Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Upper Canyon of the Yakima River

yakima river
Excited to get fishing

The gift that keeps on giving: we used the third of four "nephew-sitting-weekend" coupons that my lovely sister Patti gave me for Christmas. Casey got to spend the weekend in her busy house with all kinds of young people while Amy and I had a guided float down the Yakima River (from South Cle Elum to the Thorp Bridge).

Scott Wilson,Yakima River Guide
Scott Wilson, guide

Scott Wilson guided us in his driftboat. We only seem to get really good guides and Scott was no exception. Affable, knowledgable, knew every rock in the river, I swear. Summer time is "Hopper Time" on the Yakima. The only real bugs in the water are stoneflies and grasshoppers who are unluckly enough to fall into the water. As Scott drifted us down the river, we'd cast our foamy flies toward the banks where the trout sit waiting.

Yakima River,upper canyon
Summer of the Pink Flyrod

Amy raised fish after fish but for some reason they just didn't "stick" on her line. She probably had 30 trout rise to her fly and then either refuse or miss it. She's a trooper though and didn't complain.

yakima river,upper canyon
Come to papa

I switched to fishing a big streamer (a long weighted fly that looks like a fish) under a floating indicator and had better luck that way. First cast, missed a fish. Second cast, got this nice rainbow. Caught a few more like that one, though we didn't stop for pictures of those.

yakima river,northern pike minnow
Northern Pike Minnow

The streamer also caught two northern pike minnows, which are rough fish unworthy of a true angler's attention. Scott threw them back but not before one of them puked up a giant leech onto our cooler. Gee Thanks! BTW, last year I caught one that was about three times the size of the one in the picture on a fly smaller than dime.

leech
Puked Leech

Scott was patient and put up with my steady stream of questions. Here are some things I learned from him:

  • A good mayfly imitation is the Purple Haze.
  • You can use Deer Hair for a mayfly tail (much easier than the Fibbets I use)
  • How to fish a streamer under an indicator (this never worked for me until now)
  • That there is such a thing as the Banana Superstition

yakima river
The River

Eighteen miles is a long day on the river. About halfway through we were all hot, tired and kinda grumpy. But we got a second wind and the day ended well. The Yakima is such a beautiful river. If you're looking for a trip, I think you can book Scott through the Yakima River Flyshop in Cle Elum.

6 comments:

  1. surprised that Scott released those squawfish. They kill young salmon and trout.

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