Yakima Wading


New Member
I want to get out on the Yakima in the next week or so but have heard the it's best to do so by way of float-tube, boat etc.. Is it feasable to wade or fish from the bank this time of year? Would it be very productive? Where would one go if they didn't know the river very well? What fly?

Can't wait until summer :HMMM
I'm not an expert on winter fishing the Yak, but I know it is wadeable in the winter with both whitefish and trout available. I've heard that the Lower Canyon section is your best bet this time of year. However, I like the Upper Canyon reach, downstream of the Teanaway confluence. (Not sure how this section fishes in the winter.)

Anyway, here are a few further resources you might try:

First, check out this link to a chart which outlines safe wading levels fo different sections of the Yakima: http://www.worleybuggerflyco.com/wading_access.html

Maps: Check the links from homepage of this site.
Yakima Fishing Report: Follow the link from Evening hatch on this website's homepage.

Good luck, and let us know how you do.
The lower canyon is very wadeable this time of year. In some respects, it's the best way to go, because you'll have opportunity to get in the car and warm up. There's nothing but access in the lower canyon, and plenty of good fishing. The "lower canyon" is the water between Ellensburgh and Yakima. The good spots are relatively easy to find; the trails are well worn. Where you can, find wadeable water that gives you shots back at deeper water along the banks. Streamers, bead-head princes, brassies, or baetis and/or midge dries (if you get lucky).

One more thing: It is NOT safe to float moving water like the Yakima in a float tube, under ANY conditions. A pontoon boat is one thing, but NEVER go into moving water with your legs dangling. :TSKTSK
I just got back from fishing the lower canyon and the water is very wadeable. Probably running about 1200 cfs, though I haven't looked to see what the flow actually is. Water temp was 38-40 degrees with the air temp about 44 in the sun. very little wind and a small hatch of midges came off about 12:00 (also looked like a hatch of PMD's) but I wouldn't swear to it. Did not see one fish rise from 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and didn't see any bighorn sheep but saw two huge bald eagles. There were about 6 other fly fishermen on the river. I hope they did better than me!

Greg :COOK

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
I had high hopes for my new Frankenstein olive I-Balz zonker with a muddler head because it looked good to me. But nobody was interested in it below Roza. There were chironomids on the surface but hardly any takers. So I put on a big weighted Brooks stone and a #18 pheasant tail behind. And I got into a passel of whitefish. Two young guys with spinning gear had worked their way up the opposite west bank. Some think that gear chucking gives the fisherman an unsporting advantage but they got nothing but cold, and watched with dismay as I pulled out whitefish after whitefish with an artificial. I tried to pretend they were little bonefish. The big stone fly nymph essentially acted only as a sinker, as the whitefish knocked the tail off the little pheasant tail. When I lost the weighted stonefly on the bottom, I tied on a tiny "copper john" like nymph too and immediately caught a bigger whitefish. But what an adjustment to cast no weight! I've been casting weighted zonkers and stones for so long I'd developed some awful habits. I've been swinging the around to the left behind me almost like a spey, loading the rod up on the lead and shooting 30 yards with the lead. I've also been making big wrist movements to open up the loop and throwing side arm to get that hook away from me. Without the occasional clunk of lead on the rod tip and the big splash to reassure me, I had to occasionally peak at the end of the tip to see if I still had anything on.

A couple of these whitefish were hooked real deep in the premaxillary (wink), so they had to sacrificed to science. I determined morphometrically they were the last examples of bull whitefish (wink) that existed, so we don't have to worry about that species anymore. I ate them ;-). But their contribution to science will live on: their stomachs had a few Baeits, chironomids, grw's, but were crammed with Hydropychids. Maybe that Roza creates enough of a reservoir to produce enough plankton drift to nurture a good population of this caddis. It's harder to look at stomachs from C&R fish.

Then I went up river to a spot that looks just like a steelhead reach to me, and has produced on olive zonkers before. The nymphs produced nothing, so I tried the Frankenstein zonker and had a fish on briefly. I was concentrating on the rod tip so intensely I didn't notice that four deer had come down to the river right across from me. Nothing on a Clouser. Then I stumbled back to the road in the dimming light with feet that felt like blocks of wood they were so cold. It appears I somehow dropped the Frankenstein in the dark.

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
I had seen someone carrying their rod up the road through the back window of their pickup, reel on the floorboard, so I thought I could try that yesterday when I moved upriver. I put the reel
up on the tool box so I could open the slider from inside and slide it
in. I was thinking "You'd have to be a real idiot to drive off with
your rod sitting on the toolbox like this, but I bet it's happened". So I got started up, buckled in, turned around and I was peeking out tosee if anyone was coming up the highway, and I suddenly thought "Shit! My rod." Still sitting there on the tool box.