Fishtober

The end of the season grind is here. I’m over 150 days in of guiding. The last 20 to 30 days available to book are here.  It’s been a season. One where I’ve had to pull myself up out of tragedy and some darkness. I’ve surrounded myself with family, close friends, and trout. I’ve spent more time in the woods this year and am camping the rest of the season until it’s over.

It’s been a different season with the off river stuff aside. And the guide life has had its run of shenanigans like a transmission costing me my winter savings, broken rods, 25% more overhead in fuel and food costs for trips, a June lull with the high water that didn’t help, and my guide rig getting smashed into and looted. There’s a flat tire and an axle problem in there somewhere too. A busy year both good and bad.

The fall is my favorite time and I’m one of the best this time of year. I’ve upped my guide game, gotten a little harder on clients, but still keep it pretty chill. I’ve had a great spring and decent summer run. This fall is shaping up to be one of the busiest. The end of October is still wide open with lots of good days to fill with trips and those anglers that aren’t faint of heart with the colder temps, have the chops to strap on those expensive waders and boots, layer up, and cast to hungry eager trout before they go down for the winter are rewarded with some of the best fishing you can find.

This early start to the fall has not disappointed.  It is here and the fish are big, plentiful and are dialed in and ready to smash flies. I’ve had some great days with lots of trout up.  I’ve had some tough days, but all have had shots at trout. And 80% on the dry all day erry day the past 2 weeks.

The season is a funky one. Trout are still on summer stones and some have switches to caddis. Mind you its October now and the fall bugs are just getting started as the trmps start to dip. We have almost 40 degree swings and that’s not super normal on an extended summer. Trees are starting to turn but it’s later this year. Like everything else. And that means fishing into November is a definite. Wooo!  Bwos and half days into the late season. Hot soup, bundled up, and casting little dries to big slurpy trout. Some of the hardest and most technical trouting one can get. It’s my favorite and is a short window every season.

This season saw a lot of new anglers. New faces and a lot of teaching. A lot of new starts and days with lots of missed shots but that’s part of this gig and I’m in it for the long haul building up clients and turning them into amazing anglers over time. And it’s going strong. The fall I get a lot of my regulars and anglers that have fished with me for 8 years. They can chase trout like the best of em. And I always look forward to those days as a guide in the late season. I’ve spent time and a lot of expertise teaching and guiding some of my anglers and those days can be some crazy days. And I’m always working clients that keep coming back and start out new to that level. It’s rewarding for everyone and it builds a brand and client base that follows me wherever I go.

The October Caddis are just getting started and that hatch will shift earlier and earlier into the day as it gets cooler. Craneflies are strong and still going. Lotta little fish on those this season. Big trout have been keyed up on summer stones since beginning of September and they keep hatching with the warm days.  The fish are just up on bigger bugs as the caddis are taking over the evening hatch as the stoneflies wane. And bwos are feeding aggressively in the low water algae growth and all the new riffles from the high water have made for some really neat holding amd feeding water for those little bugs. Big trout are on those little nymphs during the day in that faster and Boulder garden water eating the abundant small food source and then switch to big bugs as the light changes. Mornings and after 4 is big dry time. Dropper mid day.  Eggs and stones or caddis underneath for nymphing deep, and of course streamers always get nice fish with patience and work.  As it cools off the bwos will hatch and fish will fish on top even more, ravenous before the winter temps come in. So we get the best dry fly fishing there is on the Yakima over the next 30 days or so. It’s always good amd there are some chonky monster trout this season. Oooff. Like good fucken trout anglers.

There are days open and I’m always hungry for more before the winter creeps in. I’ll take days into November. There aren’t many left. 15 to 25 more guide days would be quite nice. I’d end on a solid 200 plus trips even with the June lull, and be good for the winter after a cost filled season.

Come on out. It’s always a good time in the fall.  Grab those waders and let’s get it anglers.

Tamarack

The summer closes

The summer is coming to a close…finally. Its been a weird one since June anglers. But a good one.

With the end of the summer comes my favorite time of year fir chasing trout. The Autumn. We are a few days into the flip flop on the Yakima when the river drops back down to her normal flow. Trout move into different water, start acting real trooty, and we return to regularly scheduled hatches with bugs a plenty for fish faces.

The cranefly hatch has already begun, and fish are starting to search out these tasty dangly morsels as they skitter and skate across the river surface. Drag free drifts go out the window and we skate dries to trout willing to chase down flies with aggression. The October Caddis Hatch has started to percolate and fish are already smashing orange flies throughout the day. Switching from hoppers and stones…to these bug rusty colored soggy moths bumbling around the rivers edges. And the mayflies return here has the temperatures drop. 2 pm will being about some of the greatest dry fly headhunting this river has to offer. I’ve been patiently waiting to work pida of feeders since our amazing March Brown Hatch back in late March and April. It’s some of the most technical but also rewarding fishing a trout angler can experience here on the Yakima River.

There are so many options, from beading eggs and swinging flesh flies as the salmon come in, to skating dries, to massive smashes on drag free drifts, soft hackle hook ups, stripped and swung up streamer eaters, and of course you can nymph…but you don’t have to. The Yak becomes wadable throughout the system, and floating becomes short distances and working the water on foot with precision. The fish pod up, congregate and seek out the best water for the easiest eats as they prepare for the winter as it slowly creeps in. It’s fucking sick.

Fishing has been stellar the past few days, and it only keeps getting better and more consistent. Days are filling up and we are well on our way to 200 trips this season. Which is fantastic.

October still has a lot of days open but they fill up fast with the mad dash to get one more day in before the season slows down. September is pretty much booked.

Open dates in September are the 8th coming up, the 20th through the 22nd, and the 27th through the 28th. That’s it anglers. October is open but not for long so grab a date soon. Depending on weather I run trips through November chasing those trout spey eats and the last of the bwo hatch sips and slurps before the slow down and I switch gears to fly tying and chasing sea run Cutts this season, and maybe winter run steel.

I am thankful to everyone this season for all the love and support. This season has had a lot.

With about 60 days left of the trout fishing I hope to share it with familiar and new faces before the winter sets in. Come out this Fall and enjoy and share the Yakima River and everything that I love about chasing trout and guiding clients on my favorite river in all of trout fishing.

See ya riverside anglers,

Tamarack

August Dates

August still has dates open. The 22nd thru the 25th. 27th and 28th. And thr 29th thru the 31st.

Fishing is really good anglers. We’ve got hoppers and summer stones, good water temps and flows, and the dry eat is fucken sweet right now. Half days in the morning and evenings. Full days starting early or late, amd we have walk and wades in the upper yak that are fishing really well.

We’ve only got 80 or so days left in the season. Let’s get after it anglers.

Tamarack

3/4 of the way through

The nights are getting shorter. It’s starting to cool in the highlands. The fishing is changing. It feels like a short summer is upon us and I am delighted.

This year has been a bit of a burden. I’ve had a rough go. Now car issues. Some weird fishing, it’s never enough money, always chasing more days, it’s been a grind.  A busy one, but feeling the pressures post covid and the cost of things lately…its thin.

Yes we’ve had some weird fishing this summer. Colder water temps have been a bit of a pain.  But August is fishing really well. We’ve got the summer stones, hoppers, and nymphing and streamers are really picking up fish. It’s been really good days.

I’ve gotten to fish more. I’ve taken time to fish more. Camp life suits me and I’m at a point now where too many minutes in town get me fatigued.  I really only want to be around people on the river. Elsewhere I’ve got little care. I’m in and out of town as quick as I can be. I prefer the woods. I don’t really hang out, I’m to busy.  I work, then I go fish, I do adult shit like phone calls, mobile deposit checks, laundry, check mail, refill water amd supplies, pay bills, search for a new rig, all while waiting for clients, during shuttles, or pulling off to the side of the road just before I lose service into the woods for 20 minutes after every trip to post, live stream, check I with kids, send emails, answer texts, try and order new rods, look for a fucking rig, book dates, send invoices, and all the other shit that goes into running this little operation all day, every day, all year long. I love this life. But this year especially after the past 2…its hitting hard.

But I spent time with some fish the other day.  When I wasn’t feeling to hot about things…and snorkeled. I love to fly fish, but there is a wonder and outright awesomeness to watching wild fish without any interaction other than eyes and maybe a swim by.

For 3 hours I watched sockeye, whitefish, rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, and every other little fish, smolt, and fry, just…be.  I watched from a distance hunkered against an underwater cliff edge that dropped to 20 feet.  A cascading passable waterfall churning current downward creating white bubbles to thick to see through or swim through. Except for the fish of course. I watched a large brown dart through the fast heavy current hunting.  I watch large and small rainbow podded up feeding together. A cutthroat darting about between them all quickly feeding and moving more than the other fish.  Whitefish plentiful along the bottom. 50 to 70 sockeye along the bottom moving in unison, waiting for the season change to head upwards towards the lakes. I watched and swam among them. I hid behind boulders, ducked under currents, and moved back to my shaded place along the cliff edge just out of site. They all going back to thier routines a few minutes after my absence. This fish are unreachable to anglers really. It’s not in a spot easy to access for fishing and it’s and underwater canyon, they can hide.  As I watched I saw the largest cutthroat I’ve seen in some time appear out of the backdrop. Camouflaged in until breaking into the open water. An amazing creature. Larger and older than most I’ve seen in that size and age. A huge kype, gorgeous leopard spots, deep red orange belly, magenta plates, and bright neon orange cutts.  I was in awe. He hadn’t noticed me yet. He moved into the feeding lane, fed a few times on nymphs, then the brown trout appeared. It saw the largest cutthroat and darted to the deepest water 40 feet away faster than I could see. The cutthroat turned and went deep in that direction. The brown came darting back out as fast as possible, like a flash, and went for the fast water into the rapid. The other fish veering out of the way. I could see the brown hunkered next to a large boulder against the fast current in an underwater Eddy or hydraulic against the boulder edge.

The cutthroat slowly came from the same place the brown darted from. Swam back into the feeding lane, the other fish gently moving out of the way, even the large rainbow at 18 inches or so that this cutthroat dwarfed. It fed a few more times. Less than a dozen. And then it moved towards me. He was withing a fin kick and a grab away just up river of me, showing me every beautiful scale of himself. Dark but rich in deep colors, and old, maybe his last year. He swam within 6 feet of me…then he noticed me as I sat motionless, holding my breath, hoping he’d swim away slowly and not dart. He noticed me, turned away from me down river into the current, I saw a large talon scrape along his back just behind the dorsal fin, healed over a few seasons but visible in the light. He saw me again, flicked his deep chartreuse tail with its leopard thumbprint sized spots, and took the current to the deeper water. He turned as he hit 12 feet down, followed a small smolt or Dace, came up behind it, flared his gills and sucked the small bait fish into its mouth in a single slow gulp. I was astonished. He did it leisurely! He turned towards the deepes water and took his time heading deeper. He tucked around a large boulder deep, some 22 feet down…on the bottom. In the darkest water save for a sliver of light around 5pm that made a green hue. I could see him next to the boulder and an old dead smooth branch. He blended into the backdrop and I couldn’t see him anymore. I swam over him when I left, but the salmon where over top of him, but he was there.

I realized that my love and passion for the world in which I interact with is what I am meant for. They are amazing creatures. My ability to understand them, chase them, conserve them, educate about them, is because of a deep passion that even I do not fully understand at times. No matter what this life has thrown at me or still has in store, I have my passion for fish and the happiness it brings me. Sharing these experiences between anglers and fish is what I do, it’s who I am. I work the problems this life and gig can give you, take care of my body while I put it through the shit all season, get better at guiding and fishing, fish almost every day guiding or otherwise. Chase different and more fish, travel guide other waters during the season, always guide the Yakima throughout my career. It is and always will be my favorite river. Out of all the places I’ve fished, the miles I’ve floated…the Yakima will always be a place I share experiences with clients, anglers, through guiding.

This life is what I’ve always wanted even when it’s hard. Today I got to teach new anglers, then hiked through the hoods and hitched a ride on another boat for a guides day off float with others, put people on trout with no guide pressure, just vibes, and fish, and rowing, and fishing, laughing, getting off river at dusk after a gorgeous sunset and a few nice trout. Slamming some food before close in a finally quiet Cle Elum just after dark as the sky lights up with stars. Driving down back roads 2 boats a few friends some sore muscles, a guide trip tomorrow, great tunes. A glass of wine or 2 at camp and some good times. A fellow group of campers playing folk music with a fiddle, acoustic bass, guitar, mandolin and a banjo around propane fire just yonder. They are just getting into another tune. The campground quiet except for their music dancing and playing amongst the moonlit trees soft rabble of the Teanaway, and the fiddle breaking the soft banter and singing throughout the forest delicately and delightfully.

Good evening anglers…tis a good night and I’ll see ya riverside.

Tamarack

This season has been busy. And there are dates open. September is filling up, and October into November fishing really good. We all know the fall season is the Yakima rivers best time.

I’ve got August 12th 14th and 16th. 21st thru 25th, coming up. With dates for the fall season booking. Come out for a trip of any type and share wild Yakima River Trout with me. I hope to see you riverside anglers. In any capacity. Go out, share, and enjoy fly fishing and the outdoors.

July is Full August here we go!

July has filled. My last dates booked this morning.

Right now we are filling August and September. August 4th through 8th is open. Our first weekend. There are plenty of days in August open amd it’s hopper season!

September is going to be amazing as always. After Sept. 10th the water drops amd this start to feel like fall fishing. Get your dates for Crane Flies mid to late September!

The fishing has been funky at times but the heat is here, the flows are high, and fish gotta eat. Water temps are warming and we are able to float the upper river with a little take out and put in guide MacGuyvering.

Half days, mornings and evenings, full days, overnight floats, and walk and wades are all open for August. Let’s chase trout anglers!

Tamarack

The Hopper Run

It’s hopper season coming up. Late July and most of August is when grasshoppers start becoming a readily available food source for Trout pushed into the banks due to the high summer flows. The Yak is a tailwater after all and these trout know how to play this game.

You’ve got 2 options during the summer hoppers. Fish wicked early in the am and be on water with the sun or before. There is a summer stonefly hatch in the evening or early AM like 2 to 4am. Trout are on a nightly feeding cycle when water temps get above 55 56 degrees. And they are starting to get that warm. Trout metabolism is at its peak with those water temps and they basically have to eat all the time as they are burning through calorie intake fast with heavy flows and nominal water temps. This is the advantage to the angler. Trout are hungry and they are easier to find when they are tight to bank looking for easy eats that fall off the banks, overhangs, grass lines, and trees.

Much like what they due for caddis which also congregate around the edges of the river for mating and then ovipositng. Trout are conditioned to feed off the bank on the Yakima.  An evolved behavior that is specific to the type of bugs but also they type of water amd river our trout have during the summer months. Most places have less water and fish are having to move more to find cold water…think the Madison in August. Or the Joe, they get really small and fish behave differently. The Yakima bumps up flows to its maximum and holds them there for 3 months. Fish behave differently here due to that kind of constant stimulation in thier environment and the adapt well, within a generation.  So fish know what’s up on the Yak.

That early AM feed is when the larger trout, with better eyesight, who prefer to eat in darkness or low light, feed ravenously on stoneflies and bank bugs.  As we hit them in the morning they are still keyed onto that stonefly migration and oviposit.  But trout can’t tell the difference between a pink hopper and a tan stonefly in the dark or low morning light. So they crush shit, really hard.  Trying to fill up thier bellies to bursting. As the heat and sun come out amd the surface water temps rise, larger trout will descend in the water column due to high barometric pressure, seek out colder faster water, or tuck in tight to the slivers of shaded fast water along the banks.  They are seeking cover and oxygen, surviving off the midnight and morning feed through the afternoon, or snacking on nymphs, and then they come back out at dusk and start all over.

That night time feed starts late, around 7. And goes until the next morning.  Water temps hit their peak in the evening and start a cooling trend downward around 2 am.  Fish feed as the temps come up, and then punch as much into thier faceholes as that temp drops knowing the pressure is going to shift as the sun rises. If water temps crest 62 63, trout can be sluggish, because they can’t breath as well in hotter water which has less oxygen content.  Trout want want things to be 52-58, that’s the prime water temp zone.

Whatever your preference there are 1 to 3 hour windows of intense dry fly action tight to the bank in the mornings and evenings on the Yakima through the summer. It’s already starting in sections of the river.

The afternoons can be great nyphming and streamers but half day floats just hitting those sweet spots is really where it’s at anglers.

So what is a Hopper Run?  A hopper run is when I do a longer than normal float. Say 10 to 15 miles. The river is high and fast.  I teach you how to fish a single big dry or a dry dropper rig…but mostly and single dry, as tight to the bank and into the fast moving hydraulic water and seams along the river.  It’s hard, it’s fast paced, it can be really intense work, and requires anglers to listen, cast well, and set the hook and play big trout like a mother fucker. These trout got shoulders, are adults have full bellies, and know how to use that heavy current to take line, run, jump, bull dog, and roll.  Fighting fish on hopper runs takes skill.  I don’t stop the boat. We land fish moving at speed and chase them down river if they are really nice. I don’t get out, you don’t get out, we just hit every single fucken spot with 2 or 6 good casts. You’ll reach cast, you’ll drop cast, hit flies off of rocks and the bank to drop the fly in position, you’ll get 4 to 6 feet of drag free drift, pick it up and huck it back in there with no false cast a 2nd and 3rd time. Firing off a trouts lateral line with each smack of the big try, trying to entice them to seek it out and smash the every living hell out of it. 

You’ll get hoover eats, where they suck the fly down underwater to drown it as they eat. You’ll get turn and burn down river swipes and slash takes, you’ll get big explosive smashes and turns on flies, and you get lazy, sneaky, methodical eats. All the good stuff, on the dry, just fucking your life up with trout all morning or all evening. It’s rad.

Requires early rising. Like on water at 4 and 5 am. Or off river at 10:30 pm. I like to run 2 a days with a halfer in the AM and a halfer in the PM. Sleep during the day. Maybe 4 hrs a night and just catch trout, lose my voice hooting and hollering, and making money. Thats a hopper run. Just getting after it.

That’s what is coming and is already starting anglers. It’s a big cold water year and trout are loving it. So come on out and give it a try. It’s a different way I fish this time of season. Instead of breaking things down and working less water, we just go for it until it gets hot and then start over as it cools off. Missing the floaters, tuber, rafters, 9 to 5ers, and only a handful of guides amd anglers getting into that shit.

Let’s go, dates are open and this season has awesome water for the summer. Its great flows and water temps, sun is out, and the fish…they are eating anglers.

See ya riverside,

Tamarack

The Joe

There are times as a guide where I need to check out and get lost in trout fishing and the experiences that come with it. As a guide I am facilitating those experiences, as an angler I have the opportunity to have them happen naturally to me. No pressure from guiding or performing, just fishing.

The Joe is a place for that to happen for me. This trip was special in many ways. I needed a break, I needed to unplug, heal through those experiences, and lose myself in what I live for. And I was fortunate enough to make this St. Joe trip with a fellow guide and friend to share in those experiences and moments.

Over 4 days I got lost in fishing. There was a lot of fish, a lot of rowing, conversation, camp life, and exhaustive fishing that by the end made me tired of it and ready to come back to my homewater. Exactly what I was after.

I could get into all the fish and scenery, but this trip was more about me selfishly, and not about promoting myself, my angling or guiding, or anything like that. I barely took pictures. We saw Moose, an amazing moonrise one night, some of the prettiest water a river can have, gorgeous wild cutthroat and one illusive young bull trout that graced us with her presence. An amazing trip.

I witnessed a golden stonefly hatch like no other above Avery, hundreds of golden stoneflies oviposting as the sun took its long set one evening. I had the pleasure of rowing and fishing a section of river I’ve always wanted to but haven’t gotten the chance until this trip, it did not disappoint. I had the privilege of sharing the trip with someone who appreciates and has a deep seated respect and passion for fly fishing that rivals my own.  All the expectations of a fly fishing trip were met and then some this time on the St. Joe and I am all the richer and recharged because of it.

Headhunting wild trout slurping on spinner falls, big streamer takes, amazing dry fly eats, fast water runs and boulder gardens, riffles for days, and bugs that were plentiful. An angling partner that could row me in water I’ve always wanted to fish from a boat, and days where 50 plus fish were seen at the end of my line. I am truly blessed with a life filled with amazing moments in the places trout call home.

And while my non guiding river time is one of the most precious things to me and I am very selct with who, where, and how I fish on my days off.  My company this trip could not have been better. Like minded trouty people on a wild trout river for 4 days is an adventure in itself. The conversations, the shenanigans, the breakdown of water and trout, the different perspectives, and a connection over water, rivers, and wild fish is something all us anglers strive to find.

Sometimes things just need to be experienced in real time and that’s what they are. Trying to recreate those moments in words are almost impossible. They are to real, too deep, to connected to describe. They must be felt, seen, heard, smelled, the very essence of experience and adventure. As a guide we offer a taste of those things facilitated through expertise, knowledge, and professionalism, but it is nothing compared to the raw natural experience that can be found just between a person or two and the river.

I am in work mode so blogging isn’t my focus at the moment but a quick blurp about my trip and why it isn’t blasted all over social media seemed appropriate. This trip was for me, and it’s not a secret, clients can ask and I will talk, but its a trip too deep and filled with rich experiences that aren’t really best shared over text or blog or posts. Its a face to face, people to people kind of thing. Stuff to talk about on the river.

It was a special trip to me to say the least and one I will never forget and will always be comparing others too. My time on the Joe was exactly everything I could have hoped for and that right there is all that really needs to be said. Those who know the Joe will understand. Those that have had similar experiences on thier own fishing trips also know. Sometimes it’s just getting lost in fishing and that’s okay.

Recharged for the rest of the season I am happy and excited to be back on the Yak and back to guiding. Work is there but there can always be more. And with 3 and half months of the season left its time to grind and get after it. Plus the fishing here is excellent.

So thats the Joe. Sometimes you just need to check out and chase fish and be a trout bum for a few days with another trout bum. Not easy to explain, but some of us get it.

See ya riverside anglers,

Tamarack

July Open Dates

I’ve got the following July dates open.

14th and 16th

21st 22nd 24th

29th 30th 31st

That’s what I’ve got open. I’m headed tonthr St. Joe for a few days and will have my kids this month so these are probably the only dates I’ve got open.

I also have another Teanaway wading clinic on July 17th with spots open. Morning and evening Half Day Floats Trips are available as well as Full Day and Walk and Wade Trips.

August is around the corner and the hopper fishing is gonna be wicked! Get a date in August for some of the most awesome dry fly fishing in the summer. It’s big dries and flashy streamer fishing time anglers. Let’s go.

Reserve a trip today!

See ya riverside anglers!

Tamarack

In it.

I can’t sit still. Haven’t been able to since I started hiking mountains for work. The guidelines suits me…as mine never stops. Today was one of those days. I have been off river for 3 whole days. Which doesn’t sound like a lot but when you’ve been on everyday for weeks straight it makes a difference. I bummed up my knees so took it easy, I had adult shit too do, and didn’t take care of all of per usual. Off river shit is me sitting still. I’m still all-over the place but I’m stuck in my car, dealing with people outside of clientele, and spending money that I don’t want to be. Adult shit.

Today I guided. One of my best, most frequent, and of course favorite clients. It wasn’t anything other than simple fishing amd great conversation. Lots of little trout, good looking water, my favorite flows this time of season, and no one else on the stretch we ran. Mmmm. Doesn’t matter the fishing that shit is priceless out here. I run Hanson and State more than any other float amd probably more than any other guide. It’s my favorite float no matter the time of year. I know it in my sleep. Every square inch of it. And it’s changed since the high water so it’s even juicier. I know how the fish move throughout the season, I known what they eat and where and why, it’s mother fucking dialed. Today was wicked fun but I wanted more.

So I did it again. Was back on water at 6 and fished till almost 10. Wanted to see if the big trout were up in the evening. They weren’t as much as I wanted. Which means they are full. Because they normally would eat like crazy against the high flows…but the water is almost 5 degrees colder than other seasons. I checked my journals and notes. So…they don’t have to eat as much. And the high summer sun is here and they fucken hate that sunshine on this river. So…if they are full…and they aren’t smacking shit in the shade during the day or tight to bank, and I’m not seeing them…they are cramming nymphs in thier gullets, and they are probably crushing shit in the early morning low light. It’s fucken time to get up early anglers.

I only get up early for 2 things…trout…and things not rated for blog posts. And getting 400 plus bucks to get up at the ass crack of dawn to be on water when big troots are slupring….ya…I’ll do that shit all summer long, then do it again at 3 to 10:30 pm. All damn day! Give me 12 plus hrs on water shit I’ll take 16. There’s enough light. Let’s go. Ever fished upper Alaska in the summer!? Ya let’s go anglers.

I’m on water early tomorrow. We’ll shall see if my mind is right.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack