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ID the hatch?

1155 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  salt dog
I had a wonderful day wading the Yakima yesterday; but this is not a report. I have not fished the Yakima much in the Spring and need an assist in identification of a hatch. Hopefully I can get some working opinions from anyone experienced to assist me next time out.

Before the sun set I had crossed over a very wide (whole width of the river) and shallow riffles area to get to an island in the southern part of the 'tree farm' area. The top of the riffles began at the edge of a very large flat (75 yards x 50 yards) and very shallow (2 ft max), with rounded, flat, fist size stones and smaller. While wading over it had seemed like a barren desert, with no holding areas, no boulders, etc., and no fish.

About 6:15 p.m., past sun down and getting well into dusk (but I could still see the shallow bottom), I was wading back to the shore when I kicked up a huge trout right at the head of the riffle in about 18" of water. I start walking more carefully, trying to observe the lay the fish was in and any other details, when fish start rising all around me in the flat; probably 8 fish within a 45 ft half circle of me. Must have been a rise every 5 seconds, of very large fish and lots of them, throughout the flat. The rise appeared to be of fish taking emergers, i.e., most fish were not coming out of the water (a few were), but more of a roll or porpoise. My guess is that they were eating something a couple of inches below the surface. It was getting too dark to tie on a fly, so I tried the size 16 parachute Adams I had used earlier with some success, with no takers at all. No flying insects were in the air to indicate what might be hatching, and I saw nothing in the surface film.

Hopefully some of you more experienced than I can give me an idea of what would likely be coming off at that time of the evening, and, of course, a hint as to what fly type and size might best do a passable imitation. It was a lot of fun watching the hatch going on, and hard to leave it, but I had a bit of a walk to meet up with my partner and get back to the car. I would like to be ready for it next time.

Your help is appreciated.
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Given the time of year, time of day, and fish behavior, I'd say you have been introduced to the magnificant Yakima midge hatch, or as it is known to some, the anglers' curse. It inspires good rises of often surprisingly nice fish on late fall, winter, and early spring evenings (sometimes even in high season), but the trout can get amzingly selective and frustrating during these rises. Ironically, the fishing (or catching anyway) is often a little easier if the hatch and rise are a little more on the sparse side.

Those puppies are about a #36, which is why you don't see them. What works? You my friend would be a popular chap indeed if you could figure that out.

But here's the benefit of my experience: Sometimes very small emergers will work (#22 or #24 Lasha raccoon; too big but how small can you go, anyhow?), or you could try tiny cluster patterns (#20 griffiths gnat or renegade, tied sparse). Lengthen to a minimum of 12' leader with a 24" to 36" 6x tippit (smaller if you dare). Pick an individual fish, try to figure out its rhythm, cast as well as you ever have, and drift your fly right into its open mouth. Simply repeat ten or twelve times for a guaranteed good evening.
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iagree Probably were midges. But don't count out the blue wings as the Yakima has been having some great hatches over the last week.

The fish could have been keying on the emergers or the duns as they rode on the surface. If the fish are keying on blue wings they don't necessarily come out of the water to eat them. Usually the splashiest rises are small fish, not always but often.

It's tough to fish midge hatches and BWO hatches in the dark. All of the flies Ray mentioned and match-the-hatch flies for BWO's are tough enough to see in the light. Especially for old guys like me. :(

When all else fails, try a size 16/18 BWO or olive parachute adams with a vis post. I am not enough of a masochist to fish size 18 and 20 griffith's gnats in the waning light. If the fishing is that tough I'd rather sit on the bank and smoke a stogie.
All I can say is WOW. :eek: Quite the skills test. It may be more than I'm ready for, but I do like a good challenge. I really appreciate the feedback.

Jim & Ray, what do you think of this rig up: a hivis BWO dunn, say size 16, fished dry as an indicator / locator with a smaller BWO emerger and a tiny midge as droppers each tied down about 12" apart? That's the only way I can think of to be able to observe your drift and keep it drag free.

I wouldn't have to cast very far, as they did not seem spooky while on the feed and several were rising within 20 ft of me; I wouldn't want to cast very far for fear of a tangled mess. I would have to tie up several variations well in advance of the hatch. If I only caught one of those fish I would be able to get that rise out of my head and turn to more reasonable activities like pounding the shore with gargantuan skawallas.
Thanks for the response.
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