A look back before it starts.

I’ll be starting my 9th guide season in a few weeks. There’s a lot that has changed and is changing here on the Yakima. Some of it for the better, some not so much, but it’s still one of my favorite rivers. A river I’ve had a long almost 20-year relationship with now.

I started fishing the Yakima and Fly Fishing when I was 18 after I started college in Ellensburg at CWU. I caught my first trout on my own nymph fly just near the upper ringer loop access. It was mid-February just before my 19th birthday. If you were to tell me then that I was going to be a guide, I would have laughed at you. I had plans to be a corporate IT guy.

2008 happened job market tanked as I exited college and I had to pivot. Over my time in college, I ended up fishing regularly. Skipped a lot of class. I’m probably still banned from the Japanese Garden and Koi Pond on CWU campus for getting caught on camera fishing pellet flies for those fancy carp. Twas a good thing I got good at fishing.

I bought my boat in 2010 and was pretty decent at rowing within a few years. It wasn’t until I was guiding that my chops for rowing really took off. I got experience guiding other things, dabbled in business ownership, had it fail, and moved into the fly fishing guiding world in 2015.

I worked for Reds when I started. But quickly realized I wanted more than they could give, and I didn’t like working for others. College and my time in business and owning my own made me realize I could do this gig solo, so I did. My 2nd year was great. 3rd even better. The business grew, and I got better, and my clients excelled and learned.

2020 came and knocked the shit out of me. I’m still recovering in a few ways from that. Last year 2022, we had a huge rebound year. It was also a tumultuous year personally. So I did what I do best. I guided. I did more trips and fished more days than I ever have. Despite people thinking my math was off for 207 guide trips, 15 two a days is 30 trips in 2 weeks. That’s how you stack trips on the Yak anglers. I worked my ass off last year. It showed in a less stressful off-season and a new perspective on my guiding moving forward.

This year, there are over 50 days already booked. All the way out to October. My spring calendar is almost full, with only about a dozen days left open in March and April. I’ll be here on the Yakima until Memorial Day. I head to Michigan that weekend for most of June as I network, learn the fisheries, and look for guide jobs for the 2024 season.

I’ll be purchasing my skiff this season… finally. With enough money coming in the spring to put a down payment on a new boat, I’m incredibly excited to get back to the guide grind. By October this year, a new boat will be in my arsenal, ready for saltwater and new adventures. Come late October, I get to snowbird down south and begin the next phase of my business, which is learning the southern saltwater fisheries, captains license, and spending my 40s getting good at something new.

Looking back at all the trips and days on the water… It’s all been a slow work up towards this move. I never had any intention of only ever guiding or fishing the Yakima. I’ve traveled to some of the best fisheries, the PNW, Alaska, Canada. Montana and Idaho have to offer. There is more out there. I’m excited and proud of myself for working towards this goal and these adventures. I never set out to be the best or the busiest or the fishiest, but to enjoy my life and work and be content.

The Yakima River over the past 19 years has kept me quite content. This season will be my last full-time one here. Bigger and different adventures await. I’m looking forward to it this year don’t get me wrong. The stoke to guide is very high. I love guiding and teaching, I’m one of the best at it. I find my enthusiasm for fishing myself lower these days. Less stimulating, so to speak. And that says it all right there.

Sharing this river and it giving me my livelihood and sanity over the past decade will always be immeasurable. I will always have a place in my heart for this river. It is my homewater.

This season is shaping up to be one of the banger ones. We have normal snow pack, we have normal weather, we have lots of troots, there are bugs, and there are 78 miles of river ready to be deciphered for anglers. I anticipate a really good season looking forward with weather and conditions.

It’s also going to be one of the busiest seasons I’ve seen. More and more anglers frequent the Yakima. More and more people recreate here. It’s February, and I’ve seen more boats and anglers than I ever have this time of year. I cannot stress enough how busy it will be. Plan accordingly. It’s why I’m pushing early bookings and limiting my days to 150-175. There will be days when 50 boats will be on the water. 100 plus waders. We saw it last season. Be ready. I’ll be creative and strategic with my floats and trips this year in order to relieve some of that pressure, but it’s gonna be a crazy one.

Be prepared to fish different times and different floats. To hike down to the boat, that wad left overnight to get first dibs or be spaced out from other boats. Be ready to get off in one spot and then put the boat back somewhere else and fish different chunks of river at different times. You’ll get your money’s worth and then some with me this year.

We are shooting for 15 to 25 trips each, for March, April, and May. March only has 11 days left open. The rest are for me to fish. I might not see the Yak in the spring again for some time. April has 18 days open. 10 of those would be nice.

May…I wasn’t planning on being here at all in May. But with the current snow packs and the extended forecast, I’m gonna stick it out for Yakima Caddis. The Yakima will always be a caddis river first, and last year, the Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch wad ridiculous until the water blew out to over 7 Gs. The first 20 days of May are open for guiding and evening floats for caddis eats! I love caddis and fishing past 7pm on the Yakima. Come out for the Mother’s Day Caffis hatch this season. Skate dries, pick off feeders along the banks, soft hackles, pupas, our trout go stupid for caddis.

I listed my blocks of open dates below. I highly recommend a half day starting later. Most guides still wanna be off at 5 pm. I don’t. Morning floats are for August and September. Skwalls, BWOs, and March Browns all are active after noon for the next 2 and a half months. 9 am is too early. I’ve got compounded years of experience here on the Yakima…trust me. Caddis are an evening game. 6 to 9pm is the sweet spot. So again, plan accordingly because we fish when trout eat, not those banker or amusement park ride hours.

It’s still early. I’ve fished a few days in a row now, and it’s been slow. Skunked yesterday. Water temps are still sub 45. And yes, you’ll get a day when 6 to 10 will come to the fly. But it’s 1 day in 5 that happens still. That’s nothing more than being lucky to be fishing that day. As we enter March, it changes. Becomes predictable, consistent, conditions align in the favor of the angler, and the trout gods bless the rivers with life and abundance so that anglers may partake and enjoy. In March. February is always a crapshoot. After the first weekend in March is when they switch will flip. I swear these fish now what day of the week it is anglers. If you can. Avoid a weekend. If you can’t, Holla at me and let me help you find places others won’t be. If you’re booked on a weekend this year, be prepared to get funky.

I didn’t become this good by just running the river like everyone else. I work it, learn it, listen to it, on it almost every day, and maybe only a dozen guides fish their days off here regularly. I’ll plug anglers in and keep things up to speed this season with reports on conditions, including angler and boat traffic.

I’ll be live streaming while fishing this year so clients get ready to be on the spit at times! We will be predicting our days and weeks and checking back in with anglers post trips and each week to see how we did what we learned and how it may change. We are gonna get into the tight work, the excellent casts, the one and done drifts, the perfect hook sets, all the stuff and things. If you’re experienced and think you know how to fish…I’m gonna find out and let ya know. I’ll pull more awesomeness and excellence out of you. If you’re new. You won’t be after a day with me. You will learn better than most, and you will understand fishing and be able to find success without me. Which is always my goal at the end of the trip. You don’t need guides to catch fish. But a good guide will make you better and teach you how to get better.

I’m looking forward to this year. I have hundreds of stories, experiences, and moments shared with clients and anglers here on the Yakima. If I could pay bills with smiles, handshakes, and bent rods, I would anglers. It’s never been about the money. Chasing my passion, having a little financial stability, and living a fly angler life, content, and happy is all it has ever been for.

Come experience fly fishing on the Yakima with me this season. We are just getting started.

Open dates for March, April, and May.

March: 1st-3rd, 5th-10th, 13th-14th.

April: 4th-7th, 10th-14th, 16th-21st, 23rd, 29th-30th.

May: 1st thru 20th. Caddis Hatch around thr 10th. Get ’em.

Reserve dates, anglers. I’ve got July through October dates open as well. Only 100 or so days left open to reserve before it’s full. Might be one of the last chances to get a guide trip with me during certain hatches on the Yakima moving forward. Book days, support your local trout bum guide, and help me buy a new and expand business to new waters and experiences.

I hope to see you riverside this season anglers.



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