I’ll be hosting another Spring Educational Fly Fishing Clinic on April 23rd with Streamside Coven Co.
Our March Clinic filled up quickly and had overflow, so get on this date fast. These clinics are a great way to learn from 2 experienced education focused guides who fish and guide more than any other!
We go over everything from water reading, casting, bugs, wading, netting, playing fish, nymphing, streamers, dries you name it we cover it for spring fishing for trout.
It’s $175 per angler. We can supply waders and boots and rods for an additional $65.
We have 10 spots open for April 23rd. Sign up today!
It’s here. While the weather doesn’t seem super trouty at the moment, we are into March, and that’s the start of the season.
It’s snowing. We are at about 100% snowpack. Which is pretty normal for starting March. With at least this storm, and probably one more before April gets here. Which means we have water for the summer.
I’m looking at the next few days of weather, and it looks like Thursday this week it starts to warm up a bit and stop snowing. By Tuesday the following week, March 7th, we are in business. Next week, we have overnight lows staying above freezing for the most part and daytime highs above 40. That’s trout fishing weather for the spring.
Skwallas are 10 days out. Maybe less. But I anticipate that by mid next week, we start to see skwallas. Fish will be ready to feed after this wicked cold snap the past week. It’s a slow start to the season, but the days are here, and you don’t wanna miss them.
The next few weekends are going to be busy. Snag a week day and get more places to yourself to fish. That being said, we’ve only got a few days left open in March, and I’d like to get a few of them filled. Spring fishing is some of the best. Also, there is more opportunity at those trophy sized trout before high water comes in.
March 5th thru 10th is open. Right as things start to turn on. Could be that first banger skwalla fishing starting that week. March 13th and 14th, 29th, and 30th are all that’s open for March. Get em while you can.
It’s here, anglers! It’s finally here. We all know the procedure. Let’s get this 2023 season started. I haven’t guided since October. Only touched a dozen ornso fosh during the off-season. I’m hungry for chasing trout. Let’s F’ing go anglers!!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’ve been out for a week working on camper related stuff. Camper is finally done. Only a few minor shenanigans and a 2 days longer than expected. But the home base is in good shape.
I’m back on the river. Landed yesterday morning in the LC. Got camp set and decided to swing a run amongst the crowd.
It was busy yesterday for February but expected. It’s sunny and warm. Highs in the upper 40s almost 50. Sun stays on the water longer now and each day that increases warming and waking the river up. Life is beginning to blossom. Birds are here getting twitterpated, bugs are starting to fly about.
While walking the river, I found skwalla nymphs within the first 3 feet of the bank. They ate starting! The Skwallas are on the move. Water temps are still around 40, but I expect that to start its incremental rise each day moving forward.
It’s happening, and I definently know the procedure. I get to fish for the next 2 weeks. Knocking the kinks out and getting the body and mind set for guiding. March isn’t far away, anglers, and while guides are already working, I’m not jumping in until consistency and water temperatures are on my side. While February’s fishing is typically superb from the 15th on, but it’s still cold, and it’s not spring yet. There’s a huge difference between February and March in terms of what the river is doing. More bugs, warmer temps, spawning behaviors, regular feeding, and response to insects. By March, all the fish have transitioned out of the winter, and the whole river is alive and moving. Just more and better opportunities for anglers and this guide. Something I’ve learned over the past few years. And last early season and spring was much different. We have a slightly lower than average snow pack. It’s been less wet but still cold compared to last year. We had snow in April last year, so there is still a lot that can happen over the next 2 months. But it seems that this spring is gonna be pretty normal for weather and water! Which means consistency, which means better fishing.
Sculpins are still spawning, and more will as the next 2 weeks progress. Water is warm enough now for it to be happening river wide. Skwallas are moving across the watershed, Blue Wing Olive Mayflies are coming soon. Saw a few flutter off in the sunshine yesterday.
It’s about to get crazy out here. And it’s busy already. I reccomend week days. Use those sick and PTO days. Not enough Americans do. They go unused in mass each year we get further from 2020. That’s your time. Use it to come fish if you’re an angler. Get a half day in and just hit the good times. I’ll take care of it just reserve a day.
We are going to get creative with floats, avoid boat traffic, leave the boat overnight to get easier access to different stretches, get out of the boat and really work water, teach, we are going to teach a lot this season. I’ve got a good chunk of clients that have become excellent anglers, its time to level up and learn harder stuff, target more challenging fish, have me hold hands less and let anglers dissect and analyze water prior to fishing, get it done in one kind of thing.
The new anglers bring em on. I’ve seen a slew of just shit habits and crap casting and poor knowledge over the years. Too many anglers that have had guided experiences and come out with a lack of basic skills. Not over here in my boat. While I’ll always out you on fish, and give you opportunities, you will step out of my boat with a better understanding of fly fishing for trout. You won’t need me to catch fish after a day with me. I’ve got plenty of clients that can attest to that. You come fish with me because you’ll learn more and I’ll help make you excellent.
But if you’re intimidated by costs, the guided experience, my beardy face, the industry, the cast, whatever it may be, that is holding you back. Reach out. Let’s chat about it. I own this business, just me. I run it how I see fit and fly fishing should never feel like you need a password to get in. Kids are always welcome, too. I’ve even had babies come out with parents! I am one of a handful of guides that teach the younger anglers around here. Got three kids myself who fish and row. I accommodate anyone who wants to learn the craft of fly fishing. My boat and the river are safe spaces, and I want to see more new anglers along the banks.
It’s here’s anglers. Let’s go. Book trips, make plans, get outside…play. Keep your lines clean, stretch out those leaders, organize that fly box, dust off that whip stick of a rod, lace up your boots, strap on your wading belt, grab that net…seriously don’t forget it or buy it if you don’t have it, and get after it anglers. It’s time.
March has open dates. I really recommend weekdays to avoid boat traffic, but that’s kind of known here on the Yak. I hope to see you riverside, wave, holla, say what’s up I’m around. You’ll see my boat here driving up and down the river roads like always!
The early season is here. Late January ushers in trout fishing. It’s slow, it’s cold, but it beats sitting around doing nothing. I’ve been prepping myself for the guide season in January and February for the last nine years. I get to fish for myself a lot more in the early season and spring before things get crazy. I had started guiding by this time last year and am grateful I am able to take my time getting back into the rhythm of things before having to guide and produce at level. This will be my last winter here on the homewater. I’ll be in warmer salty-er pastures come late October.
Fishing this warly in the season isn’t my favorite. I’ll be straight up. It’s tougher, it’s fing cold, and the fish don’t have food on the brain yet. Water temps are still low enough that trout metabolism is at its literal minimum. Trout are not going to expel energy for much until water temps rise up closer to 45 degrees and above. This means trout are in winter lies. Or the slow, deep water. They are bunched up in big pods, basically doing the equivalent of hibernating in trout form. They eat but they don’t move much. Literally has to be in front of their face. A good early season is 4 to 6 nice fish to the net. That’s a good day before March.
There isn’t much food, and there is no need for trout to move for it or seek it out anyway. It’s funny how nature works that way. As water temps crest 42, the river bed starts to wake up. Caddis and stoneflies start to move about slightly. Mayflies perk up under rocks. They aren’t really doing much. Just taking their time coming alive. As things start to warm above 45 degrees underwater, the place comes alive even more.
Bugs begin feeding, moving around- stoneflies, skwallas, and salmon fly nymphs begin to migrate from the deep boulder gardens towards the bank to become adults, mate, lay eggs, and die. During this migration, they feed and are fed upon ravenously. This is when trout season officially commences. Usually, this is late February or early March. It can take 10 days to 3 weeks for the river to wake up. It also moves upriver, this warming trend and river coming to life. It starts here in the LC and slowly works its way upriver, and by late March or early April, the whole watershed has spring in full swell.
As this happens, trout do two things. They become hungry, and they begin to move about more. They become food responsive dictated by their environment. They seek out food as their metabolism increases with each increment of a degree in warmer water temps. They begin to behave differently. As many this season are of spawning age. This means they also do another thing. As water temps get closer to 50, trout begin to focus their behavior on spawning. They forgo a lot of normal trout behavior during this time. They become ravenous for food prior and post spawning. They also move about the river more during this time. Moving towards spawning areas but also general movement towards feeding areas, shelter, and the normal trout movement.
Moving means spent energy, which makes trout feed. They seek out and move for food during this time with reckless abandonment unlike any other time of year. They need to eat for the process of spawning on top of everything else. This means they become ‘stupid’ for flies. What it truly breaks down to is trout become incredibly respondent to food because they have an appetite that survival depends on. Not just their own survival but their genetics and offspring. The desire to reproduce makes trout seek out and hunt food, eat opportunisticly and ferociously.
Sexually mature fish are larger, and springtime is your best chance at getting shots at them. Doesn’t matter what you throw, they wanna eat. Dries, nymphs, streamers, it’s all on the menu. These fish are harder to chase later in the year. After a season of anglers throwing flies at them, each generation of fish gets ‘smarter’ to the fly. PHD trout. The Yakima is known for it. And with how much pressure these fish get, anglers with skill and with good instruction can excel on this river. Again, this is a behavioral response to all those casts and flies each day every day from March to October. The fish aren’t as sensitive or ‘smart’ to anglers in the early season, and the conditions described above as well as weather and river flows and temps are all at the anglers advantage during the spring.
Phd trout is a real thing here, and it happens as fish age and fishing pressure get to them. Fish literally caught 100 times over its life. Sometimes more. In the course of a single Yakima River trout life, they can be hooked into 500 to 1000 times. If you had fake food hooking your lips every other day for 5 to 7 years, you’d learn to be wary of food, too! This fishery breeds those kinds of technical fish. It’s also where my guiding and skill set really come through. Being able to teach and educate anglers and clients is the bread and butter of my guiding, and this river can turn you into a really, really good angler.
I’ve been saying this for a few seasons. Since 2020 when these fish had no pressure. It’s been getting really friendly and chummy out there with the Yakima trout…which means it’s about to get really technical. The Yak cycles like this. I’ve seen it over the course of guiding and over the almost 20 years fishing here. These fish are getting smart. And that’s when this river makes and breaks you. If you can trick them here, anglers, you can trick trout anywhere. The Yakima is still in my top 5 for technical PHD Level fisheries. It’s up there with Silver Creek and the Ausable.
Tis’ why I do love the Yakima and will always fish and guide its waters. No matter where guiding takes me. The Yak will always be the homewater. And aside from January, I do love the spring. As February warms up the basalt cliffs of the Lower Canyon, I get to frequent the slow, quiet banks of the river. There aren’t too many people, an angler or two here and there. A boat or three on the weekends. Eagles stoic, sitting staring at the quicksilver water. Gray and ever moving the glare against the low angled sun. Each morn, the light begins a little earlier, and each eve, the sun lingers just moments more. Every day, I watch the lower canyon try and break free of winters grasp. A snow flurry clutches onto the hillsides, reminding everything that it’s still early. Not yet… but soon. The quicksilver waters inviting, and a wild trout soon to be eager for food.
It has begun anglers. Fishing started Monday with my dumbest missing 4 solid fish on the nymph. Worked the kinks out in the LC.
Camplife has also commenced. Living down by the river until October now. Stoke levels are high. It feels good to be back at it after the off season. The shuffle back to guide mode starts and I get to fish every day I want until March.
Kristen and I hit the river again today. Sunny did a longer float from 10 to 4. Had a wonderful on streamers. Black dark ones with the off color and slightly high water in the lower canyon. 4 fish to net with 3 more missed. Slow swung on the 6wt. Aww ya. I much prefer a streamer eater over the nymph, and when I think winter fishing, I think streamers slow swung and stripped to trout. Juicy.
The first fish of 2023 landed, and I’m back at it. Boat feels good under me. Mine will be riding the river next week. Feels good to shake hands with a big wild Yakima Rainbow. It’s been since October.
Trips are coming in with dates filling up in March and April quickly. Think 3 and 4 months out when booking for prime dates and weekends.
March 12th Kristen with Streamside Coven Co. And I will be hosting a Spring Educational Clinic for $175 per person. $65 additional for gear. We have 5 spots left open. Learn the ins and outs of spring fishing to dust off for the season or to get into fly fishing for the first time! All skill levels welcome.
Come on out anglers 2023 is here! So Troot Yo’Self!
The days are getting longer. Light lingers after 5 pm now. The sun breaks the day a smidgen earlier each morning. The start of my 9th full-time guide season here on the Yakima is beginning. The early season and spring fishing have become some of my favorite times of year to chase trout.
Things are slow to start. As am I these days. After thousands of river days, I take my time more now. Last season was the busiest I’ve done, I started guiding in late January and had out over 40 guide days on the calendar before April ended. This season is different.
I’m limiting my guide days to 150-175 in 2023. 41 days are already booked. I’m also not guiding until March. Last year’s early season trips were work, it was cold, and I wanted to fish. This season, I’ll be fishing the pre season. Compacting my guide days to when I know it will give anglers the best opportunities at fish. But also waiting until the river is more teachable.
March is when things really start sounding off. The time leading up to then can be very productive but also very unpredictable. It takes more feel and instinct in the pre season, in my opinion. Learning and feeling how the river is changing, how the fish move daily and over the course of the season. This is hard to teach. It ends up being that fishy sense we guides and experienced anglers have. In all reality, it comes down to time and consistent days on the river.
Each day I go out in the pre season, I am learning, listening, and observing. The river tells all when you’re out on it every day. And I spend almost every day riverside. I also need time to get myself physically and mentally prepared for the upcoming season. I’ll be 37 this season, and each year, more care is taken to make sure my body is in shape. What I do for a living is incredibly physical, and not all rowers are created equal, I’ve worked very hard to be one of the better oarsman around, and that takes its toll on the body. Jumping headfirst into guiding isn’t how I roll anymore. I ease in.
That also helps me prepare mentally. Last season showed me that I can burn out on the people side of guiding. I do get fatigued from teaching and interacting with people. The job is mostly people at the end of the day. So, easing into the season for myself and taking time to settle into my own river rhythm before I start guiding and having the pressure of producing is important. Which really just means getting to go fishing for me.
The offseason has been quite uneventful and easygoing. Exactly what you want out of the winter months. Financially, this was the easiest offseason to get through. The early bookings have been much appreciated. After 8 years in business, the career I’ve chosen has really started to work the way it’s supposed to. My clients are to thank for that.
Last season was nuts. I ran 207 trips. Over a dozen double days, I added 44 new clients to a roster of over 250. Over 1000 river miles floated, some 240 days on water. I fished new water last season both in my backyard, Idaho, and Michigan, and I boosted my business to a point where I will finally…finally be able to break into the Southern Saltwater Area and guide new states and water moving forward. It’s been a long time coming, and the stoke for this season is very high. Moving towards not just being your local fishing guide.
I’m really looking forward to getting started. I will be living riverside in the LC within the next 10 days. And back to that trout bum life. Transitioning out of hibernation and back to fishing. Waking up with the river. It’s also been about 8 plus weeks since I’ve touched a fish. I finally started feeling the urge to chase fish this past week. The only reason I didn’t go out was because I got sick.
Here we go anglers. I start dusting off the gear and prepping for the season. It’s already filling up. There’s 109 days open for the Yakima from March to May 10, July 5th-October.
March is filling up quickly with only 8 more days left open. April isn’t far behind. I’ve never booked out this far in advance, but that is the trend in our industry right now. All the guide outfits are booking dates out way in advance. There is a huge push in outdoor recreation right now. Campgrounds are already reserved for summer dates. I can’t stress enough that making plans way ahead of time is important. Things will be full, hotels, campgrounds, and even the river will be busy as last year if not more so.
I invite you to come out for a guided trip this season. Spring fishing is some of my favorite and gives anglers the advantage and best shots at those big ol’ trout. Which we will touch on in the next blog post. I hope to see you riverside this season anglers.