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River Report 4/25/16


Hit the river in the wind today. Wind was brutal with 30 mph plus gusts and 15 mph sustained but we still got it done. The fish are eating before noon and after 4pm. Salmon fly nymphs seem to be the main course and March Browns and Caddis as the sides. Fish are eating pheasant tail and soft hackes for MB nymphs and the LaFontaine Pupa both shallow and deep water have been working. 

Dry flies aren’t happening yet as much as we would like. A few. The MB hatch is amazing but the sunshine seems to keep fish down in the afternoon. We need some clouds. Salmon Flies are hatching in the am and I’ve had one fish hit the dry but that should pick up now that things seem to be really starting. Salmon Fly Nymphs are staging to hatch with groups of them under the rocks and structure along the banks. It’s coming. 


Fish are fat, every one we are catching has got swollen bellies. They are hot when they get hooked. Running and jumping. 

It seems that the river is back in shape and fish are starting to cooperate and look up. 

I’ve got availability on the calenda so give me a call or send me an email and let’s go chase some trout. 
Tamarack

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River Update 4/22/16

SALMON FLIES!!!

  
The Salmon Flies are starting to appear. A good 25 minute hatch today with a fair amount of bugs. Fish are still uncooperative and are not looking up as much as we would like to see but things are still settling down for irrigation and run off. 

We’ve also got March Browns and some Caddis. 

Fish are starting to feed on a schedule, keying in on hatches and hanging out in all the good water. Flows in the upper are still wonky but sections are fishable. 

  
The Teanaway is still making a mess and the flows are forecasted to be high for the next 7 to 10 days. That being said, as this runoff settles, fish should be more cooperative. 

We have lower temps, cloud cover, and light rain for the next 10 days. This should help get the river back into shape and make fish less hesitant to surface feed. 

  
We’ve got high winds and thunderstorms in the forecast for the weekend. But starting Monday things should be prime for some fishing.

I’ve got availability on the schedule. Give me a call and let’s go sling some big bugs for trout!

Hope to see you on the river soon!
Tamarack

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A new story.

I don’t get to read new water very often here on the homewater.  There was a time when I would venture out into the woods and explore and discover new water, and meet new trout when this place I call home was still new to me.  I’ve hiked to the source of the Yakima, Cooper, Cle Elum, and Teanway Rivers and fished each in nearly their entirety.  I’ve blue lined the maps of the whole ranger district in search of trout and solitude.  You know…the cliche things we fly anglers do.  

It’s not that I tire of my homewater, quite the contrary, I am still discovering and exploring things about it, but the rivers here are like re-reading old favorite books.  The trout I trick new things I read and learn that are there…between the lines.  I am at home here, the river a comfortable place that I can lose myself in.  But I yearn for new and exciting stories to read.  New characters to meet.  New rivers. 

Spring Runoff is a good time to venture out of an anglers comfort zone or homewater and search out new places to chase fish and read water.  In the past 11 years I have seen a lot of water that Washington has to offer.  From the Olympic Penninsula, the Columbia Basin, High Mountains of the Cascades, and of course a deep relationship with the Yakima River and the Tributaries.  I now look to smaller rivers that can be easily broken down and covered within a few days.  Something that presents a challenge, a river with less fish, or maybe one that is tucked away on some long trail that not many people frequent.  I want 300 yards of riffles and turns, boulders and seams, where fish hide eagerly waiting for an insect to pass by.  Water that doesn’t require my boat, but requires I walk the banks and wade the river to unlock it’s secrets.  One that requires attention to detail, and gives me the ability to lose myself in reading the intricate nature of how river, insect, and trout interact.  

Not much of that is left for me except for a few select places.  I venture east towards Idaho and Montana more now.  But there are still blue lines on maps within an hour or two drive of my house that I have yet to sling flies on.  While anglers and guides hike float tubes and grab bass and carp flies, I would rather find a mountain stream with a few trout, a 3wt, and a box of simple attractor patterns.  Searching each pocket, seam, eddy, and riffle in the hopes that a trout decides to create a new story for a new river, for a new chapter in this fly angler life I have chosen to live.  

I hope to see you riverside soon.  
Tamarack  

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River Update 4/17/16

The river is blown again. Whole thing. More releases from the dam to make room for the snow melt coming into the reservoirs has begun, and the Teanaway is on the rise again with the warmer air temps. 

We had a small window. For a few days this week. Might get lucky with another one here soon. 

I’ll be exploring some other trout options this week invading some west side of the mountain streams and a few lakes. 

For those looking for a fishing option; there is always the Columbia Basin lakes and bass lakes as well as Rocky Ford and Crab Creek. There are a lot of small water systems in the Columbia Basin that have trout and bass. I grew up over there and have fished a lot of it. I like the trees more than the sagebrush so I don’t find myself over there too much but I can answer all your questions and point you in the right direction for something to sling flies to.  Did I mention chasing the Bronze Bonefish?!  Carp fishing on the fly can also be really fun. 

Hope to see ya riverside soon!
Tamarack

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River Update 4/13/16

River update 4/13/16:
  
MARCH BROWNS:

The MBs have started. Hatch came off around 1:15 and lasted about an hour today. As the days go by that will get bigger and longer with trout keying in on it. 
Fish were looking up today. It wasn’t a mayfly feeding bonanza but they are looking up and smacking mayfly dries. 
The nymph game was strong today. With big fish eating big nymphs. 
The water is around 3300 cfs and holding at around 45 degrees. The fish are everywhere. I found them in seams, eddies, fast water, shallow water, deep water, and for the love of trouts the side channels are filled with them! The slower water seems to hold all the whitefish I found more trout in the faster stuff actively feeding. 
Fish have a lot of current to play with so I lost a fair share of the fish I hooked into today. Lots of jumping and running. Throw 3x for your nymphs big fish like to snap 4x in fast water.
The river below the Teanaway should be back in shape by the weekend. But that all depends on the runoff. The LC and farmlands areas are still probably a no go until next week. The upper is very fast and very high, so if you’re thinking of floating be prepared for big water. 
The calendar is filling up quick. I’ve got Sunday this weekend still open. Next week we have more consistent weather coming in with lower temps and cloud cover with a side of showers…more mayfly weather!  
Tamarack

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River Update 4/12/16

River Update:

Salmon Fly McTwitchy
 
The Teanaway is on the drop for now. It should be below 1000 cfs by morning. The lower temps are slowing down the runoff. 

It has started raining this evening. Which is much needed. Rain will help move this run off along and bring more nutrients and cold water to the system. We are currently running above summer flows right now and there is still a lot of snow pack up in the mountains. 
Reservoirs are all but full and there is currently: 1400 cfs coming over the Cle Elum dam, 1100 cfs coming over Keechelus, 1000 cfs of the main stem of the Yakima and feeder creeks such as Big and Little, and you have a wicked fast flow!
The Yakima at Cle Elum is currently 3400 cfs and has been for the past 3 days. Water temps are hovering between 43-46. Consistency with flows and temps, even when the river is high, is always a good thing.  
Trips are on a wait and see basis. Short windows of opportunity will arise here and there. Don’t worry, I’ll let ya know when they show up. We should be at a nice consistent flow within the next 10 to 14 days. 
Currently we have March Browns starting. Green and Grey Drakes will be thrown in there. A few areas of the upper have really sweet drake hatches. Salmon fly nymphs have been cruising around the system for a few days being kicked up by the higher flows. Big Salmon Flies will start hatching soon along with Caddis.  
Higher flows and consistent temps 45 and above mean trout gotta eat…a lot. And when big bugs show up…things get rowdy. With big flows forecasted for the majority of the season I expect some wicked awesome eats on mayflies and big dries as the season moves forward. 
My May calendar is filling up already and I start offering overnight trips soon! Call and reserve dates!

Tamarack. 

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Plot with my Fish Porn

That old saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Is malarkey.  

A picture is worth jack in today’s social media driven market place.  Where an Instagram post of a big smile and a big fish will get you 1000 likes and make you popular.  That is great and all.  I sift through hundreds of photos that are wanting a like every day.  It gets boring seeing another buff covered face with a perfectly placed hat, and a large trout held up for the camera and the interweb to see.  They typically have a slew of tags and they have some sort of comment below like: EPIC, AWESOME, WICKED, CRAZY, AMAZING.  Its a photo, of a fish, and an angler, with the same type of caption as the last 50.  A picture is worth about 6 words and they usually have an undertone of: “Look What I Caught Now Like It.”  We are using these colorful words to describe the same mononotous picture. When we should be using those words when we talk about fishing. People think I’m weird because of the way I talk about fishing. I have passion and use rather colorful language and enthusiasm when I talk about what I do for a living. How many can say the same?  It’s not corney to use the word amazing and beautiful when talking about a trout or a cast or how one rows a boat. It’s silly not too. What else do we use those words for then?  The face of some angler holding a fish up?  Please?!

 

Where is the story?
 
I don’t see a lot of photos that show off the fish.  A trout held up in front of an angler for the camera is about the angler in comparison to the fish.  It’s not about the fish.  At least to this angler. You can say what you will, but in the end, the grip and grin is a tried and tired way of showing off and stroking some ego.  I’ve seen big Lahotians, I have seen epic steelhead, hell I have even caught a few, but what about what made that particular fish unique?  The intricate spots on the head that no other fish that day had, or the rose colored plate that stood out among all the other fish, or that one blue haloed spot that sticks with you forever? Or how about the way the rod bent when that big nasty trout took you for a ride?  These things are rarely photographed and never highlighted it seems.  And while a picture used to be worth a thousand words…what happened to words being worth…well words.  Photos will never come close to the power and ability to transform, inspire, and lose one self in that words and language have.  

I will take a good fishing story over a fish photo any day.  One word I can’t stand is Porn.  Now I, like most other men, have to clear my browsing history from time to time.  But one thing I never associate my trout with…is porn.  It just seems disrespectful.  Fish Porn, Trout Porn, Angler Porn, it all seems like a crappy way to promote our sport and the fish that make it so much fun.  Porn is porn, not art, no matter what way you look at it.  I feel that fish, deserve a little more respect than a photo on some fish porn website.  But that is just me, some anglers like that stuff, but don’t expect me to snap a bunch of photos for your collection if we are fishing together.  I have a  different respect for my fish, and I look for the little things that make that particular fish special, whether it’s the color, the spots, the way it fights, or any other number of things that make each fish I trick or my clients trick, unique.  Most clients and anglers don’t even notice until I say something.  

“Look at the spots and how they are all bunched together on this trout compared to the last.”  Then my clients take a second look.  They realize that it’s not just another trout, it is something special, a wild animal more unique and mesmerizing than the last.  “Did you see how the trout just kept running into the fast water then dropping into the current and rolling inwards trying to pop off the hook?”  And my anglers realize that they had one hell of a fight with a wild animal, yet again helping them see past the A Typical, just another fish for the Facebook feed.  

This brings me back to words. 

 

The fight between angler and this trout cannot be described with a photo.
 
A picture doesn’t describe the way the trout took the fly, it doesn’t explain the anxiety and heart palpitations that ensue when you feel that initial head shake.  A picture won’t tell you how crisp the morning was, how the wind smelled heavy of budding cottonwood, or the lingering of campfire smoke on my flannel from the night before while we talked about old trout and secret fishing places.  A picture has jack shit on words.  

There can be passion in a photo, especially one that highlights the experience, the uniqueness of the fish, or the uniqueness of the angler.  But it will never hold a candle to the way it can be described and explored through the written or spoken word.  A picture is a lazy way of saying…I went fishing.  I go fishing every day practically, if it was as boring as the photos that frequent my Instagram feed look I wouldn’t be doing it everyday.  Nor would most anglers.  It’s as if we have lost that unique connection that fly fishing has with its fish, no matter the species; we may not necessarily care less about the fish, but we care more about ourselves with these photos.  The fish doesn’t make the angler.  The angler is made with time, patience, and a good cast.  Too many times do I see photos of fish caught to glorify the angler instead of the fish or the experience.  When the whole entire reason we fish with this method is because it is unique.  What happened to a sweet photo of a wicked loop, or a big bend, or the moment when angler and trout meet?  Those photos, they are worth more than a few words below a post.  They have essence.  They also typically get more likes. 

When I can’t hit the river, like now due to runoff, I am not watching the F3T stuff jonesing for a tug, or surfing the interweb drooling over fish I am not catching.  As a matter of fact, I am blasted with that stuff all day long on my social media feeds and I rarely even look at or like that stuff now.  It’s the same old same old.  It’s lame after a while.  And your internet prowess because of the 30 fish you snapped photos of while fishing just lose their meaning after a while.  

What I end up doing on my days off, is reading.  I read new tactics and methods to trick fish.  I read stories and blogs.  Check to see what my favorite out of state rivers are up too.  I also tie.  Nothing like working on sets of flies for the next riverside adventure.  Plus, while everyone is editing their photos to try and make it look like it’s worth 1000 words, I am filling my fly box, saving money, writing about trout and adventures, honing my skills, and doing the one thing I love most when I can’t be fishing.  Talking with other anglers.

I used to frequent my local fly shop regularly to learn from an old timer that eventually became my mentor.  Number one thing about fly shops and I’m not the only one to say this: You should never feel intimidated or unwelcome in a fly shop no matter what skill level, sex, or what outfitter you work for.  If you do, then your fly shop sucks.  I have 6 fly shops on my homewater, and I will only ever be spotted at 3 and even those are getting hard to walk into now.  The fly shop used to be where you learned stuff.  Now they seem more and more to be like used car dealerships.  Peddling the latest fly pattern that’s just based on something that was tied 30 years ago, selling guide trips when the river is fishing like crap, trying to get you into a new $800 Sage or $450 pair of Simms.  When you find a fly shop that isn’t like that it’s like realizing you hooked a bulltrout and not just a big whitefish.  

When I realized that my local shops had succumbed to the modern age of fly fishing, albeit not to their benefit in the long run. I started hanging out with anglers at the take outs, local bars, fire rings, campgrounds, and my house.  

My lady and I have 3 kids, we live the fly fishing guide lifestyle to a T, and we have an open door kinda house.  I live right in town, less than a mile from my favorite put it, drift boat parked out front so the world can see, and I have people stop by all the time once the season starts.  Just yesterday we had visitors that saw me hanging outside swing in and talk trout for an hour.  We almost always have a fire each night, with camp chairs sitting around on our patio, and most nights we have at least one extra person and/or kid hanging around.  It’s how we like it.  My wife loves seeing anglers come over and how we get into talking about fish, I learn something every time someone stops by to talk trout or just see how things are going.  We live a very care free life that revolves around talking passionately about life and the things we love.  

That is what draws me to fly fishing.  There is a passion that runs through this activity that is unlike any other I have had the pleasure of participating in.  I don’t want to see the photo of the brown you caught last year, I want to hear about how you tricked it.  The events leading up to it.  That quirky gas station you stopped at before you got to the put in.  That guide that you met that told you that story. The smell of the woods and the burnt coffee the next morning.  Give me sustinence with your fish stories and pics.  

God forbid I get a little plot with my fish porn.  
Swing by, I don’t just wanna see ya riverside. 

Tamarack

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River Update 4/6/16

Well, took my eldest daughter out today and we slayed them. Cutties were super active today. 

We hooked into a lot of trout on the nymph and even found a pod of close to 15 bigger Cutties having a feeding frenzy in the fast water smacking mayfly nymphs. March Browns are starting to pop as well!

I still have Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th open this weekend. 

Offering a $300.00 full day trip for 2 anglers with lunch. Last minute booking anyone?  

Hope to see ya riverside.  

 

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River Update 4/3/16

Took one last trip today before taking a few days off to tie up some flies, do some TU stuff, and rest my trouty brain. River has come up above the Teanaway but it is holding for now. Irrigation has started and will ramp up this week. The snow melt is in full swing as well and the Teanaway is sitting above 1600 cfs and fluctuating close to 2000 on the warm days. 

  
The fish are spawning. So that isn’t helping with the fishing. Our trout get focused on making baby troots and that’s good because we are expecting a great spawn this season with the zero drought conditions. 

We should see the population increase over the next few seasons because of this. 

As the river settles down over the next week and the trout finish their business, fishing is going to get stupid. March Browns are just starting. And when these fish get reset after all the funkiness they will be wicked HANGRY. 

  
Water temps are rising to 50 during the day. Once the system gets flooded with cold melt water that will take a little bit to rise back up as well. Skwallas seem to be almost done, as are BWOs. Short but sweet as always. March Browns are some serious business on this river. So it’s gonna be wicked fun here really soon. Streamers are starting to work more, and we have salmon flies and Caddis coming up. Don’t forget Drakes in the upper!  

  
The river is poised for awesomeness and epic trout chasing days. The calendar is filling up so give me a call and let’s go chase some wild Yakima troots!
Tamarack