Yakima River Angler

Yakima River Fishing Report

What’s happening on the Yakima - Hatches, river conditions, how good (or bad) the fishing is and occasional photos of Yakima River flora and fauna.


Fishing Report  9-9-21   The flip-flop is close to being done. 1900 cfs at Umtanum today. Nice to have more water to fish. Mostly sparse hatches: a few October caddis, some smaller caddis and summer stones. Lots of tiny BWOs, but generally very small fish looking up. Terrestrials are also still active. Poor to OK dry fly and OK to good nymphing with Pats stones and smaller nymphs size 20 to 14.

Mothers Day caddis

Fishing Report  5-11-21   The Mothers Day caddis hatch (American grannom) exploded yesterday. Lots of Pale Morning Duns and BWOs, which is not something we generally see this time of year. OK fishing, mostly nymphing, not many fish rising during the day. Dry fly fishing should be very good over the next few weeks as the hatch moderates a bit. The trend forecast is predicting a sharp rise in flows over the next few days, bad timing for the grannom hatch. 


Fishing Report  3-31-21   Tom and Big Yak Buck - Skwala dry. OK to good fishing. The fish have seen a lot of flies over the last month and are a bit more picky with patterns and presentation. More realistic patterns have produced more fish for the last week or two. The river is currently is great shape. Skwala and BWOS are emerging throughout the system. March browns are better from Ringer to Cle Elum. Decent numbers of size 18 Caddis for those that wish to experiment a bit.


Fishing Report  2-28-21   The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is currently trying a “test and remove” process in an effort to control Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (Movi) disease affecting Bighorn sheep in the Yakima River Canyon. The population has experienced a serious decline since it first appeared in 2009. According to the WDFW, Movi is a type of pneumonia that negatively affects lamb survival, but doesn't seem to affect adult sheep. More info. More info.

We're seeing a few adult skwalas and should have good numbers in the next week or so. The river is back in good shape after a sharp rise last week.


Fishing Report  2-18-21  BLM began moving equipment into Umtanum a few days ago in preperation for long planned upgrades. Paving the parking lot and repairing the footbridge. Approximately four months was the last posted period of closure, which translates into a possible late June re-opening.


Fishing Report  10-21-20   O.K. to good fishing the last few weeks. A mix of dry fly and nymphs. Pretty marginal BWO hatch this October in the Canyon, a bit of a disapointment after the last few years of excellent hatches. Still a few October caddis, size 18 caddis and BWOs.


Fishing Report  9-14-20   The flip-flop is pretty much done. 1500 cfs at Umtanum today. Hatches: October Caddis, some summer stones, a few smaller caddis, small BWO hatches and midges. OK to great nymphing and poor to good dry fly, October caddis, hoppers and other terrestrials. Very smokey, hopefully this will improve in the next few days.


Fishing Report  8-17-20   It appears that the annual flip-flop is under way. This typically happens the last two weeks of August through the first two weeks of September. We're looking forward to moving away from the banks as the river drops. Otherwise not much change from the last report. 


Fishing Report  7-31-20   Hot weather the last week or so, with a bit of a cooling trend on the way. Good nymping during the day. OK dry fly with summer stones early morning and late afternoon/evening and caddis in the evening. Pounding the banks with lots of close accurate drifts during the day with terrestrials can produce fish. A wide variety of bugs emerging,.3 or 4 types of caddis, some mayflies- PMDs, big yellow mays and BWOs, all very sparse. 


Fishing Report  7-12-20   Not much change from the last report. Evening caddis (spotted sedge) and summer stones ( Claassenia sabulosa) are emerging in better numbers. Poor to good dry fly fishing morning and evening. Midday can be good if the fish are looking up for yellow sallys. Fair to good nymphing. Coffee and cream pats stone- 10 - 8, and variety of small nymphs- 16 - 12, generally not too picky. Lots of small fish mixed in with a few medium to large fish on a typical day.

Western Kingbirds

We're Open! Thanks for your patience.

Fishing Report  6-30-20   Lower than normal flows and good clarity. Hatches: Caddis, Yellow Sallys, terestrials (ants, beetles, bees and wasps)- still a month or so for mature hoppers.  A few Summer stones are emerging, we should see bigger numbers in the next week or so.

Feeding time for Western Kingbird fledglings.

Spring Bow Caddis

We Should be re-opening in the next week or two. Still some details to work out. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Bruce and Mark.

Fishing Report  6-7-20   The river has been in great shape for the most part and fishing well. The current flow forecast is predicting a 600 cfs or so rise over the next few days. The flow forecast has been revised pretty much daily over the last few weeks. Flow forecast at Umtanum.
Current hatches: Caddis, PMDs, Golden Stones (farmlands up) and terrestrials. Warmer weather should trigger Green Drakes in the upper river. Cool weather the last week or so.


Due to concerns for the health of our clients and our staff, and also to do what we can to help slow the spread of the virus, we are suspending all guided trips. Hopefully, we will be able to get back on the water in the not to distant future. Any payments for trips currently booked are being refunded. Thanks for your understanding and be safe. Bruce and Mark.

Yakima River Fly Fishing Report:  3-11-20   The Yakima has been in exceptionally good shape since mid-February, with minimal runnoff. Skwala are emerging (the dry fly fishing is typically best on warm (50 degrees plus) afternoons). Some BWOs on cloudy days. Fishing has been OK to very good. Looks like another year with lots of bigger fish in the river. We will be offering the Early Season (Skwala) Special until April 15th.

in the net

Yakima River Fly Fishing Report:  11-14-19   After phenomenal fall BWO dry fly fishing, the hatch is finally winding down. Still some Blue Wings and rising trout to be found, but that will soon be done. Fish rising to midges in November and December has not been good for years, the return of that hatch would be welcome. Most likely nymph and streamer fishing until spring. Thanks to all of our clients this season for providing an income (yes we do get paid for fishing) and many great days on the water! 

Size 20 BWO

Yakima River Fly Fishing Report: 10-22-19   Great BWO hatches and dry fly fishing this fall, the best since the 90s and early to mid 2000s.  Lots of cloudy days, BWOs and receptive fish. A bit too much rain the last few days, the river below the Teanaway is up and muddy and up and off color above. Mostly sunny days in the forecast for the next week or so and the Yak should be back in shape in a few days. Less than ideal conditions the rest of the month and BWO hatches typically taper off near the end of October, the best of the fall dry fly fishing is probably done for the year. However, if the river is in shape and we see more cloudy days in late October and early November we should still see rising fish.

Big Fat Rainbow

Yakima River Fishing Report: 9-25-19   Early fall fishing is here, cooler weather and lower flows. BWO hatches have been poor to very good. We've seen good dry fly fishing on most cool, cloudy days. Hatches should become more reliable as water and air temps drop. Crane fly and October Caddis hatches have been best in the upper river. Summer stones are done for the year. Not many Cahills and Mahogany duns, but these hatches have been sparse for a number of years. Nymphing has been OK to very good with size 14 to 20 mayfly patterns.

Big Fat Rainbow

Yakima River Fishing Report: 9-3-19   The flip-flop has been under way for 9 or 10 days after a delayed start. The river at Umtanum is at 2500 cfs today and dropping around 100 cfs per day. Mostly very good fishing the last few weeks of August. Fishing is a bit slower currently due to higher water temps the last few days but should get much better as the water cools. This has been a very good year for big fish in the Yakima. Most fish can be played and netted quickly and released without touching them. We like photos of big fish, but extra care must be taken, net them as quickly as possible and take extra time to make sure that they are fully revived. Mostly a nymphing game currently, shallow or deep are both working. If you are a dry fly nut, terrestrials will still produce fish. Size 24 BWOs and a few Caddis are emerging and you might be able to find a few fish rising in the shadows or cloudy days. Craneflies are becoming more available in the upper river and hopefully we'll see good hatches of October Caddis and Light Cahills as the river cools. 

Big Fat Rainbow

Fishing Report: 8-23-19   Dawn hooked this fat Rainbow on size 10 Chubby Chernobyl. The flip-flop has been delayed, flows have been up and down a bit, but no overall drop. Current predictions are indicating that flows will begin decreasing around September 1st. The higher than forecast flows and cooler weather has helped water temps, highs have been between 62 and 65. Pretty good dry fly fishing at times, generally in the shade and on cloudy days. A big dry with a size 12 to 16 tungsten bead dropper has been working well in 1 to 3 feet deep water. If the dry and dropper isn't producing, work deeper water with a bobber and a size 10 to 6 pats stone and size 12 to 16 nymph combo. Drys: size 8 to 12 hoppers and size 6 to 10 chubby Chernoblys (or your favorite attractor pattern). Hatches: Summer Stones, hoppers and a few caddis and Yellow Sallys. Don't overlook smaller terrestrials: ants, beetles and bees. 


Fishing Report: 8-19-19   Water temps in the Yakima River have been pretty high for the past few weeks. The weatherman is predicting a cooling trend later this week, which should allow us to begin fishing late afternoon until dark again. Bugs: Hoppers, ants, beetles, wasps, bees and other terrestrials, some caddis (primarily Spotted Sedge and LIttle Tan Short-Horned Caddis), a few Yellow Sallys, Summer Stones, midges and a few Craneflies. No change in fishing stragities from the last report. The annual 'flip-flop' is underway, hopefully cooler weather will outpace the lowering flows and water temps will drop substantially.


Fishing Report: 7-28-19   Water temps in the Yakima Canyon were pretty high (67 degrees) on the 26th and 27th. Down a degree or so today. Most of the guide services have been fishing from dawn until 2 in the Canyon and farmlands or all day in the cooler water near Cle Elum. The weatherman is predicting cooler days and nights this week, which should bring the temps down more. Lots of Hoppers along the banks this year. The Hoppers are not fully mature yet, most can be imitated with a size 12 pattern. A size 6 or 8 summer stone pattern trailed by a size 12 hopper pattern can be effective all day if fishing a dry fly is your preference. Or a hopper pattern fished with a Yellow Sally or smaller terrestrial- ants, beetles or bees. Or any combo of the above. A big dry with a size 14 or 16 tungsten dropper or bobber fishing with a pats stone and size 14 to 16 mayfly or caddis nymph 4 to 5 feet under the bobber has still been more effective for us.

Big Bow

Fishing Report: 7-19-19   Throwing Big drys when the sun is off the water can produce a few fish (Craig fooled this fish with a size 8 royal chubby), but a big dry and dropper and deep nymphing are putting more fish in the net currently. Water temps are up, so there are more fish active in faster, rocky water. Hopefully, we'll see more evening caddis (spotted sedge) as the summer progresses. Current hatches: summer stones, some caddis, a few PMDs and tiny BWOs, yellow sallys and terrestrials - beetles,ants and small hoppers.

Summer Stone Emerging

Fishing Report: 6-30-19   Summer Stones are begining to emerge in modest numbers, but the best dry fly fishing is typically in the last three weeks of July. Good nymphing the last few days, pat's stones, and variety of size 14 to 16 mayfly  and caddis nymphs and subsurface emergers. Dries: summer stones, caddis, terrestrials and Yellow Sallys.

Rainbow Trout

Fishing Report: 6-7-19   Water temps are back down due cooler weather, cleaner water below the Teanaway and increased flows from Cle Elum reservoir. 61 degrees in the lower Canyon yesterday. PMDs, Caddis, Yellow Sallys, Terrestrials as well as Golden stones and a few Green drakes in the upper river. 

Spotted Sedge emerger

Fishing Report: 6-2-19   Spotted Sedge emerger in photo. Yakima River water temps are currently very high. Water temps yesterday, taken between 4:30 and 5:30: 70 degrees in the Yakima River Canyon, measured at multiple locations. 68 at Ringer launch. 67 at Thorpe. 64 at State boat launch below Cle Elum. 64 at south Cle Elum launch. Water temps below the Teanaway were significantly higher due to a slide on the Teanaway (dark sediment absorbs sunlight and warms the river). Clarity on the Teanaway was about 2 feet yesterday, a big improvement since the slide. 66 degrees is the current standard at which we should stop fishing. There are a lot of other factors in catch and release fishing which affect fish survival. Hook size and where they are hooked, the kind of water in which they are caught, how long it takes to bring them to the net and how they are handled and released, to mention a few. Clearing water below the Tenaway and cooler weather begining Wednesday should bring the temps back down. A lot of boats in the Canyon yesterday. Very crowded from south Cle Elum launch to state boat  launch, since clarity is still good above the Tenanaway. Current hatches: PMDs, Yellow Sallys, American Grannom - still some occidentalis and lots of americanus, Little Sister Sedge, Spotted Sedge and Golden stones in the upper river. Check the hatch chart and yakima river hatches for more details.

Yakima River Flows at Umtanum

Fishing Report: 5-25-19   OK to great fishing the last week or so. Dry fly fishing has been typically very good on calm, cloudy days, mostly caddis and PMDs. The river is on a sharp rise today and is projected to peak at around 3500 cfs at Umtanum on the 27th and then stabilize at 26 or 27 hundred cfs for awhile. The increased flows are from the reservoirs, so clarity should not be affected to much. Fishing will most likely be slow for a few days until the fish and hatches adjust to the new levels. Flow forecast at Umtanum

Colin-Big Yakima Canyon Rainbow

Fishing Report: 5-12-19   Fair to Very good dry fly fishing. The Mothers Day Caddis hatch (american grannom) is in full swing. Nymphing has been slow, fish simply wait until large quantities of caddis are available on the surface. On sunny days, most fish are looking up in shady spots, under bushes etc. Once the sun is off the water in the late afternoon.the rise will be at it's peak. The weatherman is predicting clouds and possible rain starting on Wedsday  and continuing through the weekend. Depending on air temps (cold days will retard caddis activity), these days should be very good dry fly fishing.

Don't be concerned if you see thousands of Caddis flying upstream and there are not many fish rising. They are migrating upstream and for the most part are not on the water. The fish are waiting for an emergence, when caddis rest briefly on the surface and egg laying, when the female caddis deposit their eggs, generally on the surface of the river.

The river is up 1000+ cfs since Saturday, The 'river regulators' are most likely flushing salmon smolt down the system. The current NOAA forecast is predicting a steep drop back to the previous levels over the next few days.

Caddis Buzzing the Bushes

Fishing Report: 5-9-19   The Mother Day caddis hatch is underway and fish are looking up. The Yakima has been on a slow rise since the 4th but is still in good shape - 2100 cfs at Umtanum today, still low for this time of year. NOAA is predicting that the river wll remain at this level for a few days and then drop a bit. Nymphing has slowed, but dry fly fishng is on the rise.

Trumpet Bluebells In the Yakima River Canyon

Yakima River Report: 4-22-19   The river rose aprox. 1800 cfs between the 18th and the 20th at Umtanum. Visability was 1 1/2 feet at Umtanum yesterday. The fish are still eating, but with reduced gusto. The Teanaway and other feeder streams have been dropping since the 20th, and clarity is getting better. NOAA is predicting 4000+ at Umtanum for the next few days followed by a significant drop. Still some Skwala and BWO's. March Browns from the farmlands up. Photo: Trumpet Bluebells in the Yakima River Canyon, an uncommon flower in the Canyon.

Female Skwala Stonefly

Yakima River Report: 4-7-19   Fair  to good fishing when the river is in shape. Skwala are still emerging, best dry fly fishing after 1 pm. OK to good BWO hatches on cloudy days. The Yakima has been on a pretty steady rise for the past week or so. The Teanaway started droping yesterday. Decent color throughout.

Skwala Stonefly Nymph

Yakima River Report 2-21-19 Beautiful spring weather the last few days and snow at lower elevations is melting. The Yak is up and off color, with clarity decreasing from the upper river to the Lower Canyon as more feeder streams add muck to the river. Decent clarity from the Cle Elum river to the Tenanaway. 6 to 12 inches in the Lower Canyon

Yakima River Winter

Yakima River Report 2-8-19 The February - early March snow and deep freeze eased up a bit this week with above freezing daytime temps and some sun. The weatherman is predicting overnight lows in the 20s but daytime highs in the low 40s beginning Tuesday or Wednesday. If the water temps reach 42+ next week, we could see the Skwala emergence begin. The nymphs are staging up near the edges in good numbers preparing to climb ashore and emerge.

The Roza, MP 10 and Red’s launches in the Canyon are in good shape and MP 20 is icy but useable. Mahre’s, Big pines, Umtanum and Bighorn are still unusable due to shore ice or ice and snow. Ringer and Irene Rinehart are OK. KOA is useable. Launches from The green bridge in Thorpe to Cle Elum are pretty non-useable