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Current Hatches and Flies

River Flows - Flow Forecast and Water Temps - Reservoirs - Weather - Hatch Charts - Hatches - Fly Fishing Report Archive

2/23/2015   Skwala season is just around the corner and the river is low and clear. Current snowpack (snow water equivalent) estimates for the upper Yakima are 26% of normal, not very good news for local irrigators. It’s a different story for anglers. If the next few months are reasonably dry, the river should be more stable this spring, with fewer days of off-color water from runoff.

3/8/15  Afternoon water temps have been in the 44-45 degree range the last few days, Skwala typically begin to emerge at 42 to 43 degrees. Good dry fly fishing and the river is low and clear.

3/15/15   The Yakima is on the rise due to rain and releases from Keechelus reservoir. The current trend forecast predicts a peak of over 5000 cfs by tomorrow at Umptanum followed by a rapid drop. The river should be in decent shape by mid-week.

3/16/15   The Yak peaked at a little over 3000 cfs early this morning at Umtanum. Not much of trend down yet. About 1 ½ feet of visibility in the Canyon. Daytime water temps are down 6 to 7 degrees throughout the system due to cold water from Keechelus reservoir. Fishing will be better as the fish adjust to higher flows, clarity improves and daytime water temps rise. Runoff doesn’t affect water clarity as much above the Teanaway, but daytime water temps are down and flows are up.

3/20/15  Flows and water temps have stabilized over the past few days, the Yak is in good shape and the fish are acclimated and eating. Skwala, sparse BWO hatches and a few Caddis.

3/29/15  Increasing flows in the Yak since the 25th from Keechelus and Cle Elum reservoirs. Clarity is OK, fishing has been poor to fair. Current flow forecasts predict that the river will stabilize around the 30th. The Skwala hatch has slowed, most likely on the way out. BWOs are still pretty good and should continue to emerge through April. March Browns are typically an April hatch on the Yakima. None in the Canyon currently, a few in the upper river.

4/3/15  Flows and water temps have stabilized over the past few days, the Yakima is in good shape and the fishing is improving. BWOs, a few Skwala and March Browns are emerging in decent numbers in the upper river.


4/9/15  The Yakima is in prime condition. March Browns and BWOs. Fair to good dry fly, cloudy days are best.

4/24/15  Pretty good grannom hatches earlier this week, a bit earlier than normal. Cool weather the last few days slowed it down, but warmer weather next week should produce some good hatches. Still some BWOs and March Browns on cloudy days.

5/4/15  The grannom emergence is in full bloom. Even though grannom provide some of the best dry fly fishing of the year, there can be times during the day when there are too many caddis on the water and catching fish is difficult. The weather, the hatch and the stretch of the river all play key roles. The dry fly fishing has been very good the last few days.

5/13/15  Cool, cloudy weather the last few days- good PMD and BWO hatches.The BWO hatch (tiny size 20 BWOs) was epic yesterday, we haven’t seen a hatch of this size and duration for years. Not much of a grannom emergence but the rain washed good numbers of previously hatched adults out of the bushes into the river. With so many bugs on the water, the dry fly fishing was a bit challenging.   

5/25/15  Mother’s day grannom (Brachycentrus occidentalis) are pretty much done for this year. Another grannom, Brachycentrus americanus, is currently emerging, along with the Little Sister Sedge (Cheumatopsyche) and the Little Tan Short-horned Sedge (Glossosoma). These are much smaller hatches than the Mother’s day caddis, but will emerge sporadically for the next few months. PMDs have been good on cloudy days and should be strong for another month. Still surprising numbers of tiny BWOs. Very good hatches of small bugs so far this year.

6/7/15  Good to great nymphing in the Canyon the last week or so. Not much dry fly, sunny with small PMD hatches. Some dry caddis in the Evening. A slow increase in flows since the 4th have kept the river temps at good levels and have helped the fishing in the Canyon and Farmlands.

6/22/15  Still good to great nymphing in the Canyon. Big dry fly fishing has picked up- Summer Stones are emerging in decent numbers. Some Caddis throughout the day and sporadic emergences late.  Water temps are good, 58 degrees near Ellensburg and 61 degrees at Umtanum. OK to good dry fly in the upper river throughout the day.

6/30/15  Good dry fly fishing morning and evening in the Canyon and fair to very good nymphing all day. Slow to good dry fly fishing in the Upper river- best morning and evening and OK nymphing.  Summer stones, Yellow Sallys, PMDs, Caddis and terrestrials. Water temps are up- highs of 63 at Ellensburg and 65 at Umtanum yesterday. Slightly cooler daytime temps and much cooler nighttime temps are forecast for this this week, this should drop the water temps.

7/3/15  Not much change since the last report. Water temps reached 63.5 at Ellensburg and 66 at Umtanum yesterday, still in the Ok range. Take extra care when playing and releasing fish. Make sure that they are fully recovered before releasing. Big fish are more vulnerable to exhaustion and may take up to 15 minutes rehab time before they have recovered sufficiently to be released. It’s better to reef on a big fish and snap the leader than to play them until they are completely exhausted. If you need a photo, rehab the fish first, then rehab the fish again and make sure that it is fully recovered. Never keep fish out of the water for more than 5 seconds.

Josh-Yakima River Rainbow Pat-Yakima River Rainbow Bill- Big Yakima River Rainbow Yakima River Rainbow Yakima River Rainbow Yakima River Rainbow Skwala

7/17/15  Water temps peaked yesterday at 65 near Ellensburg and 67 at Umtanum, with a slight cooling trend today. 4000 cfs at Ellensburg and 3250 at Umtanum. Fair to good nymphing and fair to good with dries throughout the system. Morning and midday have been a bit more productive than evening on dries. With the higher water temps and lower oxygen levels we’re currently experiencing in the Yakima, we spend sufficient time with every ‘big fish’ to insure that it is ready to be released. This will vary quite a bit, depending on the size and condition of fish and time on the line. Most smaller fish can be released immediately if they are landed quickly, we use a quick release tool that does not require touching the fish. Don’t assume that a bigger fish is OK, take the time to make sure!

8/11/15  The early morning armada on the Yak has the fish a bit wary of eating dry flies, lots of bumps, swirls, splashes etc. Nymphing has been more productive. Not as many larger fish lately, hopefully they have survived and have figured out where and when they can eat without being constantly harassed, perhaps in the evening when no one (almost no one) is fishing due to high water temps. The Canyon has been particularly busy. Whenever possible, we have avoided Fridays and weekends and encouraged clients to book later in the year. Hopefully we’ll see cooler weather and decent flows later in August etc. Avoid using large flies (hooks), size 10 and smaller flies are easier on the fish. Or just nymph with size 14 and smaller flies. The dry/dropper combo can be effective, but why not just use a yarn indicator instead of a big dry and avoid snagging fish on the dropper when fish refuse the dry.

The Summer stone hatch has been pretty meager this year and hoppers are in short supply as well. If the stars align, we could see a better than average October caddis hatch this September (The majority of Octobers emerge in September on the Yakima). The annual flip-flop later in August and Sept. should be less radical than in normal water years. October caddis migrate in late July and August to shallower water along the shore to pupate and many die when the river drops. A smaller drop in levels should translate to more Octobers.

8/14/15  Hoot Owl restrictions on the Yakima. The WDFW issued new restrictions on the Yakima River and its tributaries today. The Yakima is closed from the I-82 bridge at Union Gap to the South Cle Elum bridge from 2 pm to midnight. Responsible anglers have been voluntarily adhering to these “Hoot Owl” hours since the water temps have been high.

New WDFW restrictions

8/17/15  Woo hoo! Very good dry fly fishing Sunday! Cooler water, smokey skies, light boat traffic, high winds Saturday, some wind Sunday, a sudden and unexplainable influx of Caelifera (plus a new Caelifera pattern) and a unique alignment of a number of relevant stars, constellations and planets had Yakima river trout (and a few fortunate anglers) in their happy place yesterday. Will this continue? Stay tuned to YRA fishing reports for continuing clear, concise and unbiased analysis of the Yakima river and its environs.

8/25/15  Still a bit smokey on the Yakima (this can vary quite a bit day to day) due to multiple wildfires in Washington. The Okanogan Complex fire is now the biggest in state history.

Dry fly fishing has been fair to very good for the last week or so. Lower water temps and lower light conditions due to smoke have been the main contributing factors. Nymphing has been mostly good. The annual flip-flop is under way. Water temps have been good, daytime highs have been 65 to 66 throughout the system. Water temps should be OK for the rest of the year even with lower flows for the rest of August and into September. Water in the reservoirs is cooling and days are shorter. The longer the sun shines the greater the rise in water temps, conversely, the longer the night the greater the drop in water temps. Unusually hot weather for the next few weeks could be a problem.

9/5/15  Hoot Owl restrictions on the Yakima were lifted Sept. 2nd and smokey skies have cleared. Water flows increased Sept. 29 and 30 aprox. 600 cfs but began dropping again on the 31st.  Flows were down aprox. 1700 cfs by Sept. 4th, 1100 cfs subtracting the sudden increase in the flows on the 29th and 30th. Not the slow decrease that we had hoped for. Such a quick drop is particularly lethal for October caddis that have pupated along the margins of the river.

A few October caddis and craneflies in the upper river. Tiny BWOs, midges and size 18-20 caddis in the lower Canyon. OK dry fly fishing and nymphing up river and very good nymphing and fair dry fly fishing in the lower Canyon.

Tom-Yakima River Rainbow Jane-Yakima River Rainbow

9/28/15 Not much change from the last report. Good to great nymphing, particularly in the Canyon. Lots of tiny BWOs in the Canyon. Good numbers of fish rising to BWOs in spots, but difficult to catch due to the beautiful sunny weather over the last few weeks. Not many October caddis, Cahills and craneflies in the Canyon, slightly stronger numbers in the upper river. Hopefully we’ll see a return of strong hatches of BWOs and Mahoganies this October, historically the best small dry fly fishing of the year.

The river is low and wadeable, but very slippery due to a heavier coating of algae caused by the low, warm water conditions this year. Cleats and a wading staff will help keep you dry. Kick boaters should be extra cautious when the river is this low. Don't buy a kick boat and make the Yakima your first trip. A lake is the best way to gain some experience with your new toy.

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