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!
See ya riverside anglers!