Jditto: I fished the Yak yesterday too -- pretty much about 10 miles downstream of Cle Elum. Despite our close proximity, I didn't see anyone else, save for one guy drifting the river, the whole time I was there (from 10:30am to 2:30pm). I found the fishing to be tough with the wind and the ultra-clear water, but I managed to C & R four fish -- three smallish rainbows and one nice cutthroat. Got 'em all on a #12 orange stimulator. After reading reports from the past two weeks, I was expecting the fishing to be better than it was -- I had to work hard for those fish, hoofing it upsttream and downstream from where I accessed the river originally -- but it was a lovely day to be on the water. Saw three deer, plus some hefty kings pushing their way upriver.
I waded the lower canyon Saturday afternoon tossing stimulator and caddis dries and a variety of nymphs and only managed one decent rise, which I missed. Also managed to slip and dunk myself. Not a good day. Saw only one fish landed in the area that I was fishing between Bighorn and Umtanum.
I waded the area near the Bullfrog takeout between three bridges and Cle Elum and managed to land 2 bows within a hour. That was about all the time I could manage since I was with my finacee. I landed them on a big orange stim with a prince dropper. Both were between 12-14 inches. Not bad considering I haven't fished this area in about a year and I only had an hour to explore. I might even try to float this section this weekend. Last weekend I floated from Bristol down to the diversion dam with a fishing buddy and we had an okay outing. We landed quite a few but only managed to land 5 over 12 inches with the biggest at 15 inches. Add to the fact that Sunday was a wind blown adventure compared to Saturday but what day isn't wind blown on the Yak.
I fished the lower canyon (wading) between Bighorn and Roza this past Saturday also. The fishing is quite a bit different now that the flows have dropped. A lot of people think that it should be easier but it's much more technical (drag free drifts, match the hatch, etc.). The fish are still moving around finding holding spots in deeper water with good structure. The days of throwing something towards the banks have past. Now you need to work a little harder/smarter!
I caught fish on dries & nymphs at three or four of my regular spots and fished a couple of new spots that I didn't hit when the river was running high. Fished dries on my two weight and the 8"-12" fish are a real blast (caught 6 fish in this range). Fished nymphs with my 4 weight and caught 2 really nice, fat 14" rainbows right where they should have been feeding (at the tailout of a riffle). The 4-6 inchers can be frustrating when they drown your dry but it's good to see so many little rainbows as they will be the bigger fish we catch in a couple of years.
I usually only fish weekdays but even now the weekdays are as busy as weekends with fly fishermen wading the river. Saturday was a zoo with drift boats, rafts and wade fishermen lined up 4-5 deep in every good spot. Patience and good sportmenship is a must. Enjoy the scenery and wildlife (the Bighorn sheep are out big time!). Still a few inner tubers but they are few and far between and with the cooler days and lower flows they can't drift as much of the river so they're not as much as a nuisance.
I plan to start really fishing deeper water with streamers. The bigger fish are there just waiting for a meal!
"In our family, there is no clear
line between religion and fly
fishing" Norman Maclean :THUMBSUP
I fished the Yakima yesterday afternoon on the upper river above Cle Elum and did very well. Lots of salmon (a think I saw some steelies there too) there and they were all over an egg fly. Give it a try but be careful not to cast to the salmon or steelhead with the egg fly cause you might snag one or even get one to hit.
A buddy I was with tried to stick to hoppers and stimulators but soon changed to an egg fly as well.