Welcome to the WBFC
Yakima River Aquatic/NonAquatic
Insect hatch chart. We have
complied a complete list of all the
major insect hatches along with
baitfish and other fish food sources
that occur on a yearly basis. Feel free to contact us with any questions or problems that you
may encounter during the viewing.
"YAKIMA RIVER HATCHES INDEX BY MONTH"
the start of a new year and a new fly fishing
season in the Yakima River Valley. Its a
guarantee that for some time now, the river banks
and low lying hillsides have been blanketed in several
inches of insulating snow pack. Its a
wonderland in the Kittitas Valley and the
residents of Ellensburg and the surrounding
communities are enjoying several outdoor
recreational activities, one of which is fly
fishing on the Yakima River. Crazy
you say, we just may be, but for the local residents
living in the Central Basin of Washington State,
opportunities abound for the adventurous angler
any time of the year.
the coldest month of the season just about
everywhere in the Western hemisphere.
Conditions throughout the Yakima River Valley during
the month of January will remain fairly consistent.
Cold areas, blanketed by thick fog banks are typical
this time of year. The mighty Columbia River
is less then thirty miles distance, so during
periods of the month, moisture rising from this
large body of water will create dense areas of fog
that will settle in between the low lying hills of
the Ellensburg Valley.
Aquatic insects hatches this month are kept to
a bare minimum and aren't hard to figure out.
Midges, midges and more midges are the
mainstay of emerging aquatics that will
occur during the afternoons. The slow
moving pools and tail outs of the river are
where you will the majority of this winter
activity happening. Throughout periods
of the day, trout of all sizes will key in on
this tiny minuscule of an insect and feed at
opportune times. Its hard to believe
that such a small insect would key the
attentions of a large size trout, however when
thousands of the larva and adult midges are
available, this belly feeding event will
occur. A patient fly fishermen can most
times with the correct pattern and size dupe
many of these feeding opportunists.
Emerger style or small larva patterns fish in
these areas will also provide results.
migration will intensify this month
as well as thousands of stonefly nymphs creep along
the bottom of the Yakima. These early spring
stoneflies are making their yearly exodus in
preparation for the February adult emergence.
The trout as well as many of the other fish species
of the Yakima are feeding veraciously on these
plentiful stonefly nymphs. During this time
you may be amazed at the places you find these
conditions will vary this month and are strictly
dictated by weather conditions. If the winter
climate operates within normal perimeters, water
conditions will remain consistent. If
temperatures drop well below the freezing level,
slush ice will form in the river creating harsh icy
fishing conditions. For those that have
discovered Yakima River winter fishing and prefer
the benefit of an un deserted, quiet river this time
of year, visit our river journal page for the latest
in Yakima River fishing conditions. You are
also welcome to visit the pro shop in Ellensburg or
give the Worley Bugger crew a call for the latest
arrived and the landscape in the Yakima River Valley is beginning to
look much different now. The cold, foggy days of January are
shades of the past and a much warmer climate is on the horizon.
The low lying snow, especially accumulations that have collected in
the Rodeo City over the winter are quickly dissolving under the
warm afternoon sunshine. Even the low lying snow around the
hillsides of the river is beginning to disappear.
capped peaks of the Cascade Mountain Range tower
over the Kittitas Valley, creating a spectacular
picturesque back drop. The water reserves
for the upcoming year have frozen high atop these
peaks. A standing monument to Mother Nature
and millions of years of evolution. This month,
the average daily temperature will skyrocket almost fifteen degrees
from what we experienced in January. Fifteen degrees may not seem like
much, but for this time of year it is mammoth.
The majority of the
month's fishing will still consistent of subsurface
fishing techniques. An emergence of Midges
will still occur and at times during the month,
clusters or balls of these tiny insects will form.
This can be fun, exciting dry fly fishing as trout
slurp orgies of these insects off the waters
Due to lower water flows, a combination of trout
species, Rocky Mountain Whitefish and
Mountain Suckers will all congregate in the pools of
the Yakima throughout the month. Whitefish
are usually found in the tops of the runs and
riffles, where the faster moving water flows over
medium to large size boulders. Trout
generally take up a holding position in the slow
portions of a river. Learning to
read water for specific times of the year is key
to any fishermen's successes.
the month progresses and the air temperatures begin to warm, Skwalla
Stonefly adults will become present in areas of the Yakima.
Generally you can presume around the 3rd week of February tell tale
signs of adult activity are apparent. Foraging on Midge Larva,
baitfish, cased caddis larva and sculpins becomes less of a
necessity as this predominate stonefly species makes it's initial
appearance on the Yakima
The migration of Skwalla stones is much like the
exodus of other stonefly genus. The
sub-aquatic nymphs move along the bottom of the
river, migrating towards the shoreline.
Here, they become highly vulnerable as fast,
erratic currents wash them into the feeding lies
of hungry, suspecting trout.
Do not neglect the
shallow edges of the river. Trout key in
very quickly to the presence of this new found food
source and wait along the edges of the shallows to
feed on these vulnerable insects trying to escape
to the banks of the river.
Olive Mayflies will also become an
intricate portion of the trout's diet during the last days of
this month. The clinging nymphs will be an important part
of your fishing strategies with the adult duns and emegers
taking precedence during the early hours of the afternoon. The Yakima's spring
Baetis are generally a size #16, however at times the river can
produce a larger size mayfly. Make sure you cover your bases with sizes #14 to an
#18 for spring fishing. Cripple and emerger patterns
should decorate the compartments of your fly box as well. These patterns
should be an intricate part of your spring fishing
fishing is officially ushered in during the month of
March in the Yakima River Valley.
If you aren't fishing this fabulous Central
Washington trout stream during the month of March,
you could possibly be missing some of the best
fishing of the spring.
Water flows characteristically remain low and the trout
maintain their winter holding lies. However, water
temperatures are on the rise and so are the trout's
During the first week
of March, the Skwalla Stonefly adults will begin forming in larger
numbers along the river banks of the river.
The Yakima rainbows are attentive and eagerly anticipate their
opportunity to gorge themselves on this large size spring morsel. Because this stonefly
is an pre-spring/post winter insect, it's movements are
very limited while it remains suspended on the water. The majority of the
day a dead drift of your Skwalla pattern is essential. Small twitches may invoke a
strike, but for the most part a drag free drift will be required of
your Skwalla imitations around the grassy banks and slower pools of
the river. Don't hesitate to work the shallow edges
as well. Trout have been consuming nymphs now for
several months and are aware of their presence. They quickly
mount their attack as the
formation of the adults begins. Holding in low water, where
camouflage and cover from the river is available is standard
practice for an opportunistic rainbow. Many fly
fishermen feel the Stimulator or a big bushy pattern heavily
hackled is a good choice
when selecting a fly to imitate the
In my opinion, this fly really doesn't perform well in lower
water spring situations.
Much to bushy to productively duplicate this natural insect in
shallow water conditions. Select a pattern that rides flat in the water
and projects a natural silhouette. Flies like the Stimulator that
are heavily hackled are great summer time, fast water pattern.
The emergence of
mayflies will appear over the
water's of the Yakima during your
day of fishing. You can count on
the spring Blue Wing Olive to
begin its afternoon emergence
daily and lasting well into the
latter portions of the day. Your favorite
in size #16 will duplicate the natural.
The guide team of Worley Bugger
prefer to fish slim, low profile flies
that represent the natural insect. The Lawson's No Hackle,
Floating Nymph, Brewers Butthead
Sparkle Dun or Suspended Cripples are
all excellent patterns to match the
March Brown Mayfly will also begin its yearly
emergence cycle on the Yakima during the month of
March, commencing in the latter days of the
month. A size 14 March Brown pattern will be
effective during the hatch. The nymphs are a
healthy part of the trout's diet throughout the
month of March and are usually overlooked as an
important food item by fly fishermen. Vast numbers of these sub
aquatic insects have already been congregating
during the early spring months, so fishing a imitation to match
the natural will be effective throughout most of
the main stem of the Yakima.
The month of April will generally
produces some of the best fly fishing you can experience on the Yakima.
However, this can be an unstable time during the spring. Water and air
temperatures are rising and the spring thaw can and will begin sometime during
the month of April. The renowned emergence of the spring mayfly, the March Brown
starts to occur. Water conditions, temperature and specific sections of the
river will determine the density of this spectacular mayfly emergence.
This mayfly will appear on all areas of the river, however some sections of the
Yakima produce a far greater concentration of mayflies on a day to day basis. This is primarily due to cleaner, less
silt ridden water conditions. Mayflies, unlike Caddisflies require a
cleaner environment to thrive. You will find these productive waters above the
"Yakima River Canyon"
a steady cycle of these size
#12 to #14 Mayflies begins,
appearance will initiate the same time each day
throughout the entire month of April. During this month, we will also see
of Blue Wings as well as the Swalla Stoneflies. Baetis hatches will
appear by mid-morning and will continue
day. Both mayfly species will mix, form and congregate in the foam
lines of the river. Generally, trout will feed upon the larger of the two
insects, however this rule doesn't always
A keen eye on your part will have to make
the determination. Once you have established
and concluded the feeding intent of the Yakima
Rainbows, adjusting your pattern selection and
present your imitation accordingly.
As water and air
temperatures steadily begin to rise during the month, Caddis will
make their initial appearance over the waters of this Central
Washington river. Conceivably several varieties and sizes of
Caddis may begin appearing. Sometime during the month, large
Sedge Caddis and small Grannom Caddis will make their presence
known. Fishing and observations and become quite interesting
as several species of aquatic insects have now become available to
foraging fish. Your skills as a fly fishermen will be called
upon to make this selective determination.
During the month of May, an avid Yakima River fly fishermen can expect to see the arrival of
several new and exciting aquatic insect emergences. Along with
this addition of new aquatics, you will also encounter the previous
months insects as well. The river will continue to produce the
afternoon mayfly emergences of March Browns and Blue Wing Olives. River flows and conditions depend entirely on
the winters snow pack accumulations. On an average, the river
would be operating at levels between 2000 cfs (cubic feet per
second) and 2800 cfs. If this is the case, the lower portions
of the Yakima will be difficult for bank fishermen. When
the river reaches these levels, the Yakima takes on a whole new
look. This is a big western river now, so fly fishing the
Yakima River from a safe, comfortable drift
boat is one best option for a productive day of fishing.
In May, the March Brown has
become a consistent afternoon hatch, however sections of the
river will produce a heavier concentration of this mayfly on a
regular basis. Areas above the Yakima Canyon tend to generate a more consistent
day to day emergence during the month of May. Most years
we will continue to see the March Brown hatch last into the
month of June through sections of the Upper Yakima River. The Baetis
(B.W.O.) Mayflies will also be a constant distraction to the
Yakima rainbows during this time, especially on the cool, cloudy
days of the month.
the granddaddy of all stoneflies will make their appearance
on the Yakima.
Expect to see these gigantic,
bird like creatures flying from bank to bank. The Salmon Fly emergence begins as the out
migration of Pteronarcys nymphs make preparations to
leave the river for the cover of the streamside vegetation.
During this Stonefly exodus, the Yakima rainbows attentions
will turn to this overly large aquatic insect as they hobble along the river
bottom. The trout gorge and fill their bellies with these
3" (inch) large, prehistoric looking stonefly nymphs.
The attentions of trout
will soon turn as the female of its species begin
their egg laying ritual. Their return to the river
is an aggressive, violent act to encounter, but one
that plays out over several western rivers during
the late spring. The female, once ripe with
eggs will flail her body haplessly on the rivers
surface, creating commotion and mayhem in hopes of
dislodging her dark egg sac. When this occurs,
fishing big,dry fly patterns will provoke some of
the rivers largest rainbows to the surface.
This hatch of these
stoneflies will occur in just about every area of
the Yakima, however concentrations through the upper
and lower farmlands as well as the Upper headwaters
of the river produce far greater populations then
the Lower Yakima River Canyon. As we prepare to honor the mother's of America, hordes of Caddis
will intensify across the Yakima. By
rest assured, thick intense blooms of caddis flies are
hatching across the waters of this fabulous Central Washington
trout stream and many other western rivers.
A blizzard of Caddisflies, so thick, so profuse that at times
you may even be digesting a few yourself.
From the head water portions of
the upper river to sections deep into the Lower Yakima
olive and brown Grannom Caddis will be emerging. The
stage is now set for a series of recurring caddis hatches,
lasting well into the bountiful days of Autumn. Be
prepared to encounter several varieties, colors and sizes
of caddis over the next several months. Mornings,
afternoons and the late evenings will all produce an
emergence of some sort. A variety of caddis adults, caddis
pupa and caddis larva at this point should be well stocked
in your munitions of flies.
If this isn't
enough insect activity to distract a fly fishermen as well as the trout, the Pale
Morning Dun Mayfly will also begin appearing during the afternoons in the month
of May. This mayfly usually begins it's emergence sometime during
the middle of the month and will show up on the water's surface in the
latter portion of the afternoon. A cripple imitation in size 16
is a consistent producer.
As the month of June arrives you can expect to
experience high water flows throughout the main stem of the Yakima River.
This is the beginning of the summer irrigation season and river
volumes are increased to meet water requirements for farmers and
ranchers in the Kittitas and Yakima County Valley's. The
Yakima will swell from bank to bank and wading fishermen
who walk the river with ease throughout the spring months will find the task
now near impossible.
this period of high water, insect hatches may become stagnant until the river
stabilizes and returns to a consistent flow. Once a stable flow is
established, usually in a weeks period of time, expect to see a continuing blizzard
of Caddis throughout the Yakima system. Emerger and pupa imitations will be productive during periods of extreme Caddis
activity. Adult patterns skated and twitched on the surface in the evening hours becomes a nightly
In June, the Pale Morning Dun
is our predominate
summer time mayfly on the
and afternoon cycles of this brilliant bodied insect take place
throughout the river. Even in the high heat of June, the
PMD dun will hatch in the early afternoons with the spinner
becoming important in the later portions of the day. A
size #16 is dead on match to imitate the adult dun. Fish
emergers, cripples in the same size, while selecting a bit
bigger size #14 to cover your bases here when matching the
natural subsurface food form. Expect to encounter hatches
of the Pale Morning Dun well into the dog days of August.
A close relative of the PMD, the Pale Evening Dun will also
occur during the same month. This bigger of the two
mayflies will emerge during the same period. Be on the
lookout for its appearances as well.
During the month of June, the fly fishermen of the Yakima will
begin to see the first signs of a Golden Stonefly hatch.
This large Stonefly will emerge throughout the entire "catch &
release" system of the Yakima, however a large population of
these stones do reside in the lower reaches of the
The sections of the upper
Cle Elum can experience intense hatches of these gold colored stoneflies
during the latter part of the month. This golden colored
stonefly is a much different creature than it's previous months
predecessor, the Salmon Fly, which hatches on the Yakima during the
month of May.
emergent behavior of
this large aquatic insect is like no other found in the
stonefly world. This
nymph does not crawl along
the bottom of the river and emerge at night along the river banks,
exoskeleton to form a winged adult. Rather, it emerges during the heat of the day,
breaking the surface tension of the water much like a
oversized Caddis or Mayfly. It desperately attempts to
take flight so, just imagine the havoc they instill will doing so. Don't
be surprised if you don't see trout eating them on the surface. Their a
big, easy target just before emergence below the surface film.
A good indication
that the Golden Stoneflies are present. Watch
the slow moving pools and foam lines of the river.
When stonefly shucks or skeletal remains are present
floating in the surface film you will know Golden
Stoneflies are a big part of the food chain. In
June, the Yakima can produce a random emergence of
both Brown and Green Drake species. However,
it occurs in only a couple of sections of the river
(mostly the upper and farmlands areas of the Yakima)
and can be spotty and sporadic.
Areas of the lower
with cleaner water conditions will produce fair to consistent hatches of Brown Drakes.
The clinging Green Drake nymph is probably the most common
to trout, however when the gigantic adult duns are hatching
their focus on feeding is quite intent. This is a hard
hatch to predict from month to month, year to year on the
Yakima. I have encountered more and more of the Green
Drake species hatching in the Farmlands areas over the past
several years. What do we contribute this to.
High water flows during peak cycle times for this aquatic
insect is most likely the reason along with its natural
drift cycle as well. If you do happen upon it during
the month of June it will provide a short window of fun and
exciting dry fly fishing.
July is an important month on the Yakima and with it
terrestrial fishing is thrust into the spotlight as
several varieties of interesting little creatures
become food forms for the Yakima River Rainbows.
In the month of July you can expect to see much
better water conditions, however the river will be high, swollen from bank to
bank and running at peak summer
flow. While other western rivers are dropping in water volume, the Yakima
is just the opposite. This means access to the prime water can be limited to those
drift boats. Vegetation along the banks is also starting to thicken under the
warm Kittitas Valley sunshine. Along these river banks where this foliage is
thickest, you will find a variety of aquatic and terrestrial life forms nesting
during periods of the day.
Caddis will carry on throughout the month as
nightly hatches provide feeding opportunities
for the Yakima rainbows. The Golden Stone
activity will begin to diminish during the first
parts of the month.
July is prime time for
terrestrial activity to increase on the Yakima.
Grasshoppers, ants, beetles making their home
along the lush banks of the Yakima and become
an important food source over the course of the
summer. Concentrate your imitations along
these grassy ledges
of the river. By July, these critters have become a staple in
the trout's daily diet and they recognize their color and profile stranded in the surface film.
The Pale Morning Dun Mayfly is will continue to hatch during the
mid-afternoon throughout the main stem of the Yakima during the month of July as
well. The little Yellow Sallie Stonefly becomes
an complex part of the trout's diet during the month of July.
Daily appearances of these small, yellow bodied stoneflies
hatch throughout the river, however specific sections of the
Yakima maintain much denser colonies then others. The
upper portions of the Yakima River for one is an area well
known for its Yellow Sallie populous. The Farmlands
area of the Yakima, both upper and lower is another area of the
river where dense populations of this tiny summer stonefly
The Lower Yakima Canyon, south of
Ellensburg is not notorious for an encounter of this
stonefly, however I have seen fair to somewhat heavy
activity at times through portions of the upper
canyon. Its good to be prepared for them
anywhere this time of year.
During the month of August you can expect to
variety of circumstances unfolding on the Yakima.
Water flows will continue to run at optimum levels to meet the
water demands for ranchers, farmers and orchard growers during the
peak of the growing season. With these hot days, terrestrial
life forms will become an important part of the Yakima rainbows
dietary consumption. Thick, lustrous vegetation this time of year
grows along the banks of the Yakima.
Here aquatic and non aquatic creatures of every kind reside in the thick grasses.
During the afternoon, a Kittitas Valley summer breeze can arise. Here, insects
of every kind cling to the river bank vegetation and become vulnerable
as warm, August winds blow through the thick shards of grass.
Throughout the day, these summer time food forms are helplessly blown on to the waters
surface. Fishing your favorite terrestrial pattern or
attractor pattern along these green, grassy banks will provide
plenty of fast and furious dry fly action.
August is also a transitional period on the Yakima
River. Insect emergences of the early summer like P.M.D.
Mayflies, Yellow Sallies, and several varieties of Caddis will all begin to dissipate as
the month progresses. Sporadic Caddis hatches will still appear
in areas of the river at dusk, however they can be sporadic and never
a guarantee from day to day like the previous summer months.
the month progress, an important element begins to occur. The Fall
Caddis, October Caddis or Halloween Caddis which they are commonly
referred by will begin their pupation cycle. They begin this metamorphosis
by closing the end of their tube shaped casing (left) in preparation for a
September, October and early November emergence. These monster egg
laying adult Caddis-flies, typically bright orange in color, attract the
attentions of the Yakima rainbow during the months of autumn as they
violently thrash upon the surface of the water. Their emergence from
shuck to the rivers surface also creates a quite a commotion that draws
the trout's interest. Swinging wet flies or soft hackles can be
deadly productive during this time.
As the month nears the end of its days, water flows
on the river will begin to drop off, decreasing slightly each day. These
demands can fluctuate depending on irrigation needs, weather and the cutting
schedule. As water flows drop, the summer stonefly invasion will
begin. The Yakima River "Short-wing Stonefly" nymphs have been
amassing along the bank perhaps since the last days of July. Some
areas of the river you will find a thick concentration of
nymphs, while others will not host many at all. Stonefly nymphs will
play a vital role over the next several weeks in the food source of the Yakima
the month of September begins, water flows that swelled along the
banks of the Yakima will begin dropping as the annual Kittitas
Reclamation District irrigation
flip flop is initiated. River flows
that raged high during the summer will
steadily drop during the first week of the month.
As this happens several important insect hatches
begin on the Yakima.
A mass invasion
of Short-wing Stoneflies will converge on the banks of
the rivers as hordes of male and female stoneflies will take
refuge, hiding under rocks, brush and
other debris that has collected.
Perhaps the most consistent and productive dry
fly fishing of the year begins during the month
of September as the water releases from the main
storage reservoirs are drawn back for the
season. As flows recede, a large but delicate
insect begins buzzing about the river. The
Cranefly begins its yearly egg laying rituals in
the slow currents and pools of the Yakima River.
The attention is in the details and most fly
fishermen I speak with even those that have
fished the river for years, overlook this
important food source, not paying enough
importance to this insect. Cranefly populations
are found throughout the river, however specific
areas like the farmlands and Upper Yakima River
are far better places to find these insects in
abundance then in the basalt bottom of the
Lower Yakima River Canyon.
The reason being, habitat.
Understanding an insect population and
the river itself is the first steps to
learning a river and how its trout
populations feed. The green grass and,
soggy wet banks of the Yakima River
Farmlands is an ideal place to find the
largest populations of Cranefly and
Cranefly Larvae. During spring run off,
high water flows soak the banks and
provide excellent habitat for these
insects to mature and prosper.
As summer arrives more high water fills
the river and banks, soaking the fertile
soil of the Kittitas Valley several feet
into the river banks, crafting an
idyllic home for Cranefly Larvae to
prosper.. Over the years increased
flooding has occurred in the Yakima River, which in turn has created more habitats for these budding insects.We target this hatch exclusively during
this time and find some of the largest
fish keyed to this one important food
competition for the
annual right of procreation
begins as male stoneflies gather at a far
greater ratio than their
males, much smaller in size than
the female species, attract
the attentions of the large female by
abdomens along the ground.
Females respond and the
commencement of the mating ritual
Upon fertilization, the egg
laying female will begin her return to the waters of the Yakima to deposit the
egg sack. The female short-wing is a monstrosity, measuring in at over 2"
inches in length, nearly the size of Pteronarcys (salmon
it's earlier hatching cousin
that emerges during the month of
May on the Yakima. The male of the species is especially energetic and
often times will scurry atop
the water very quickly. Presenting your fly in the same manner will draw
the vicious attacks of the resident rainbows. The female being the larger of the two
creates quite a commotion as well. The thrashing of her body,
depositing the fertile egg sack atop the waters surface will inevitable
bring her demise.
Fishing an imitation to match the characteristics of the natural can
provide you with plenty of top water action throughout the month of
September will also mark the beginning of the Fall
Caddis emergence. Pupation begins during the last days of August and will
continue well throughout the magical months of Fall. Unfortunately, many
will never live to complete the life cycle. The drop in water during the
first part of September inevitably strands hundreds, perhaps thousands of this
highly important food source along the banks of the
river. Once the period of pupation begins, these giant orange Caddis are
sealed inside their
cased tombs, unable to move to
water. Sadly, many dry up along the rocks of the Yakima unable to provide
nourishment to the wild trout or partake in the reproduction process.
the October Caddis that due emerge throughout the
main stem of the Yakima will produce days of
remarkable and memorable fishing. Emergence
times for the giant Caddis are early mornings and dusk. During
the latter parts of Fall you can experience an emergence
sporadically throughout the day, which consequently will provide you
with great top water action.This is another giant
insect that creates spasm like movements on the
surface of the water. The wild rainbows of the
Yakima hone their instincts to these seizure like
actions. Forget what the earlier spring months
of fly fishing required of you. No delicate
presentation or drag free drift here. Your
abilities to duplicate the natural movements of this
insect during it's emergence will be tested.
The month of September will also mark the return of
Fall Baetis to the Yakima. Here, your skills as a proficient fly fishermen
can be tested. A presentation of your imitation, riding drag free will at
some point in the afternoon be required. A total 360° turn will occur
during the day, its just a matter of when it will happen. A Yakima River
fly fishermen can experience the thrill of a big Stonefly or Fall Caddis hatch,
fishing ungodly hair wing imitation in size 6. Within a matter of
moments, changes can occur and you find yourself in the middle of a tiny Mayfly
emergence. Here, size 18-20 Blue Wing Olive Mayflies will appear breaking
the surface tension. The Yakima Rainbows begin feeding methodically, slurping
them from the film around you. A change from heavy to light tippet along
with a presentation that duplicate the natural insect is a prerequisite for
successful fishing. Are you up for the challenge?
September, October and the month of November is a
wonderful time to experience Central Washington's, Yakima River. Changes
begin occurring on a daily basis as the scenery along the river becomes a
vibrant, eye catching spectacle of Mother Nature. The cottonwood trees and foliage that grew dense during the summer provide
an intense back drop of unbelievable beauty. Pastels adorn
the banks of the river in brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. The rainbows are in full feeding mode, bulking for the
winter months when insect emergences become limited. The strong summer flows
have receded and a variety of insect hatches occur on a daily basis. You as a fly fishermen
can once again stand within the waters of the river and experience the Yakima in
its finest hour.
The month of October to me seems magical. Spectacular colors
that have been absent for a years time return creating a back drop of
a inspiring beauty. This mixture of color, blends
simultaneously together to form an spectrum of intensity. It seems
to put you in a different perspective, a different pace, a consciousness that we are
unaware of at other times of the year.
The Big Horn Sheep once again return from their summer resting range
in the Nachess to winter in the Lower Yakima River Canyon. Here, winter snows
remain fairly light and these awesome creatures stay
nourished on the hillside grasses of the canyon throughout the cold
months of winter.
For me, the month of October is really what
fly fishing is all about, "Change". The Yakima especially takes on a whole new shape
and feel. The character of a river almost free flowing.
Circumstances we haven't encountered in months begin to unfold. The
resident rainbows feed in full mode on a variety of aquatic and
non-aquatic insects of all sizes. From the giant October Caddis to
the smallest of Blue Wing Olive Mayflies. You can be assured that your skills as a fly fishermen
will be proven throughout the month.
At times it seems one can't do anything
wrong. The tail end of the summer Stonefly will reach it's peak
during the first part of the month. Like other Stonefly hatches this one is no
different. Bigger fish that usually demand a more technical
approach seem to lose their inhibitions and feed foolishly. The rules of presentation seem to bend like
a 4 weight fly rod under the strain of a 700 grain sink tip.
Even the most novice of fly fishermen can flail the water and still
have success. As October progresses, the Shortwing's existence
for the year will begin to gradually taper off.
In October, a fly fishermen will be
confronted with a set of circumstances that most have never faced.
With water conditions low, Chinook Salmon will be breaching the fish
latter at Roza Dam. Huge buck's and hens that have made the
arduous journey from the Pacific Ocean return to the Yakima to spawn.
These "Kings" of the river will begin
abusing their flesh, scouring several feet of the river bed with their
massive bodies. Egg laying females will rest in the shallow, rippling
water and begin depositing eggs along the cobblestone bottom. Males
will deposit the sperm and protect the precious eggs from unwanted
intruders. With the river flowing at fall flows there is only enough room for
the biggest, strongest of fish. Here, the trout take a back seat
and get pushed into other area's of the river. Many trout eager
for an easy meal take refuge
behind the newly formed redds, waiting for the simplest of meals to haplessly roll
downstream. As a fly fishermen be aware of the salmon and avoid
disturbing the spawning area. These are wild fish, endangered by
dams, fishermen and politics.
October is also the end of the irrigation
season. Sometime during the middle of the month, local farmers and
ranchers will draw back their water consumption until early spring.
Wilson creek that drains from the east slope of the Cascades, then
meanders across the beautiful Kittitas Valley will begin to drop.
Water conditions at the confluence of the Yakima and this small
tributary will gradually clear. Flows
throughout the canyon section will decrease, due to the lower, unpolluted
flows from Wilson Creek.
During the hot months of
summer, awkward and excusable presentation will at times be over
looked. Giant insects that
emerge during these months are
clumsy, uncoordinated creatures. Aquatic insects that hatch in
the fall are delicate, graceful insects with a purpose. In the
fall as water flows drop, a finer line must be observed.
Accurate, delicate, drag free presentations during
hatches of Caddis, Blue Wing Olives, Mahogany Duns and Light Cahill must
be attained. Sloppy, lack luster casts will be ignored and most
likely spook fish.
With river conditions low and clear, the
wild rainbows of the Yakima can feed discriminately at their leisure.
A close observation of your imitation under the careful scrutiny of the
rivers resident trout can be closely observed this time of year. Your
ability to match the natural in it's living environment will be
prerequisite for a successful day of Yakima River fly fishing.
the month of November begins, the last remaining days of Autumn will
dress the Yakima River Valley in
the brilliant shades of Fall. The once lush foliage that grew so
thick under the warm summer sunshine will begin to quickly fall away,
covering the ground in a golden bed before
winter. The Big Horn
Sheep that returned during the month of October from their summer
range begin their rite of
dominance. Powerful rams wage horn crushing blow's along the
steep, rocky hillsides of the Lower Yakima River Canyon. Ducks, geese, eagles
and other birds line the sky throughout the day heading to winter
During the month of November the river, it's
aquatic insects and the wild rainbows feeding mode will begins to slow.
The trout's metabolism during the first parts of the month will depend
entirely on air and water temperatures. Our November days can still be mild and
ideal for casting flies. Its during this month that things begin to
get much more technical, even more so than October. As the month
of November embraces the valley, insect hatches
become lighter and the aquatic's become much
smaller. As these insect hatches become less frequent, the trout attentions
turn to other prey. When opportunity presents itself, streamer and
bugger fishing can be productive. The Yakima is
home to a large variety of aquatic insects. It is also perfect
habitat for several different species of baitfish, Crayfish and Sculpins.
Focusing streamer imitations through the middle and tail outs of the
Yakima's winter runs can provide you with some exciting and fun wet fly
November is a great month to begin honing
your nymph fishing skills as well. Those that find visual
boredom with tiny dry fly imitations can dredge the river, bouncing
Stonefly, Caddis and Mayfly nymphs along the bottom. Strike
indicators used incorrectly can be big, bulky and cumbersome to cast, but are recommended
this time of year when nymph fishing. The thump that you may feel during the warm
months is usually replaced by a softer, more delicate feeding style.
Choose an indicator that will cast well, is easy to see and will stay a
top the water as you fish heavily, ticking the bottom of the Yakima. Foam type
indicators work much better than yarn, especially when one is trying to
control drag as well as detecting the simplest, supple of strikes.
the time the month of December rolls around, the Yakima, it's wild
rainbow trout and the aquatic insects that live within it's waters
make the transition from late Autumn to
winter mode. Fish slow their metabolism, aquatic
insect hatches are limited to sporadic midge occurrences during the
warm, sunny days and the river runs low and clear. Snow in
different depths will usually cover the banks of the river as
intermittent ice chunks float along the current.
The die hard fly fishermen along with the
gritty old school Whitefish fishermen will congregate along the pools
of the Yakima throughout the month. Regulation put in place to
protect the wild trout population are still in effect, however
bait-fishing is allowed when fishing for Rocky Mountain Whitefish. (?)
Hatches of aquatic insects will be limited to an occasional midge
occurrence during the day. Specific water types will host ideal
conditions for match the midge fishing during these times. Larger
trout will forage on existing stonefly, mayfly and caddisfly nymphs that
coexist within the Yakima. Attentions are also directed towards
crayfish that inhabit
the river system. These can be ideal times to fish patterns that
represent these river species.
WBFC EDU is dedicated to educating anglers on all aspects of fly fishing and one of if not the most, important pieces to that puzzle is food. Under our Insects, Hatches, and Baitfish section anglers will be introduced to the large selection of species that call our river home and our trout call lunch. Anglers will also have an
in-depth look at what flies imitate what sources of food and many of those patterns will also have videos under our media section for you to reference when preparing for your next fishing adventure.
From Stoneflies to Caddis, Crawdads to Sculpin we here at WBFC want you to have access to the most information around when it comes to fly fishing. The team at Worley Bugger Fly Co. is dedicated to making you into the best fly fisherman possible. Check the Links below or above to be directed to our fly tying and
EDU Videos, our
Hatches Index, and our
for an in-depth look at food for trout.
1713 SOUTH CANYON ROAD -
ELLENSBURG, WA 98926 - 509-962-2033 -