The Yakima River is optimal right now as the flows are just below 1400 CFS. I drifted it this week and had fair luck till the barometric pressure dropped and the wind kicked up to over 30 mph. I only recall one other time when the wind forced me off the river early. When the weather report for Ellensburg say windy, best to stay away.
That said the lower Yakima River canyon is a special place with stunning scenery and abundant wild life. The river was clear and crowds manageable with 5 boats and 2 bank anglers on the six mile drift from Red’s Fly Shop to the Big Pines campground.
I generally fish the river at least once or twice a week from now till the middle of October. Weekends are generally too busy in September however I would consider a weekend trip in October. If your interested in joining me I only have a couple requirements. You must be vaccinated, meet me at the boat ramp so we have a second vehicle to shuttle, and be willing to take take turns on the oars. If you have never rowed a drift boat on a river that’s OK as the lower Yakima Canyon is not difficult and I have drifted it hundreds of times and helped numerous people get comfortable on the oars.
If anyone is interested in joining me the let me know.
Huh? Strange picture for our fly fishing club. This is a WARNING to all members especially if you fish Chain Lake in Monroe. My truck had it’s catalytic converter cut out and stolen while I was fishing in Chain Lake Saturday morning!
I arrived around 9:30 AM on Saturday and there were 4 cars already parked (for those of you who have never fished it, the parking area is adjacent to a residence that is on the lake. It only holds about 6-7 cars). I unloaded my Kayak parked my F250 and started fishing. There were a couple of guys in float tubes already on the lake but they left soon after I arrived. A little later Bill Courshon joined me. I left around noon. I walked up the ramp to the parking area and everything looked normal. Only two vehicles mine and Bill’s. Once I turned the key in the ignition I was greeted by the sound of a roaring engine. From the pictures you can see they were very neat and didn’t create any collateral damage. I was able to drive it home but not with attracting a lot of attention. I reported it to the Snohomish Sheriff’s office. They were very nice but didn’t have anything promising to say. My insurance has a $500 deductible for comprehensive and they set up an appointment for me Monday. Now, I need to see what can be done to better secure the converter to discourage theft. I don’t want to have to deal with this again.
Chain continues to fish well with chironomids. Fished March 9 and 16. On 9th some fish deep, then mid depth, then deep again as the hatch changed. When they were rising, the 5 to 8′ level worked. On the 16th, fish were deep, in 18′ of water with ‘mids 1-3 feet off bottom. Mids were larger, so #12 worked, “bombers”. A few on blood worms on the bottom as well. Have fun!
Floated the Yakima with Dick Lange and a friend on April 17th from below the diversion dam to the KOA. Put on the river at 10:30 am and took off at 5:00 pm. Temperature for the day was 55 degrees with partly sunny skies and minimal wind. Water temperature was cold! Only saw two bugs hatch all day. I seined a riffle and say skwala nymphs, couple of mayfly nymphs, green caddis worms. Caught a total of 5 fish during the day. 3 fish on dropper nymphs and 2 on skwala dries. Fun day but the Skwala hatch is not hot up high on the river yet. May be a little better down lower in the canyon.
I wish I had more of an exciting trip report. Long and short, one fish to the net, but likely about ten or so follows, grabs, and fish-ons, including one that would have been my best fish ever if it had not broken off.
A better fisherman would have done better.
I got there about 11:00 AM Friday 3/5/2021. No issues with weather or the pass – bare and dry. There were maybe two dozen vehicles across the three parking lots, including possibly 6-7 campers. I didn’t feel crowded. I fished downstream of the last bridge – I had never explored that area. Thanks, Bill.
The weather was great – no jacket required – what I like to call “nothing” weather, where the weather feels like nothing. I did wish for a bit of wind to provide a slight chop. Pretty grey, but not threatening. And a bit of sun now and then.
What did I use? Everything. I always start with the classic tiny scuds but quickly lose patience and almost always with streamers. In terms of streamers, anything black that wiggled. The fish below was caught on a damselfly nymph in black. My “fish of a lifetime” was lost on a 4” bunny leach.
I did hook a great fish on a B&W Dolly Llama. Thanks, Joe. That one was interesting – two trout buddies were swimming side by side in the current. No amount of Dolly Llama enticement was of any interest – they just looked annoyed at best. But then a third trout rocked up from behind and immediately grabbed it—just another Rocky Ford mystery.
Oh, and here’s my new favorite fly – the Miyawaki Popper. I fished that for a couple of hours. No solid hookups, but extremely entertaining. Lots of splashy grabs and a couple of giant V-wakes right at the fly that made it worth it. I’ve decided that if I’m not going to catch fish, I would like to not catch them on a Miyawaki Popper. It combines my two favorite techniques, streamer, and dry fly fishing.
I plan on tying up a bunch of RF variants.
Here are some photos. Why is it that fish always look bigger in person? The one to the net was a decent, bright, healthy RB.
On April 13, 2019, at 1:00 PM, you are invited to attend the Dedication of OFFC’s Memorial Bench honoring past members.
We will honor the memories of 20 past OFFC members who helped make OFFC what it is today and are fondly remembered. The Memorial Bench is intended to be a living legacy where we can continue to honor generations of OFFC members and inspire each other by their examples.
For complete details including directions to Rocky Ford, and suggested overnight accommodations in the Rocky Ford area see the March issue of Windknots which contains all the pertinent information.
Why visit La Paz for fly fishing? The one word answer is: variety. Collectively, our group landed 8 species – dorado (mahi mahi), bonito (skipjack tuna), black skipjack, rooster fish, needle fish, trumpet fish, lady fish/bonefish, parrago, and even accidentally fooled a frigate bird and pelican. We also spotted snook, sailfish, marlin, wahoo, turtles, manta ray and porpoise.
Larry Elhart, George Hu, Howard Levens, Ray Kanemori, and Richard Pierson (guest) took a trip Oct 10-15th to La Paz, Mexico. Ray Kanemori discovered “Pirates of La Paz” at the fly fishing show last year and signed up for an incredible deal of 5 days, 4 nights, 3 days fishing for $900/ppdo including boats, rods, and 2 meals per day. Airfare can be as little as $550. Richard is the head Fly fishing guide who helped tremendously in this unfamiliar water, is $200/day.
We were targeting dorado (mahi mahi) and roosterfish, and we found plenty of both. We had 2 fishermen to a 21’ boat with a captain. They first look for sea birds, then troll bait & flies, and look for Dorado leaping out of the water. The usual scenario was to hook a dorado on the baitfish or trolled flies, then bring that fish close to the boat and other dorado follow and soon there’s a few circling around the boat. You have to cast flies to them which is challenging because these dorado are extremely quick, always turning, you’re casting in all directions, and they don’t stay around long. We successfully hooked up with the dorado casting in this frenzy, but it wasn’t easy, and was exhausting with a 12 weight. More dorado were caught by trolling, and catching and keeping the limit of 2 per person wasn’t hard. We probably caught and released dozens as a group. The largest one of our group was probably 15 pounds, but we saw a monster 30 pounder landed by another group. Pirates of La Paz will vacuum pack and freeze your fish for you for free.
While trolling flies, we frequently hooked up with Bonito, which is very similar to Skipjack Tuna. These fish are generally football-sized, but they are solid muscle and were some of the best fighters even compared to much bigger dorado. Hooking two at once was common. George landed one monster that was probably 10 pounds. Our most interesting stories involved what happened while trying to land bonito. Ray brought one up that was foul hooked and shredded – most likely by a wahoo, and Howard witnessed one of these toothed torpedos chasing his. George brought one to the surface and saw the huge thin dorsal of a sailfish trying to make a meal of it, while Howard saw his captain bring one up followed by a billfish that presented itself like a periscope rising up out of the waters.
One of the most unusual fish was the Roosterfish, with a rooster-like dorsal fin. They inhabit waters close to shore and we fished for them by boat. Catching Roosterfish was a similar process to the dorado with baitfish attracting them to the boat and then casting to them. They are very fast and put up a good fight. We also caught numerous shore-dwelling species during this process including a lot of needlefish, trumpetfish, and what the local captain called a “bonefish”. It’s similar to the bonefish in color and ability to run, but unfortunately after comparing photos we realized this was actually a “ladyfish” but known by both names. Some in the group also got to go ashore among mangroves and cast for fish. They spotted snook among the mangroves but they were too elusive to hook.
The area is also popular with Marlin fishermen trolling big feathered flies on big gear. A 360 pound Marlin was caught by one of the Pirates captains while we were there. Our fly fishing guide, Richard, has also caught them on a fly after attracting them close to the boat with hookless attractors.
To get to La Paz you fly into the Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja peninsula. La Paz is a 2 hr van ride but a world away because there are no resorts there, just locals. The fanciest seafood meal with drinks and tips was less than $25 per person. We felt very safe walking the streets at night and it has less crime than US cities of comparable size. It’s long been popular with gear fishermen seeking a cheaper and better fishing alternative to Cabo. It’s not yet a major fly-fishing destination, but if you want to try warm water big game fishing on a budget, La Paz is something to consider.
So, it was a summer well spent fishing in eastern Washington. There was always sun, heat and good folks which are the main reasons I head over there. It reminds me of growing up in Montana and heaven knows we don’t get what sun and heat we need on this side of the mountains … we do get good people though, which is why I joined this club.
The Yakima River fished both tough and easy … Ted Liner and I hit it in the early spring with his raft set up wonderfully for fly fishing, thanks Ted. We had a go of it but landed few trout. The weather was picture perfect and we fished the day in shirt sleeves. We both left with a taste of the Yak still needing to be satisfied and agreed to hit it again, but alas, our schedules did not work out so Ted we still need to get over there!
In September early, I and my two college age boys booked a trip with Troutwater and Jonny Boitano on the Yak. Jonny and the Yak did not disappoint, it had been a few years since I was with my oldest son John and Jonny B on the river, and they had a grand time catching up. Jonny put us on fish right away and going the extra mile would row back up a slot every now and then to make sure we had caught the hungry trout that were there. The youngest son had not fly fished before … I know, as my son he should have but he told me early on “Pops, I am not a camping kind of guy” so I let him off the hook so to speak. After a quick lesson on casting from our intrepid guide, he was into fish all day and really caught on quick with both the catching and the fishing guy banter. By the end of the day we were exhausted from it all and had smiles on our faces the rest of the guy trip. I did beat him in numbers of fish to hand but he schooled me at golf the next couple of days.
Rocky Ford, my favorite spot to camp and fish. Not sure why but it seems that whenever I go there the Ford is kind and the company is just what the doctor ordered. During my many trips camping there alone I seem to run into nice guys just looking to get away like myself. A few years ago, I met a guy there that after talking around the campfire, I realized liked fishing in eastern Washington as much as I do, we have since become good fishing buddies and meet up over there all the time … of course the Ford is our camping base. Another time I met a guy who owns a fly tying company called Amazing Flies and since we have met there a few times as well as other places and fished our flies off. Each time I wonder who I might meet there, once a trailer full of guys out to have a grand ole time … and we did … got a little fishing in too. Another, a couple of guys who have fished the world and heard about Rocky Ford and had to come see for themselves. They were amazed and vowed to come back. Sometimes locals, there was this guy last year who told me he fishes there every day and had a fish counter around his neck, 723 fish counted so far and it was only late June. I did learn a few tidbits from him and watched him catch four right off the dock in short order. Last weekend with my buddy Eric mentioned earlier, we ran into a couple Californians well outfitted and looked like seasoned fly fishers but were having a tough go of it. So after a few pointers, a spot or two located and a couple beers they headed off to try their luck. At the end of the day in camp one had a smile on his face so big I think it is still there … he proudly showed me a picture of him with a fish at least ten pounds! Maybe I should keep the tips to a minimum for Californians …
A day spent on the Spokane River was productive but for the wrong fish, bass. While I was after trout, apparently the bass liked my offerings and I was unfamiliar with just where to fish. I think I ended up in a “bass only” stretch. After talking with Fred Timms on where to go I missed the trout area by about a couple miles. Bass are good though, I think.
Small streams and creeks in eastern Washington are great places to try your luck in unfamiliar waters. I spent some time scouting around above Moses Lake in the Glloyd Seeps Wildlife Area and found a few that produced and a few that did not. I am not sure I could find them again if I tried as none were particularly memorable from the natural beauty or catching standpoint. As a matter of fact I found at least ten so called lakes that were visible on the map but upon reaching them … bone dry and for a while. Someone should tell the map guys to update their databases.
Off Pinto Ridge Road south of Coulee City, I found a lake called Trail Lake. On the map it is quite small but on arriving the lake was actually quite large (all the dry lakes must have given their water to this one), and deep, real deep. From the looks of the terrain, on the west side where there is a rather large irrigation canal, the side of the lake goes down and down and down until the water is a deep blue. With no one around or on the lake I was not sure what I would find, but driving along the canal road and looking down I could see a lot of carp. Perfect! The wind was howling from the east so I floated a fly over the edge and down about 40 feet to the lake. When it landed several carp headed toward it and one nosed up and inhaled the fly, and promptly took off toward the middle of the lake. It was fun fighting it from up high and scrambling down to unhook it finally. Several bass in the 14” range to hand were caught and released also.
Crab Creek winds through that area and I found a few places to approach it and wet a line. Although it did not produce, I think it worth another day exploring to see if there are better places on the creek to find fish.
A hike down into Dusty Lake was beautiful but also, not real productive. I saw one fisherman catch a fish from the bank and had caught several a couple years before but not this time.
After a hot day hiking down Rocky Ford Creek below Hwy 17 between Ephrata and Moses Lake, all I can say is “Its a hike”. That and there are fish there, mostly carp and bass but trout few and far between. A good exploration of this area is warranted for carp but I need to keep in mind that there are probably better more accessible places for that wily beast.
Out of the dozen or so trips, thinking back over the summer, I just realized I did not fish the Columbia once, what a shame as it typically produces fish and is a great time … well, I guess I had to leave some water in that area for next summer.
The outing yesterday was a great time. We had 10 from the combined groups, some on the beach and some in water crafts. We fished from 12:00- 5:00pm. Total in that area there were 16 fly fishermen and 7 gear fishermen, with no hook ups..We saw 50-60 fish jumping around, they were everywhere. I was on a boat with Phil and we tried about 20 different flies, we were casting to them, trolling and buck tailing, to give our arms a rest. Phil looked at me at one point and said this had to be the most frustrating day, he ever had at fishing.. Pete Kaufman, from PSFF, was at Yukon Bay and he had the same story, they had 11 fishermen…So the total for Olalla was 2 SRC and 1 Bullhead …Yukon Bay 1- 16″ Jack… Boy what a tough day. But we had a great time, soaking up sun, and ended up at Tides Tavern for an early dinner.
The Corbett Lake outing this year was characterized by pleasant environment & surroundings, great fishing companions, excellent meals, quality research and above average fishing, catching & releasing. Thanks to Ron Miller’s suggestion, we all caravanned up to the lake on July 5th to find pleasant weather and spectacular scenery. We stayed in two large adjoining cabins with an interconnecting door so socialization was maximized each day. The view from the cabin balcony and some pictures of the lake are below. We also noticed a new sign on one of the points so we had its namesake pose next to the sign for the record.
The first evening we had dinner in the lodge where they prepared a prime rib dinner with all the trimmings. The food was excellent and we really enjoyed each other’s company during the meal. The remainder of the meals was prepared in the cabins by the participants and it must be said that these were equally excellent. Each meal was preceded by relaxing in the lounge area of one of the cabins and sharing fishing stories. We ate on the deck each night and it was breezy enough that the mosquitoes weren’t much of a problem. The main dishes consisted of elk meat loaf, beef bourguignon and spaghetti with meat sauce. Each meal included salad and dessert. No one walked away hungry!
We basically had the lake to ourselves for most of the week-end. However there were several Canadian fishers that seemed to have this lake dialed in. Each day they would go out to the drop-offs, anchor up and fish chironomids. It seemed that they were hooking a fish about every 5 minutes. Naturally we were curious about how they were doing that. Several of us asked them for more information, but they were not very helpful. A fish broke off one of their entire rigs and the next day Dave Nielson found it floating in the lake. It was everything from the indicator to the fly. He coiled up the whole thing and brought it in for us to look at. The fly was a size 14 root beer colored chironomid with a black tungsten bead head and a tuft of white fir just above the head. Dave and Bill LaFever set about getting a good photo of the fly (below) and I made an attempt to untangle the leader so that we could measure it’s length. I got Ron Miller to help me with the untangling project and we found out that it was about 20 feet from the indicator to the fly and tapered from about 3X at the butt to around 5X at the fly.
We caught fish using all the usual techniques, trolling, casting & retrieving, casting dry flies to rising fish, and chronomiding. Bill LaFever, Dave and I spent the morning of the last day trying out what we had learned from the analysis of the retrieved Canadian rig. I caught one, Bill caught several fish and Dave caught at least one. The research was a success, thanks to Dave. Following are some other catches and releases from our 4 days of fishing.
All in all, it was a great outing and we really enjoyed it. I’ve booked the same two cabins for July 5th through the 9th for next year.