Belated Yak Report (long winded)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Steve Vaughn, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Steve Vaughn Member

    Posts: 322
    Richland, WA
    Ratings: +49 / 0
    Returned from four days of fishing the Yakima Canyon and Farmlands on Wednesday to a mountain of work piled up, so this report is over due. Arrived at the Ellensburg KOA later in the day last Friday (9/16) than expected and didn’t get camp set up in time to fish. Saturday was spent checking in at Red’s for the Sunday float and driving around the canyon scoping out the water. Got in the water at the KOA late in the afternoon as fish started rising to a multiple hatch of what appeared to be PMD, a smaller sulfur/olive mayfly and tiny caddis. I caught a few small bows on dries matching the larger mayfly before the hatch petered out.

    Up early on Sunday, excited about the day on the river with Steve Joyce. I met my friends, Larry and Sue, at Red’s promptly at 9:00. Steve instructed us on constructing his preferred 2-nymph setup and laid out the plan of attack. Because I was staying up in Ellensburg and told him I was unfamiliar with this water he decided to do a split float; Lmuma to Mahre’s fishing nymphs and then KOA to Irene fishing dries. I’m not a fish counter, so I don’t know how many fish we caught, but the nymphing was very effective both from the boat and wading. We all got into rainbows right off the bat and Larry landed a couple of fish in the 16+ class. I hooked a big fish as we shot past a seam at the edge of the faster water that ran upstream taking a lot of line and then ran right back at me faster than I could keep up. Miraculously, it stayed hooked as I recovered the slack but came unpinned on the next upstream run.

    After a perfectly cooked steak lunch at the lodge we moved up to the KOA and tied on big foam stonefly dries. I landed a nice cutbow in front of the RV sites 100 yards into our float. We proceeded to pound up fish throughout that float. Watching Steve navigate a couple of hairy spots in that float I decided that I probably wouldn’t be taking my pontoon down there being a newbie on the oars.

    I was pretty psyched to go back on my own and the first float with the pontoon boat. I will quickly sum up Monday – great float, fishing good, catching not so much. Can’t really pinpoint what the difference was but the same flies as Sunday did not produce. The results of my all day float from Lmuma to Mahre’s was maybe 6 or 7 average size bows hooked and only 1 or 2 to hand.

    Tuesday was my last day to hit it hard and I did the same float after my campfire analysis that I may have not fished the right spots exactly as Steve had shown us – what a difference a day makes. While at Red’s arranging a shuttle, one of the young guys in the shop gave a very heartfelt sales pitch on a number of flies that had been catching fish. I don’t buy many flies but was impressed with his effort so I bought a couple of dark, #18 Baetis nymphs. Well, from the start of the float to late afternoon I couldn’t keep the fish off of this nymph. I was glad I bought two because by mid-afternoon the first one was total chewed up. Around 2:00 I fished at the head of the run where I hooked and lost the big rainbow on Sunday. In a 30 minute period I hooked 5 or 6 fish; the best being the one pictured below (excuse the goofy look on my face). Two casts after releasing this one I hooked and did an LDR on one of around the same size.
    Never did as well on dries late in the day as we did with Steve, but I really enjoy nymph fishing so I wasn’t disappointed. All in all it was a great trip and even after 40 years of trout fishing I was glad to know there are still things to learn. :ray1:

  2. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    Great report Steve, and great looking fish. Sounds like the Yak was good to you. I usually wade and have about the luck that you had on Monday.
  3. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,592
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,540 / 9
    Excellent report Steve. I've been looking forward to reading all about it.
  4. dcm Member

    Posts: 182
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +10 / 4
    Sounds like a good time. Glad you got a chance to float it in your own boat. Judging by the one photo, it appears that you’ve got your ‘toon setup dialed.

    Thanks for posting a great report.
  5. surfnsully Active Member

    Posts: 298
    Happy Valley, OR
    Ratings: +43 / 0
    Thanks for the report. I have been trying to get up to the Yakima this year but have yet to do it. Sounds like you had a great time and I enjoyed the pics.