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Great Weekend on the Yakima

955 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Mumbles
With a three day pass from the house boss, friends descending on the Cle Elum/Ellensburg area, the WFFF Expo and the PHWFF gathering there was a ton of stuff going on. Not sure exactly how I got the three day pass from the misses or the invitations to come and hang out with all these fine folks, but I was up for the adventure.

Friday I met Rob, Jason and Jason in North Bend. We had a hilarious breakfast then hit the road for Cle Elum. We floated from South Cle Elum to State (also called East I believe). Although this float is not long in river miles, we planned for a long day on the water so we had lots of time to pull over and take our time fishing in this beautiful setting. Water temps were in the mid 40's but warmer than the last time I was over there, thank you again Derek Young for the open seat. Air temps were around 50 but it was windy. Sustained winds were probably in the mid 20mph range, but the gusts were higher, likely 35 to 40. The benefit of this upper stretch, so I'm told because I've not seen the whole river yet, is that the woodlands allow for a bit of a break from the winds. We found this to be true and we found ways to get fishable casts out (hey Panhandle, switch rods beat the wind!). We saw hatches galore around mid day to 2pm. Large numbers of caddis, march browns and mayflies, fewer but impressively huge salmonflies with bodies as large as my little finger. There were a few missed fish early but we persisted. I hooked up with a very nice cutthroat on a streamer using the switch rod, the fish was easily 18" and unbuttoned itself at my feet when I touched the leader. I could not use my measure net to get a more accurate measurement because I broke it trying to pull it out from under my rower's seat. OrangeRadish nailed a frequent riser on a caddis that he tied (I think that is what he used). I told him that I had seen a riser there repeatedly and he finally put a fly across the surface there and KAPOW. This lit the fire for him because Jason was the hot angler of the day with several native fish to hand and many more hookups lost. My fish came on the far bank in pocket water where I cast my streamer 90* across and let the belly in the line take the fly in an erratic downriver streak, WHAMO, no doubt about it. I fished this Derek Young articulated streamer just like he told me to and it worked. (Have I said thank you to Derek yet? That fly was left on my rod from the last trip and I knew it would be a winner.) I lost this fly on a hard strike later in the day so I'm going to be begging for a photo and recipe so I can tie up some more. Lots of surface action for a couple of hours but the fish are not pushovers. The water clarity was very good, and flows, as I'm told, are unseasonably low in the 850 cfs area.

Camping was courtesy of Alex MacDonald at the Ellensburg KOA which has recently reopened, has a great campus and is family friendly (should that be of interest). There is a very nice boat launch for put in / take out and their management staff runs shuttles. Over the two nights stay I was treated like royalty by his Lordship MacDonald, got to hang out with Panhandle, Jesse, JMichelle, got to see Jim, Chuck, Ben and others that were doing the PHWFF float and got to meet Freestone at the Expo, Steve and the staff at Red's, including young Mr. Hankinson. Sorry I missed meeting Slipstream in person and sorry I got back to camp so late Saturday to miss my friend Banzai.

Saturday was a great day on the water with Your Friendly Administrator and his friend Greg in my cataraft and Panhandle, Robbos and JesseCFowler in Pan's boat. Winds were supposed to be a bit lighter as a late weather report had downgraded them slightly. On the exact same float as the day before I thought the winds were as high or higher with fewer wind breaks. I believe Panhandle's boat missed a few fish on soft hackles and Rob got into a nice fish on his own fly, see his separate thread. It was tough fishing, some hatches, but not as much. There was a ton of food in the water though, and the trio of us in my boat worked hatch matching caddis flies and lots of nymphs that seemed to be right on for what we could see in the water all around us. Nada, zip, nothing going. We parked for a long time at one spot and headed through the brush to some quieter side channels where we found good flowing water, small plunge pools and some pocket water with an occasional riser. It was super cool to see Chris get very focused and excited about the 20"+ fish he saw rising. Despite his stealth tactics, backing away and waiting for periods of time to let the pools settle and then getting after it again it was no go for him. I learned a lot about good tactics and how he approached this smaller water. Personally it was an awesome day even if this particular day went to the fish over the fishermen.

Sunday I arrived to find fewer PHWFF soldiers needing rides than previously hoped. Having two more boats than needed is surely a good blessing to have for this program. Chuck had the other three boats already seated out and both Panhandle and I were not really needed for this trip. Since Pan came the furthest and since my trip was pretty long too I think we were both happy to get rolling home a bit sooner. I made a pair of stops in places where we had floated and I could reach easily by just parking and hiking in, and two more spots above the area we had floated. I really was targeting two spots that just seemed fishy that we floated by two days and the other two spots were just a bit of exploration. For those side trips I spent about two hours working the water and missed four takes but brought two smaller fish, both around 12-14" to hand. One was on the Slipstream minnow, thank you again sir, the other on a rubber legged prince with a bead head under a thingamabobberindicatorthingy.

Long winded, probably lots of omission and not high on intel or value content for those discerning members that need more fact and less fluff. I had a hell of a time. Great friends, great venue, good fishing and so much that makes me sorry that I'm headed back to the cubicle. I'll be looking for the next great escape.

Just added a photo of Jason "Come Here So I Can Release You" and Rob "Tight Loops In The Wind". Also added one of a very available food source, should you get the urge.
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Great report Mumbles! I KNOW what your next great escape should be :thumb:.
Thanks for the report and you're welcome for the fly. I'm glad you hooked up with it. SS
It was a good day with you and Rob on Fri. That downstream streamer presentation you did was pretty sweet. When I was watching you cast from the far bank on the little cliff, the fly looked like it it was a dropper tied onto the back of a torpedo. Good times.
It was a good day with you and Rob on Fri. That downstream streamer presentation you did was pretty sweet. When I was watching you cast from the far bank on the little cliff, the fly looked like it it was a dropper tied onto the back of a torpedo. Good times.
What does prey do in the presence of the predator? Run, fly, swim away as fast as possible. That baby got HAMMERED.
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