Will it break!?

Fuck that groundhog. Little varmint was right. I hate the cold and the snow.  Winter has a bitter grasp on the river, and it’s been a slow slushy grind to the winter breaking.

Fishing hasn’t changed since December really, and I always say that February is a crapshoot, and this one was on par. A few okay days but mostly cold and slow.

We are having a more normal year. We’ve got nominal snow packs, and temps are just below average, which is a good thing. We have average precipitation, and in all honesty, the river is about where she should be for late February.   With the ice flowing down river again the past few days, the water temps will be hovering just above freezing and will take some time and rather warm days to come back up. Tis, why I’ve been pushing March and April, especially hard. Once it starts anglers…its gonna be real silly out there.

Skwallas will really start moving as we enter the 2nd week of March. As the conditions peak for the ‘hatch’ and the fish keying in on them really ramp up. It’s gonna  be cold leading up to those 45 plus degree days, sunshine, and overnight lows, staying above 32 degrees. Once they show up and we get 3 to 5 of them in a row,… that’s when shit gets silly. It’ll be like a light switch turned on, and it will happen quickly. I’m guessing the 2nd week of March is when it turns.

As March really gets going, we will get more food options, spawning behavior, and warmer water temps that sit right in the sweet spot for trout fishing. The BWOs, the March Browns, Skwallas, and that streamer game really pick up as we come into April.

April is money for the March Brown mayfly hatch. It’s a big hatch for the Yakima, it lasts for 3 to 6 weeks, starts like clockwork around 2pm everyday, and it’s some of the most consistent small dry fly fishing we get to partake in here on the Yakima. I highly recommend it. It’s quite nice, presents anglers with lots of opportunities to test their dry fly fishing abilities and get learnt by the guide and the trout during some really amazing fishing.

I love teaching anglers to headhunt in the spring. We get 3 good hatches for dry fly days with Skwallas, Bwos, and the March Brownies. Headhunting is one of the more challenging ways to fish for Trout and requires a lot of technical casting, water reading, and fly presenting skills as well as perfect timing, no missed hook sets, and the ability to play trout well. It also requires good listening skills. Headhunting is not to be taken lightly and is when I, as a guide, am at some of my most intense moments. I have high expectations and can get any skill level of angler to present and land these types of fish during these encounters. But it requires teamwork.

I look forward to this kind of fishing and the challenge guiding it presents.  Still to this day, I see guides and anglers pass these kinds of trout encounters up for easier opportunities and less challenging angling. I don’t pass rising fish.  We are gonna take shots. If there are risers, the bobbers get put away.

I still only nymph about 20% of the time during the spring. Streamer eats are more consistent and less boring in between takes. That being said, nymphing has its place, and I do rag on nymph fishing a lot. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s not my cup of tea, and in my experience, just as many fish are caught on dries as nymphs when done right.

In the spring, I use nymphing to teach how to break down a hatch.  When we know skwallas are moving during this time, there’s a reason to nymph specific water that trout would be holding in to feed. When March Browns come off at 2 pm every day, there is a 45-minute to 2 hr window prior to that time that gives anglers a perfect opportunity for excellent nymphing. I nymph with a purpose not with hope and to just comb the water column and bottom of the river. Nymphing has a time and place for me, and it’s used accordingly when it’s most effective and produces consistent results.

As April ends, we transition out of spring and into summer. Caddis through the 20th of May is what’s on the menu. And maybe Salmon Flies if we are lucky. I’ll be around until the 20th of May before I high tail it to Michigan until July for networking and setting up guiding for 2024. It will correspond with the Yakimas high water and bum-tastic fishing. I’ll be be back for proper summer time fishing in July.

So that’s what we have coming up. A slow creep into the spring. A big switch when it warms up in 6 to 10 days and an almost full spring calendar.

I won’t be on the Yakima full-time next season, anglers. I’ll be down south until March in 2024. Down payment on a new saltwater skiff is in the works. This might be your last chance to get guide days with me during specific hatches like Skwallas and March Browns moving forward. I’ll always guide days on the Yak, but they won’t be all of them. So come out for the 2023 season and chase some wild trout. I’ll teach ya stuff, make it so you can find success without a guide, and have a better understanding of fly fishing and trout.

I’ve got days open those first 2 weeks of March and lots in April and May still. See below.

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

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

May: 1st-4th 6th thru 20th. Caddis Hatch around thr 10th. Get ’em.

I hope to see ya riverside anglers. The season is about to start.



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