As per usual, the Yakima is being cold-hearted. Winter was like, “Oh, you all wanna go fishing and have skwallas in February…well that’s just too damn bad!”
Last week, I saw my first few skwallas fluttering around. Like 4 bugs. We lost our cool a little, but it was too chill and a bit too early still. Insert big sigh…
Even right now, it’s absolutely gorgeous out. Sunny, but fuck me, it’s cold. Like 25 degrees cold. And it’s always cooler riverside. Water temps are still around 40. Needs to come up a tad. The sun helps. It keeps the water temps stable until this weather snaps to warmer. We saw a 60-plus degree air temp last week. Little tease of what’s to come..here next Monday. And yes, like every skwalla hatch it’s a crapshoot, and one of those should be next week kind of things…damn weather.
That being said, it is going to happen. We needed this rush of frigid air. Really seal in all the stuff that melted soft up on those mountains. We want our snow pack to be like that hard to get out of the freezer shit. That way, it won’t all melt in April and blow the river out for a month. It still could happen, but extended forecasts say otherwise.
I’ve done my homework. I looked at all the charts, blogs, and noaa stuff. It’s looking pretty normal. This cold snap and snow up high are pretty normal. Little later than usual and slightly colder than average, but meh…not too bad. But the real focus is the next two weeks. I promise this time.
Cold will move through by the weekend. It’s going to be single digits; it’s gonna snow through the 28th. But then it breaks. Finally. We will see 40 plus degree days with lows in the mid to high 20s. Which is awesome. 60 degrees feels amazing, but it’s March. I’ll take 50 degrees and a little muggy with the moisture and melt. We also need things to melt slowly. Not all at once. We don’t need 8000 cfs in the river. Fucks the whole process up! This is one of those things about guiding that still after 8 seasons stresses me out. One super power…control the weather. Is it too much to ask for?
Skwallas will come that first week of March. May not peak until near the end of the second with the current forecasts. We see a slight uptick in flows closer to 1500 2000 cfs that first work of March…that shit is money! Gets cold, warms up just a bit, moves fish, brings temps slowly up to 42-45, fish transition to spawning easily and naturally like they’ve got to the past 2 seasons…it all has the makings for awesomeness. This is why the calendar is almost full. Wooo.
However. There’s a lot of weekdays open during those first 2 weeks still. And I can’t catch all the fish on skwallas myself. It’s better 2 at a time. The river is busy on the weekends, obviously, so I push for weekday trips.
The dates that are still open during this time frame we are discussing above are:
March 1st-3rd. March 6th-10th these four days….mmmm…they look real good! And the 16th and 17th. I also have another Clinic on March 20th that is open.
After that, skwallas will probably wane; fish will eat em, but the hatch will have peaked. Bwos aren’t far off either, and we should see them in the afternoons next week, too! Dry flies!
After the 20th, skwallas will wane, but fish will still eat them. Bwos should start next week in the afternoons, too. March Browns aren’t far off. As the water warms and fish start to move around and transition for spawning, the swinging will only get better. We’ve consistently got into at least 1 good one every time we put some time in, which will improve over the next 2 months. That cold weather made those fish super sleepy, and that warming trend we had for a few weeks just wasn’t quite enough to jumpstart us as early as we all would have preferred.
But it means we have a good snow pack, and trout have gotten fat and happy the past month eating nymphs and slow slurping sculpin. All the fish have been fat the past 2-3 weeks. A little different than a month plus ago when they were a little snakey, coming out of the winter. As the flows change and temps come up…they have to eat even more. Awwww ya!
So there it is, my breakdown of the next few weeks of what fishing should look like. Flows might get close to 2500 2700 cfs by mid-March. Which is just peachy with me. Pushes shit around and puts fish in the obvious water in the upper. Mmmm.
So let’s fill up some more dates and chase trout anglers. These conditions are looking mighty appealing. Come out and take a crack at skwalla and swinging and all that troots stuff we river people do.
Skwalls special runs through March. $325 for 2 anglers. Come get some!
See ya riverside anglers,