So…its caddis time. I have a love hate relationship with caddisflies and trout. The hatch here on the Yakima can bring the best and the worst out in the river, the trout, and anglers. Its been frustrating to say the least. An early start, weird water conditions, bloody salmon smolt everywhere. Dry fly fishing is sporadic at best in the upper and meh in the lower unless you are fishing from 7 to dark:30. It gets better but with all this food and low flows, trout are lazy…and lazy fish don’t eat. I also believe that trout are feeding into the evening. With the hot weather, direct sunshine, and low water, the water temps fluctuate a bunch, especially up here in the headwaters. This is causing fish to be more nocturnal, when the water temps are prime during the evening…the trout are more active then. Meaning fishing tends to suck major butt during the day. This has been proven to me over the past several days by tough and sporadic fishing. We aren’t even seeing fish feeding under water in this low water.
So what does all this funkiness do to the weary troutnerd wishing for better more consistent days of trout chasing? Well it drives him a little bonkers, and I have been beating my head up against the bow of my driftboat for to many days in a row now as I have literally done everything to try and get things dialed in. Even fishing super early in the morning…not productive. If the fish are eating…its at night and willy nilly throughout the day. Bleh…bummer…ugh. Even my conversations with fellow guides and troutnerds alike are giving me anxiety. Fishing is slow, but then again, referencing my journals from previous years…its typically slow before and right after the MDC (Mothers Day Caddis) hatch. Summer flows will be low this year so it will be an interesting year all around. This means that fishing the Yakima may not always be the best option for taking a guided fly fishing trip, I said it…it’s the truth. Luckily, Yakima River trout are not the only trout or the only species of fish that I chase. Being a versatile and experienced angler comes in super handy now.
This brings me to two things. One…to keep from going absolutely nutter because of the funkiness….I start working my way higher up into the mountains where things are more stable, less effected by the weirdness, and trout are more eager to eat as the season starts early for smaller mountain stream trout. Walk and wading the upper river and its tribs is going to be a very normal thing this year in my opinion and I am already out hiking the banks of other rivers that feed the Yak in preparation. Two…other species of fish. I don’t snub fishing for other species. I just happen to be a trout minded individual. Its the way I am wired. But I didn’t always fish for trout. I grew up with bass on the brain for a long time. So something I do when things get Funky is go chase something else. Its like getting the Shanks in golf…sometimes you just gotta change it up.
So, tomorrow, I am going to chase my old friend Mister Largemouth and Smallmouth on Stan Coffin Lake in my stomping grounds of the Columbia Basin just east of us across the mighty Columbia River. Bass fishing is a little less involved than trout fishing. Less specific really, and while I could delve into the intricacies of bass fishing both on and off the fly, I won’t today. I will simply say, its fun to do, the flies are cool, the fish are typically HANGRY and full of awesomeness, and it keeps my trouty brain sane. I also have a guided bass trip coming up next week so I need to prep for it.
So when the river gets funky…its time for a change of species, or scenery, or watershed…or all of the above.
See you Riverside…or Lakeside in this weeks case.