The Teanaway. 2.0

The river is swollen. And as it should be. Am I upset that I can’t really fish because she’s running at 4500cfs and is literally on the bank and then like 2 more inches. The river sides are swampy! Yes I’m upset. But it’s late May and we have amazing snow pack, so ya…its like fake runoff.

The reservoirs are full. The 4 lakes, Kachelus, Kachees, via lake Easton and Lake Cle Elum that feed the headwaters above the Teanaway are at capacity anglers. What is flowing into them is coming out of them. And a little extra. And now that the warmer days are here…there’s gonna be more qater coming down. The Teanaway has had a little runoff earlier in March, but the cold nights, wet weather, and immense snow pack is slowly trickling out. And the flood plain restoration is working. I’ve seen it. Drove up to look at that swampy mess just the other day. River looks fishy, but its wicked cold. But they are in there.

As things start to heat up we are in for some high water. The prediction charts are already saying over the Memorial Weekend the flows could reach minor flood stage. And if the Teanaway decides to top 1500 to 2000 cfs in the next 2 weeks the river will hit 6000 to 7000 cfs if the reservoirs have to keep spilling…because they are at capacity anglers.

So…things could get real funky. And that’s why I’m cranky! Gonna have to switch it up, chase bass and Lake fish and shit. Ugh. But hey it’ll keep me from being bored and with a roof top incoming its easy to be mobile and camp and search out places. I know a good chunk. But I’ve got a few on the radar. Anglers need options and the Yak is being sassy.

The Yakima has a right to surge. She’s had a rough go since that shit ass drought in 2015. It hasn’t been an easy journey. Thankfully a lot of restoration work, better management of resources, and more educated angling and non angling communities; through a plethora of local, state, tribal, and federal organizations we have a system that is thriving…its on a line…but it’s thriving. Our battle against climate change and other issues our freshwater watersheds face is one we can make ground on. And we are getting snow pack and it hasn’t lit on fire for a while. That’s also due to work but that’s a whole other thing.

I’ve had the privilege of being a part of that and giving my time to the resource I hold dear and literally live off of. It’s important that work continues throughout my career in angling across any and all watersheds I guide. While the river has her “salmon pulse/faux runoff” I’ve got small water on the brain.

The Teanaway, I wrote blog years ago about the Teanaway, it’s still most read entry to date. It still gets reads. I actually haven’t read it in a few years. Just a quick little aide note if anything has been repeated from the previous post.

I cherish the Teanaway. I’ve spent time in it’s valleys and forests, and played in it’s waters since I was a small child. Before the roads were paved. I used to snowmobile, and bike, I had Boy Scout trips up there. My family lived in the area so we played up here frequently. 29 Pines was a normal.ppace to go in the summer for the day. When I got older, I started hiking and skiing, and my first experiences as a outdoor guide were in the Teanaway. I climbed all her peaks, fell of Iron and almost lost my brother on another. Seen the whole state from up top, the fire lookout, hiked the old forgotten trails, been to a few mines and caves, seen trees that are old…like really old, before people old, and almost as tall as sequoia. I’ve found hidden waterfalls and tarns, laid cairns for other mountaineers and hikers. I’ve volunteered to hike pit toilets in and out, was on search and rescue, helped during the fires in more ways than I can remember, was a trail angel for thru hikers, I encountered bears, wolves, badgers, owls, otters, elk, deer, pine martin, and mountain goats. I’ve made the summit of Mt. Stuart twice, and all the enchantment peaks except 2, skied the lines of the ridges, got fucked around in a small avalanche in the neighboring Blewett Pass. The things I have experienced within the folds of the Teanaway are the fabric that sews and holds me together.

It opens this Saturday for fishing and man am I stoked. When I first started fishing most of my time in the summer was spent trudging around the forks of the Teanaway in a shitty old pair of Hodgman Waders and heeled felt soled boots. Hot as balls, in my own soup, throwing my way to long 5wt for Trout the size of my arm. I lost so many fish, and I learned so much from every encounter I had with trout. I was a self taught angler at my start. I didn’t start frequenting fly shops until later. In 04-08 I was told the Teanaway was a good place to go in the summer when the river is high by Tim Irish so I went. I didn’t have a boat except a little Scadden pontoon and the Yak scared me back then in the summer. I never even tubed it.

The Teanaway gave me the passion of angling and exploration with trout as the main goal of the journey. I learned to read the water through trial and error, learned to headhunt, what bugs and flies matched, I took journals upon journals of my time up here fishing in my earlier days. Most of what I learned transfered to the Yakima as I began to develop as an angler. It led to me getting a boat. That want to float, to explore and learn more, encounter more, I started feeling that need to chase trout, and the Teanaway was where it started. It still holds that passion for me, and even though I’ve literally seen all of it…it changes, it holds secrets, and wants to teach and learnt me things. It talks to me all the time, especially as the summer approaches. There is still a major part of the angler in me that just wants solitude and small mountain stream fly fishing. But it’s not just fishing, hiking, and skiing.

I have snorkeld every inch of every fork of the Teanaway River. So I have seen every inch of it. I have seen its jewels of Westslope Cutthroat, Chinook Salmon, Mountain Whitefish, and salmon smolt. I’ve witnessed the illusive Wild Native Steelhead, and the rainbow trout cousins that frequent the pools and riffles. The sandstone bedrock exposed, it shouldn’t be but it is, it’s beauty and scar from years of logging, mining, stripping, irrigating, and straighting to accommodate human needs and wants.

It’s amazing to swim in that sandstone. A way to enjoy it before the flood plain hopefully restores it with gravel and riverbed over the years. It creates amazing underwater chutes and slides that propel the brave, faster forward than one could ever swim even with fins. You glide and twist, dart and curve about like the trout that join you from time to time. The log jams…oh the log jams are a sight. So much happens under and in them. Like an underwater truck stop. I can sit and watch the water slide underneath them for hours. Fish and other critters in bountiful numbers and the spectrum of shapes, sizes, and species. The Teanaway is beautiful above and below the waters. The Teanaway is a gem to our county and the state. The community forest and the work that’s been done here is a testament to how you care for our public lands and spaces.

When I stepped away from fly fishing to guide hiking and run a store in Cle Elum I always had my fly rod in my pack and would always take time to fish. I got the name Tamarack from the thru hikers because they would see me in the fall months with my rod in tow, Tamarack because that’s when the larches change color. Lot of Lake Ingalls hikes. It stuck and I’ve kept it going with my business. So many things from the Teanaway are what make me who I am today. My children have all learned to fish up here. I’ve shared experiences with people, clients, friends, anglers, I will hold close forever. I make new memories now with my partner in the Teanaway doing more and different things that I’ve never done. It’s continues to enrich my life after 30 plus years. Especially when shared with someone special.

When I came back to fly fishing in 2015 as a guide the Teanaway was a hellscape. Fried, no water, fish dying. By August 2015 the river dried up in the middle fork, less than 8 cfs in the west and the north fork was less than 30, getting all the way down to 11cfs at one point. It was horrible. I watched fish die in the upper north fork near the source. I cried watching them eat each other trying to make it to the colder months. Bugs stopped hatching, predators had thier fill, fish just couldn’t breath with 70 plus degree water temps. We did what we could, but it was apparent she was going to take time to come back and needed a lot of help.

Flown in log jams, beaver relocation, culvert work, flood plain restoration, reforestation, riparian zone repair, bank repair, livestock management, more efficient irrigation and management, axing suction dredge mining, and more than I either can’t remember or don’t know. It’s a lot, millions and millions of monies and hundreds of thousands of people hours working on it. I was a small fraction of that process. But a part of it. When I fish the waters now I keep that in mind. The trout the size of my arm have returned after years away; their home refrisbished and working towards something better.

The bugs are back, as are the critters, the salmon too, and my westslope cutthroat are here…because they haven’t been in the Yakima…and this is where they’ve always wanted to be, trying desperately to join the mountain goats high in the mountains where the cold water they thrive in originates. Silly westslope cutthroat trout just want to be in the highlands hiding, camouflaged into the backdrop of the log jams and sandstone…waiting to feed, or maybe hiding from the few wild bull trout I hope are starting to return too….

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack Trout

Last Dates

I’ve still got openings Memorial Weekend. I had a last minute cancelation on the 28th. The 30th and 31st are also open.

Come enjoy the warmer temps, some trout chasing, and get outside! I’m running $400 Full Day Specials for those dates. Saves ya $50.

Enjoy the weekend with some trout!

Tamarack

Here comes the Grind!

The season is in full swing now anglers. The only thing that gets in the way of fishing now is the wind. The water temps are up, the bugs are hatching regularly, and trout are coming out of the spawn and feeding.

This season has already been busy. And it’s shaping up to be the busiest I’ve had. Working towards 200 guide days and we are on track. Still need to chase those days and fill those dates but the vibes are positive and high.

After the past w seasons of weirdness with the world I’m taking some time to get back to my trout bum roots. Be the guide that lives the life so to speak. It’s not necessary, I could totally live in a regular house, pay regular bills, run those off river errands, and also guide. But that’s not me. And my guiding would suffer for it. Every day that I’m out here, riverside, I’m finding more of that passion for angling, guiding, and living that kind of life. Content is the word.

This allows me to focus on the important things off river. Like my personal relationship, my children, and the non trouty things of my business. There’s a lot of noise when you lived that more plugged in life. Spending the rest of the season living the trout bum life is something I’ve wanted to get back to but didn’t realize it fully until I was back at it.

But it can be lonely and the desire to share it with others. Not just those close or important to me but also other anglers and outdoorsy people who need a taste of that unplugged life for a bit. The guide in me can’t help but want to share it.

That’s why I am doing this kind of roaming come out and stay with me, fish, talk, camp, stuff. It’s time to just embrace that part of myself until I’m too old to enjoy it. I’m not much for creature comforts and would prefer a tent to a hotel room any day, but I’ve got the energy, drive, and physical ability to live that trout bum way.

It’s not classy or anything amazing. It’s just camping anglers. But without a lot of the noise from the rest of the world. Just the trout world. I haven’t seen or looked at the news in over a week. I haven’t watched Netflix, or played a video game, only things I do on my phone are work related or for my personal life. I’ve checked out a little bit. And I’ve also noticed my patience for off river stuff is fading. I’m falling into the grind of just fish and fish and fish. For the next 150 to 180 days it’s fish. And the more I do it the better it gets. Just in tune.

Today’s trip kind of sealed that for me. Just on the rivers time, not having to try as much as just feel it. And that’s where I love to be as a guide and angler. Just, ‘in the pocket’ as my girlfriend would say. It’s what can set an angler apart from others. Some find it silly, others think it’s unnecessary, but tell that to my clients and the fish we see. It makes a difference, being in that zone. It makes you good at it. You learn more not just about fishing but about yourself. Little bit of the soul finds its way out. When I’m in the grind…that’s what’s happening. It’s not just rips, and Money and clients, anyone who puts guiding and fly fishing down like that just isn’t worth my time…because they don’t understand and probably won’t. Some experience and a good ass handing by the river will usually help the doubters.

But it’s getting late, my body is more sore than I want to admit, my brain is tired, ita cold this evening, and there’s another day of chasing trout ahead of me. So lets get back to the grind anglers.

See ya riverside. Or maybe out at camp.

Tamarack

Troutbum life Trout Bums, nomads, guides, anglers, all are welcome this summer and fall season to join myself and others camping and living the fly angler life. West Fork of the Teanaway Campground for now. Come for a visit, a fish, stay a while, unplugg, enjoy people and places after the hard times and the crazy ones we are in. You’re invited. Roam with us to Montana and Idaho and other places through the season. I mean it. You’re invited.

The River

It is my home. Not my home away from home, but where I belong and feel myself and welcomed. I’ve spent most of my adult life riverside. Almost every important moment I’ve had in my life I’ve come to river for reflection, peace, advice, and vibes.

Rivers do something to many of us. A primal connection embedded there from our ancient past, the same as being around a campfire inspires and instills something within, so to the river does for me.

I miss the river when I’m away for more than a few days, I understand when she is feeling sassy or angry. She speaks some days, lightly whispers others, gives the silent treatment too. But the river is always there.  Doing its river thing.

As an angler and a guide I have the privilege of being a part of the river. It’s worked itself into my DNA. My very person. It can be hard to explain to people who aren’t connected. It can make life off river lonely and filled with a lot of arms lengths friends and few really close ones. Which isn’t all that bad.

I spent last night and this morning reconnecting with the Yakima River. My homewater. She sang for me. Like she missed me too. High flows and fast water but nonetheless she was saying things. Caddis percolating, sneaky fish slurping, a skunk, beaver, and otter said hello along the river bank. Eagles playing, swallows zooming, the chitter of stellar Jay’s and red wing black birds, an Osprey hovering over hunting. I’ve learned the language over the years and its like talking with a friend after a long time away but it’s like you never left each other. I need that in my life.

The joy of chasing trout. Traveling and seeing the places they live, and hopefully sharing it with some good people are all any one of us river rat, troutbum, angler/guides can hope for. It’s not a life for everyone. The older I get and the more the off river world changes the less I want to be a part of it. Off river sucks. Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole is what it feels like trying to operate in the ‘normal-sphere’. Its exhausting, and not conducive to the lifestyle I set out to have for myself.

At the end of the day my passion will always be the river. Hasn’t changed in years and I don’t expect it to. I continue to learn more, be enriched and fulfilled in ways others only get a glimpse of on a guided trip. I may not be rich with money, but life and experiences I have in droves and that seems to be worth more these days.

I know I need that normal world to keep trucking along to have this lifestyle. Feeding off it so to speak. But I’d rather do that than be a part of it. There just doesn’t seem to be wasted days or time on the river. And off river seems like it just gets in the way of that precious river time. Selfishly, I would prefer to live like a hobo along the river…a nice hobo that showers everyday, but that non traditional kind of living makes more sense. Having a season of experiencing that in 2019 I want to go back to that.

The real world is expensive, inflated, filled with hate and stupidity. After covid it’s tiresome and who knows when we will all be stuck inside again in fear while neighbors and loved ones die around us. Fuck that, I’m not being cooped up anymore. I want to experience things, live outside of walls, chase fish not just trout, experience the planet through water, rivers, and wildlife before it’s all gone. Before we all die in a wildfire, aliens invade, or what have you comes. I’m not wasting anymore time. I’m getting to old and have run out of my last few fucks to give. I just want to guide and fish, and live that river life. Before I’m too old.

Just some thoughts while spending time riverside anglers.

See ya out there,

Tamarack

May is filling up!

The Month of May is here and with it the green in the trees, the smell of budding cotton woods, high green water, sunshine…and bugs.

Caddis are just getting started. Still a little cool for them but as the flows settle after this salmon pulse and the weather warms up even more it’s gonna be bonkers. We also have March Browns still going strong in the afternoon and the Salmonflies are already out and about and will become more prolific as the weather warms this month.

Dates are filling up for the summer. With May almost full June and July are ramping up to. For May I’ve only got the following dates open:

May 11th and 12th, 16th.

May 20th, 28th-31st.

Things are heating up anglers and the summer fishing is almost here. Get on the calendar today. Teanaway opens up at the end of the month and fishes through July!

Plus the boat is all done up pretty after its face lift down in Colorado…come check it out on a trip.

Reserve today! See ya riverside.

Tamarack

Back in Steamboat Springs

It’s been 12-13 years since I was here in Steamboat Springs Colorado. I traveled down to pick up my brand new Hog Island Drift Boat. A few months prior I had fallen in love with the boats after demoing one for a few days. I also dug John St. John the owner of Hog Island. A real river peep kinds guy that has floated some amazing places and has stories for days of the beauty that makes up American Rivers. His passion for the rivers and what they can do to people, how they connect us to the planet and each other, and the struggles they face is above and beyond what you see in many people in the industry. A role model in that regard.

I met him when I was young and wet behind the ears with rowing rivers. But the Hog opened up a world to me I didn’t even know existed and I fell in love. My passion for fishing, the outdoors, and rowing rivers just compounded after buying the boat. I was an experienced kayaker and canoe paddler at that point. And had done some intense rafting. But the world of angles, and hydrology, and how a drift boat can move in syncopation with a river not just on top of it. The boat changed the way I fished and has turned me into a very experienced oarsmen.

There isn’t much that’s scares me in terms of water, respect yes, but fear no. I’ve hit a lot with that boat. Caught air, wrecked in class IIIs, done IV’s, 20,000 plus miles if river and it shows…both on the boat and me. It changes you when you spend so much time on river. Being here with John and in a place where the kind of life I live is fairly common with the locals it is comfortable here. Fellow river rats.

The boat is getting worked on, I am working a lot already this season, my girlfriend and I are in need of some time away, this trip and the ability to live this life is not taken for granted. I have had the privilege of experiencing some amazing things via my Hog Island Drift Boat, after the trip here and we are back on the homewater we hope to float another 20,000 river miles, and run hundreds more guide days. Book a day, cone out and see what being riverside is all about. See the fixed up Hog, and maybe catch a few wild trout.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

Salmon Flies

Hey big lady

There is that one stonefly in all of Riverdom that anglers have in the back of their minds as we transition out of spring and into summer. The Salmon Fly.

Talked about all across the west as June approaches. Here on the Yakima we get ours a little earlier. Due to our tailwater, and how our weather is here they tend to show up weeks before other rivers. The Salmon Fly is the biggest and the baddest stonefly in the river. They are ravenous, huge, and are the perfect food source after a long spring with runoff and spawning making trout hungry.

The salmon fly can live in the water column and substrate of the river for up to 4 years before it emergers as an adult. They eat everything. From algae when they are young, to vegetation, and also other bugs. Man do stoneflies love to munch on caddis!  Throughout their lives they can grow up to 4 inches long. They can withstand intense pressure under rocks and substrate, they can swim, and they can even chow on small fish if they are so inclined.

Scrumptious

As water temps warm, the season changes, and the air temps rise, salmonflies begin thier river bank migration to hatch. They like water temps closer to 50 degrees, air temps over 60 and bright sunny days. Stoneflies, unlike caddis and mayflies do not hatch out of the water. They are bank amd vegetation hatchers.  As the spring runoff moves through the river salmon fly nymphs begin to migrate en mass towards the bank.  This is typically a nocturnal migration, happening early in the morning pre dawn and dawn.  Much like their skwalla counterparts from March; they crawl and feed their way towards to shore and bank line. They emerge out of the water onto the grass, woody debris, and rocks. 

There they drum their bodies and vibrate themselves out of their exoskeleton shuck wings first. They flap and pull themselves out of the nymphal shuck like a caterpillar into a butterfly, and emerge as an adult with 4 powerful big wings and one thing on their mind…procreation.

The females are larger and more abundant than the males. After the hatch. Males amd females drum and beat thier wings to find each other. This typically happens within a few feet of the bank as we are putting our boats in the morning. By the afternoon mating has usually been completed and male salmonflies die in the trees or grass, or are eaten by just about any critter that can get them. Birds, muskrat, fish, otter, frogs, you name it it will probably eat a salmonfly. Rich in protein and lots of calories they are a major food source for western River ecosystems.

McTwitchy Salmon Fly

After mating is finished, females stick around and develop an egg sac filled with more stonefly larvae for the next generation. The culmination of her existence of 4 seasons as a nymph just for a few hours of life as an adult to pass on genetics to the next generation.  It’s amazing. Truly. If you can’t see that I invite you to come bare witness to the Salmon Fly Hatch.

As the air temps peak, around 3pm.  The Salmon flies take flight. Better fliers than other stoneflies, but big and easy to spot, they launch from the banks and trees and flutter to the river surface to lay eggs. This is when trout key in on them for surface eats. An opportunistic eat, like a grasshopper, trout lie in wait along the banks and edges of the river waiting for these big insects to finish thier business.  And trout will see to it that salmonflies meet a swift and violent end.

Trout are ravenous this time of year. Many are post spawn and hungry.  Water temps have crept up so trout metabolism is higher meaning they need to eat more calories. Salmon Flies meet that need and then some. The takes on Salmon Fly dries are explosive. More so than skwallas due to warmer water temps.  Trout are turbo charged and have no problem chasing down amd crushing the absolute fuck out of big orange and black bugs. Many times trout take multiple swipes at these bugs because they are so large and hard to eat.  They need to be chewed and broken apart to swallow…unless your a really big trout with a toilet bowl for a mouth.

Its nice out in May

Its aggressive. It’s sexy, and it’s something that we see get really good every few seasons. Like other stoneflies, hatches are cyclical, like cicadas.  Every 3 or 4 season the hatch is ridiculously big. We are due up for that this season and the river is telling me it’s gonna happen. Already seeing mass amounts of nymphs along the banks and already adults flying around.  It’s early. Which means it’s probably gonna be big.

Salmonflies are just amazing to see let alone fish. They are massive! The size of a hummingbird. You can have some of the most explosive and violent dry fly takes during this hatch. But the nymphing can also be fantastic when they are on those migrating bugs under water prior to that hatch. It’s been 3 years since we’ve had a massive hatch of salmonflies and all us river peeps are patiently waiting for it turn on over the next 10 days.

Fishing has been pretty stellar in terms of spring fishing. I’ve had my hard days but as water temps get closer to 50 it only gets more consistent and that’s what really makes trout fishing good. Consistency.

Big bug, big troot

May hits and flows, temps, and bugs all settle into a normal rhythm. Sure the flows get high but fish are accustomed to the flows and water here. They will play the game if you will.

May is just starting to fill up. The river gets busy the closer we get to Memorial Day. Weekends fill up quick amd weekdays are sought after. Those anglers that want a shot at big stonefly dry eats take note. After Mother’s Day shit gets real. Those that missed the skwallas can find redemption in salmonflies.

I head to Colorado until the 5th. When I get back, we are hitting it hard. With 40 guide days already in the books we are chasing 200 guide days this season. Help this trout bummy guide hit that goal and come out for a trip this season. It’s good, you’ll learn something, and get to be face to face with some of the best and baddest wild trout around.

Chonkers

The Yakima River is one of the last true gem fisheries of Washington State. Most of our riverside fisheries are in turmoil due to commercial use, nets, bad management, lack of listening to science, the list is long. And while Kittitas County has its own slew of issues that pertain to the Yakima River, it is still on the right course for fisheries management. Yes we have access problems, and county officials that have thier head in the same about conservation amd usage issues, but our fishery isn’t on the decline like just about every other waterway. People coming out to experience and enjoy the river is still the best and most effective way to make sure it lasts and gets better.

Having epic slamonfly hatches is a testament to how good things are here. These bugs need a pristine ecosystem to hatch. We have that. All the work that’s been done on conservation and water management, salmon recovery, it’s all paying off by keeping the Yakima River as one of the best fisheries in the whole state, if not the best.

They eat nymphs too

Come out for a trip anglers. See what it’s all about, and maybe stick a nice one on a big salmon fly dry this May.

See ya riverside anglers,

Tamarack

The Spring Fishing

Well anglers….the spring fishing is just about over. In terms of trout and for my bummy ass, spring fishing ends when caddis show up. Gone are the days of wicked cold water temps, the waders get hung up and the chacos come out, and fishing altogether changes.

We’ve been running the slow water, the riffle tailouts, the back Eddie’s.  Nymphing a good chunk of the day and crossing fingers for headhunting rising trout. It’s been a good spring for trouting. Since the skwallas started back in March the dry fly fishing has been fairly consistent by spring fishing standards. When skwallas wrapped up the mayflies came and the fish switched over and the past 2 weeks have been excellent for the spring. Even in the crap weather, yes we were dealt some tougher days. But still had good opportunity all around.

It’s been crazy busy for me. I’ve never done more than 24 trips between February and May. 38 so far seems like a staggering number compared to previous springs. Whoo!!  Just chasing trips this year. And my clients have been good to me. Especially coming out of covid. I cannot thank everyone enough for coming out for trips.

It feels good tonhave hard work pay off over the seasons. The groove is much easier to find these days and it shows while on the water. Just plugged in and vibing with the Yakima. Juicy.

As we roll into May the river changes. She already is. With the salmon pulse this week and irrigation operations starting up the river is now getting a good dose of water from the reservoirs. She’s gonna be high now…for a while. Not summer time high but 3000 cfs and maybe more as we move things the next few weeks.

Fish will finish spawning. I timed my trip to Colorado for boat makeover with runoff and to let the fish finish their business. When I return we should be days away from thr Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch, or American Grannom Caddis. It’s amazing to witness and even better to fish and be a part of. Fish everywhere, dry flies, skating dries, swung soft hackles, so many ways to trick trout with Caddis during the hatch. We fish into the dusk hour as trout slurp in the dark. It’s really fun.

Another thing happens in mid May on the Yakima. We get Salmon Flies. The biggest and baddest of the stoneflies. We are due up for a decent hatch this season. It’s been a few years. We get ours when the air trmps start getting into the 60s and 70s. Usually mid to late May. Just big dry flies and ravenous post spawn trout wanting to munch. It can be really fun to watch amazing smashing takes on big dries during the salmon fly hatch. Much like skwallas but bigger, and with warmer water temps, hungrier trout, the takes are a little more robust!

So May is what’s coming. Lots of dry fly fishing, swinging picks up more trout due to warmer water temps and post spawn trout. That 50 degree water temp turns trout into missles. They hammer shit, and hold in faster water. It’s rad. Side channels fill up, fish move around more, wildlife really comes out, the trees green up, things really come alive in May. Come on out for a trip.

I’m back May 5th after Kearstyn and I get back from CO. With a handful of days already scheduled the pickings for dates are prime still. Caddis start that 2nd week fosho, and Salmonflies probably after the 15th. It’s looking like a good summer anglers. Lots of water and still tons of snow to melt. Come out and enjoy the fishing this season. It’s already need pretty Decent!

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

April Showers

It’s April. It’s not my favorite month but has its sweet spots. The month brings wetter, gloomy weather that weeds out the weak. Fish spawn this month and into May. Water tempsmget closer to 50 degrees every day of the month. Trout eat more and more every day. Salmon smolt begin their seaward migration. The riverbanks come alive with spring green, there’s bud, cotton woods begin to sing in the rain and wind as the leaves grow. Birds and baby otters, little ducklings and gosling, frequent the river, life begins anew in April.

But the beauty of all that has its downside. The river is usually an unpredictable torrent of spring runoff, dam purges, and algae soup kicked up from the dams opening. We are a tailwater after all. Below the Teanaway River the Yakima can get angry in April. The snow locked valley begins to thaw and the largest Freestone tributary of the Yakima can rise upwards of 8000cfs when melt begins. This storm coming through this week helps greatly and our snow pack is in the 70s in April amd we want it in the 80 percentile. All that damn sunshine in March was nice but not so nice.

Being a tailwater the flows are somewhat controlled even when the Teanaway starts spewing. The flood plain restoration and work that’s been done in the headwaters of the Teanaway watershed over thr past decade is starting to show results with more normal spring runoff episodes. Above the Teanaway from thr Cle Elum River confluence to Lake Easton the river sees a few minor high water events until a salmon pulse is ordered or a purge needs to happen due to the reservoirs being at capacity. Salmon pulses mimic spring runoff and push smolt to the Columbia so that baby salmon can grow up to be food and fertilizer.

A lot of trout spawning occurs from the Teanaway confluence up to Lake Easton dam. I’ve chosen to fish less up river during the spawn which leaves me at the mercy of the Teanaway and purges but I, as well as others, have seen a vast improvement in quality of fish as well as quality since the 2020 closure during the spawn. Leave big fish alone during the spawn and they stuck around in the fall.

The hatches change this month as well. We transition out of the Skwalla Hatch which usually last into the 2nd week. Maybe longer. March Browns have ready started to percolate and will become the dominate food source for the rest of the month for most trout. Streamer fishing also ramps up due to water fluctuations, smolt getting pushed around, baby sculpin that have gotten fun sized since hatching, and big trout spawning like to eat meat. Caddis will also start to become a regular food source as flows tick up and down and warmer days and evenings settle in. Trout will begin feeding into the late hours of the evening as we get closer to May. Waiting to feed on caddis hatches at dusk. Also salmon fly stonrflies begin migrating for hatching in May as well. Nocturnal this also lends to thr evening feed with trout. We are due up for a big salmon fly hatch this season.

As we get into the month I watch the weather, flow, and wind charts like a hawk. Several times a day sometimes. The river and weather change a lot in April. We get new logs and jams like the new one below KOA or the blockage below state. Trout are moving and shaking a lot. Constantly and inconsistently changing and adapting to conditions. It’s can be a tougher month to fish but a very rewarding one with the colored trout, big trout, and really great dry fly fishing on the good days.

The river is up and a little blown, but is going to settle within a few days. Hopefully the higher elevations got that good 8 to 10 inches of snow they were calling for because we need it badly. I’m back on the river Thursday, river cooperating of course. I’ve got a good chunk of days coming up after this storm amd little water surge. No dam releases yet, Teanaway taking care of things for now. They’ve started priming irrigation but that really doesn’t start until May. April 15th they will start to open things up more irrigation wise.

We’ve got a few weekends open, 10th thru the 14th during this sweet little window coming up. And already taking trips for caddis in May. Full Days and Half Days are now open. $450 and $375. We also do walk and wades $275 in the upper river and lower Cle Elum. I leave for Colorado at the end of the month so get your trips in before I leave for a minute to get the boat fixed up. When booking in April we really look at the weather and forecasts when getting dates locked down so give me a call or email and get on the calendar!

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack