. Like it’s little brother river the teanaway which is freestone and foes this run off and pulse process without help. The Yakima needs to facilitate those naturally occurring flow fluctuations with the temps, precip, and snowmelt and its done with these pulses.

This season they have matched the Teanaway output and there is still over 100 percent snow pack for the upper Yakima Basin. When these pulses hit the Yak the fish get moved and pushed. It opens up new areas. It also pushes particulates, sludge, bugs, gravel, trees, organic material, all over the place. This is a good thing and helps with the health of the river. I’ve seen these pulses and how they are run improve over my tune here. The river benefits, and in turn the trout, and so to the angler.

I’ve had the pleasure of guiding the Yak for 7 seasons and fishing it for over a decade now. The river has only improved in that time. While these pulses makes the fishing tougher than hell. It’s good for troots. And with the spring being pretty fing decent this season I can’t complain.

The spring is about done. With March Browns finishing out April and bringing us into May. Caddis are close. With the forecast I think they will be late this season. Everything seems to be pushed back a bit. It’s cold, water is still sub 50, fish are just now really spawning. Things are more normal this season in the trout world. Which after 2020 is a nice thing.

I also anticipate a good salmon fly hatch this year. After skwallas and how many nymphs I’m seeing, with the amount amount of fish taking big chunky stones underneath and not caddis…makes me wonder. We usually get crap flows during salmon flies here with irrigation water, but that shit is already running due to the snow pack and with these pulses the fish have come accustomed to the flows changes now. It’s all a matter of how warm it gets over the next 3 weeks.

May is starting to fill up with trips. The 8th 15th and 16th and the 23rd and 29th are the weekends that are open. I highly reccomend weekdays as we get into the warmer days. Gets crowded out there. We have caddis, Salmon flies, and the streamer game will really pick up. It’s gonna be a good year anglers. Caddis for dinner soon. Late starts, off river at dark 30, taking out with the taillights. Get in on the caddis half days or those all day full days. Skwalla specials are over! Was a great skwalla holla, gotta thank everyone who came out and made this spring one of the busiest.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

The Flow

The Spring. It has been a pleasure and an absolute blessing to wake with the river this season. All of here were denied access to our waters and outdoor escapes this time last year. 2020 can eat it. We all lost our ability to escape; whether it be our places of worship, our communities, our outdoors, our families, it was all a cluster.

After not being to come out of hibernation and wake with the river last year I felt always disconnected from it. I never felt like I was fully understanding what she was saying. Having the constant disconnect to its tole. This season season has been quite the opposite.

The spring has started off fantastic. Warmer and sunnier than usual, and with less runoff and high water than I anticipated. It’s here now, but already on the downward trend. As an angler and a guide the spring is a little different. While this valley is a farming community and things are just now starting to grow….the spring is on its way out in fly angler terms.

You have winter, then mid February hits and that’s the start of the early season for me. March and April are Spring…May is its own thing…its called caddis. While BWOs, Skwallas, and March Browns round out our spring bugs.  There is this transition month of May that brings the Yakima River two things.  The bigger flows of irrigation, and the caddis hatch. The fish get pushed into the bank due to the heavier than normal flow…and the caddis are there for them to eat.  Works out great for anglers.  And while May isn’t technically Summer…its not really Spring either. It’s just caddis.

Caddis are best described as an aquatic moth. We have lots of different kinds in the river that hatch from May to October. The big ones are Mother’s Day Caddis or the Brachycentrus numerosus, or American Granom, and the October Caddis or Dicosmoecus Gilvipes.  We will focus on the mothers day.

The scientific name even says numerosus, as is numerous or a fuck ton. And if you’ve witnessed a decent caddis hatch you know. Sometimes the bugs are so thick you can see the other side of the river, you’re eating and shit. And so are the fish. On the Yakima fish are post spawny, hungry, and the flows are jacked….so they need calories.  And shoveling caddis into their mouths is what these feesh do.

The caddis hatch brings about the bigger number days on dry fly eats, but fish in general are more inclined to take a fly as we get into the month of May. Things start working for the anglers advantage unlike the spring where the trout typically has the upper hand. Water temps, flows, metabolism, food sources, and weather all shift and the angler has a few cards to play.  The Yakima is a caddis river, especially the lower end.  The time is almost nigh.

Chucking elk hairs and pupa patterns tight to bank, where two inches closer adds two inches to the troots tail. It’s a fun time to fish the Yakima. And this season is shaping up to be DECENT! 

The Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch is already starting to fill up. Check that calendar and schedule a fish chasing day…bring your mum!  It’ll be wicked fun.

I can’t thank everyone enough for coming our for trips this spring, for the fly orders that I am still behind on, for the help with the shenanigans, and the continued support of your local trout guide. I appreciate it greatly. This spring has been one of the busiest in the past 7 YEARS! of guiding.  The 2021 season is looking really busy and super fishy! 

See ya riverside anglers.  We back in the flow this season anglers.  Get it, get Bent, and chase troots.

Tamarack

River is gonna drop!

According to the BOR the salmon pulse will begin its downward trend today and into Tuesday. Hurray!  Fishing the drop can be wicked. I’m hitting it tomorrow to see what’s up!  Spring Time Flows Baby!  Fish are spawny, they just got pushed around, they gonna be hangry.

I have the 7th and 8th this week when the river will drop hard!  I also have the 12th, 14th-16th open!  The last Skwalla Special Days up for grabs! 

Aww ya!

Tamarack

Skwalla Holla

It’s almost here. The river is gon a spike this next week, then simmer, the weather gets warmer. I smell spring…and troots.

With some schedule rearranging my last open weekend for the Skwalla Special Rate is April 17th.

I have lots of weekdays open!

I will be out of state from March 27th thru April 1st travelling to California before the season really ramps up!

So get your weekdays booked up quick before the Spring Season fills up!

Tamarack

Last Weekends for Skwalla Special

Skwalla Holla!

Hello Anglers. The skwalla hatch is almost here and the spring fishing is literally weeks away. Super stoked.

As of right now I am running a Skwalla Special through April 15th. For $325 2 anglers share a 6 hr float with a lunch. The following weekends are all that’s left for the Special.

March 7th and 13th and the 20th.

April Skwalla Special Weekend Dates left: 3rd and 4th.

I still have plenty of weekdays open but those dates above are the only open weekend days for the special.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

Skwalla Special 2021

The time is almost upon us!  3 to 5 weeks from now the Skwallas will be popping, fish will be smacking, and trips will be running.  Get on the calendar for the 2021 Spring Season on the Yakima River!  Call, click, or message to book a trip before they fill up!!!

I hope to see you this season! Its been a rough year getting here and I can’t thank you enough for your continued support. I wouldn’t have gotten to 2021 if it wasn’t for my clients!

Lets make 2022 a bitchen year anglers. Cant freaking wait! Stoke is very high.

See ya riverside.

Tamarack

Here we go.

Well…2020 is over. I can’t say it was the greatest. I had a lot of crap and a few good things happen. I’m glad its over and we are that much closer to the trout fishing of 2021 commencing.

As January starts off the countdown to the season starts. I usually start fishing a handful of days in January and when February rolls around its back to a few days a week and guiding starts in March typically. Probably earlier this season to get a jump start on making up for 2020. But before that happens it’s gotta snow.

The snow pack is starting to fill up. We have one of the largest bomb cyclone storms spinning in the Pacific right now. Its bringing some major weather systems our way setting up for some major snowfall in the highlands. We are expected to get nuked with snow this coming weekend.

As the snow pack starts to fill up and the extended forecasts and weather modeling comes out for the next 3 months the early season starts to show itself. What kind of spring run off events we will have, how warm or cold it will be. Starting to guess when water temps will start the warming trend. When bugs might start migrating and hatching. When the spawn might start. All these things and more start to become clearer as the snow falls, the science comes out, and my needy brain starts to plan and prep.

I want to be dialed in this season. And I am preparing for a busy busy year. I am already starting to take early season reservations. As the forecasts come in I will have a better handle on when things should start rolling. But anytime after March 15th and we are typically good, expect for the occasional high water stuff. Maybe bad weather but that’s spring fishing.

Big trout, pre and post spawny fish, bugs starting to hatch, salmon pulses kicking up baitfish getting the big fish to chase meat. Getting dialed back in, feeling the river and finally getting back to being riverside with clients. Still probably gonna be masked up for a bit, but we will be fishing!

Its been rough for the first half of the offseason. Fly sales are low, the craptasticness didn’t just dissappear, money still tight, but its the downhill side of it all. Booking trips early helps a lot. Its already starting. Those deposits make a big difference after 2020. I’m really looking forward to the season. Getting back into the groove, riverside with my regulars, and meeting new anglers and clients as the season progresses.

2020 is over and having a more positive and productive mindset for 2022 is how I am trying to start it out. Things are still tight and slow. But its gonna get better. Flies are for sale, be patient with me they will all get sent out soon. Spring trips are ready to be booked and have already started. If you reserve before February 15th I’m knocking 25 bucks off the trip price, which is basically the tax. So reserve early!

Bye 2020

Hope to see you all riverside safe and healthy. This pandemic is still not over but there seems to be some light coming up. Might be a train or the end of the tunnel. I’m going with the latter. I hope your 2021 starts off well. Books trips! See ya out there anglers!!!

Tamarack

Halfway….just about.

We are roughly 8 weeks or so into the off season.  Or the midpoint. In 8 weeks I will start to get a lot more fishy.  The boat comes back out regularly. I am riverside 4 plus days a week, plugging back in, and getting prepped for the guide season. 

This off season has been shit.  However, I will say lockdowns and quarantine have made cabin fever easy to bare. Broke as hell but honestly that’s not new being a troutbum and all. My previous blog post made it out like I was at this shit alone and I am not. I’ve have someone through it all, its private not a secret. But I have been good off river life wise, all things considered. Not seeing my kids has been the shittiest part.

I got a lot of comments and messages after that cranky blog. It was more venting the frustration and exhaustion. And instead of unload it on others who have their own trials and struggles right now….just throw it up and let the internet eat it. The biggest frustrations are work related. And there ain’t shit to be done until the new season at this point. Just stuck until the thaw.

Its the halfway point and usually I would feel this cabin fever riddled drive to be out. But 2020 sucked most of that out. I sleep. A lot. 10 to 12 hours some days. Hibernating like most other off seasons. But its quieter during the pandemic. And the exhaustion has taken its toll. And you can sleep through things that otherwise cause stress that cannot be fixed until the world gets right. So much outta my hands at this point. Sleep now work later. Or something like that.

While overlords argue about 600 bucks and cake, I just wanna make sure that I keep the internet on so I don’t have to sit with only books and flies until March. At this point the only thing that seems to fix shit is ourselves. So I get to wait until I can fix it the only way I know how…with trout and a boat. Thankfully we are in this together and there is help there. Its not all bad…its just sucks in general.

The midpoint of the offseason is usually a harder hurdle. Just not this season. I am in a hell of a hurry to get back to it in 2021. With a recovery plan in place for my business from the first trip to the last of next season. I don’t have a lot of faith in a national or even state economic recovery plan as this will be my third economic event in my life. Many of us are gonna have to get creative with making up the deficit of 2020. If trying to get relief during this shitshow is any indication….ya…its gonna be by our own bootstraps and on a community and local level. So getting the mind around what that might look like is essential moving forward.

The trout and the rowing take care of themselves at this point in my guiding. The nuts and bolts of the operation…troot and people….that shit is locked and I’ve worked very hard to get there. This pandemic changes how the business side looks. And with the surge in social media and its necessity for success in the 21st century business model driving a lot of what makes or breaks you…2021 is going to be a busy year to say the least.

So ya, I’ll sleep through a lot of the offseason. Because I can. Normally my body needs it but I think my mind needs it more this year. I’ll share time with the few people I can. I will prep for the offseason, and hold out like the rest of us. Still living day to day and week to week, still worried, but ready to move forward.

So ya, chill out. We all allowed to get mad bruh. Vent, sleep, try and see the good shit…watch Mandolarian…holy fuck! I mean we are all friggin’ stuck and its not like the headlines are making us feel any less stuck. So ya. Get ready for 2021…see if we can do a little better….(shy unenthusiastic yay, from the crowd). Fingers crossed. Let the countdown to trout begin.

Tamarack