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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(If this sounds more like an "article" than a fishing report, that's cause I posted this on my blog a week ago. I've culled it down a bit and save you the hardship of reading the uber long-winded version)

The grasshopper invasion of 2010 was predicted to be of Biblical proportions. Several news sources posted articles of the impending doom, and it appeared that Washington was not safe from the perils facing other states from the Dakotas through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Oregon. Do a search for “grasshopper invasion 2010” and you’ll be amazed at the (hype) predictions.

The hopper invasion had farmers grimacing and anglers grinning from ear to ear. I certainly wish no ill upon the good folk who work the land, but hopper fishing in the mid to late summer is always a grand time on rivers such as the Yakima. Tossing large bushy imitations that look somewhat like a grasshopper tight to the banks is something I look forward to every year. The fish are seeking protected shelter from the high summer flows so they don’t really want to move more than an inch or so to eat. Casts must therefore be right on the bank. Not six inches out from the bank, but literally ON the bank. If you can bounce the fly off a blade of grass or twig of some shrubbery and have it flop gently into the water within an inch of the bank, chances are an opportunistic trout will grab the offering as it falls on their nose.

As daunting as the predictions were, the hopper invasion evaded me on two consecutive outings on the Yakima this summer during what should have been prime hopper time. On one outing we saw a lone grasshopper. On the next trip we saw not a one. Fishing hopper patterns did not prove overly effective either, so apparently the fish weren’t looking for that particular foodstuff. Maybe they new that it was all just hype.

Try as we might neither Jimmy nor I could find a third person willing to share time on the oars with us (even Mumbles blew us off), so the two of us headed east on I-90. We launched Jimmy’s Hyde at Big Horn and began our afternoon float toward Roza. The great flip flop was already underway and high summer flows were already dropping. Lowering water means feeding fish, and we were stoked to hit the river. The plan was to pound the banks with big bugs all day and once the sun dropped behind the canyon walls we’d be on some slow water for the evening caddis action.

The hoppers were, again, curiously absent. The w#nd, however, was not. It blew in our faces and at our backs, but w#nd is something one just learns to deal with, and except for a few gusts that blew our hats off and rattled our fly boxes, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (not like the day before when it was reportedly blowing 40 mph). I fished a golden stone dry for most of the day before switching to something smaller and tan-colored later on. Jimmy fished mostly a variation of tan foam ant. He did try a Chernobyl hopper for a spell, but it yielded no results.

Other than the few late season rubber hatches the river wasn’t very busy. We leap-frogged with 4 other boats all day but there was plenty of room in all the good water to drop anchor and ply the likely haunts with our dry fly offerings. We saw a couple anglers fishing with strike indicators but we refused on this day to fish anything but a dry.

Catching was actually better than what I typically encounter on the Yakima: Jimmy landed a half dozen fish in the 8-10 inch range and nearly landed a 15 inch trout that showed all the gumption of a spawned-out, half-rotten salmon. Yours truly landed a handful of rather unimpressive fish in the similar size range of 8-10 inches. And a 9 inch Squawfish, which I released back into the waters to devour more juvenile salomonids.;)

The action turned up a notch during our last 45 minutes on the water as I hooked 3 fish and landed two of them. A strong fighting 15+ inch fish took line from my reel and jumped a couple of times before breaking off my 5X (at least my knots held). I’d liked to have landed that fish for sure, but it was fun just to feel a solid tug on the end of the line after many previous trips without that privilege.

We saw very few rising fish all day, and most of those hooked were done so several feet off the banks. The only fish we encountered that were hunkered tight to the banks were 2-4 inch troutlets, which came as no surprise given the dropping flows – the larger fish were moving into feeding lanes out from the banks as they do every year at this time. So everything was as it should have been.

Except for the hoppers. Where were the hoppers?
 

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"Ride'n Dirty."
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Thanks for the report Itchy! I am going to be taking my first ever row down the yak when the flows will be under 4k cfs, so it's nice to know some of the bits of info you gave. If you were going in a month, what would you be throwing at them? Dry and sub surface?
Thanks again.
frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the report Itchy! I am going to be taking my first ever row down the yak when the flows will be under 4k cfs, so it's nice to know some of the bits of info you gave. If you were going in a month, what would you be throwing at them? Dry and sub surface?
Thanks again.
frank
Frank, the flows are already well down to around 2400 so it's shaping up nicely. You'll have no problem seeing the rocks before you hit them in a month. For that timeframe I'd probably be looking at October Caddis for dries (lots of other possibilities too, but the big orange bugs seem to grab the attention of the fish that time of year). You can always run a dropper off your dry, too- a lightning bug is always a good bet. Also double nymph rigs are always a staple- I like a Pat's rubber leg with a lightning bug dropper.

In all reality I'm just a hack, though - so seek the advice of others who know what they're talking about, and then let me know! :thumb:
 

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Dont know how you missed em but I sure saw a bunch of hoppers in the grasses in the Canyon below Reds fly shop about two weeks ago, a few scattered in front of my feet every step i took along the banks. I even chased a couple around on the wetside in mid August on the big grass field @ Ollalie SP on the SF Snoq. Good luck, too bad about the cool summer though
 

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Kirk, first I'll apologize again for blowing you and Jimmy off. I would have loved to be there and even could have gladly rowed the whole day while you two landed fish after massive fish. I ruined your day I'm sure. Second, even if the hoppers are not there you must toss them. Any grassy bank with a channel alongside or any undercut should be banged up close with hoppers. Big ugly rubber legged hopper like bugs were successful for me my last few floats out there. Bang the banks though, don't get all tentative and leave those hoppers three to five feet out from the banks. Bang the banks, get them on the grass and let them "fall" into the water and hold the hell on my friend. Get them close, really close, within a foot, mend for a nice long dead drift and like I said, hold the hell on my friend. Down to 2400 cfs? I've never fished the canyon that low, having just started fishing out there this January with our friend Derek Young of Emerging Rivers. I've had a few trips with Derek out there and a few of my own with other friends. I truly enjoy that river, even if it is an irrigation ditch. Hell, I have loved every river I've explored thus far. Maybe the next time you offer me a seat and time on the oars I'll be there for you and Jimmy. Great report!
 

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Thanks for the report Itchy! I am going to be taking my first ever row down the yak when the flows will be under 4k cfs, so it's nice to know some of the bits of info you gave. If you were going in a month, what would you be throwing at them? Dry and sub surface?
Thanks again.
frank
Here is a reference for Yakima hatches, Buck :
http://www.theeveninghatch.com/hatches.htm

Enjoyed reading the report, Itchy. Glad you got into some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Kirk, first I'll apologize again for blowing you and Jimmy off. I would have loved to be there and even could have gladly rowed the whole day while you two landed fish after massive fish. I ruined your day I'm sure. Second, even if the hoppers are not there you must toss them. Any grassy bank with a channel alongside or any undercut should be banged up close with hoppers. Big ugly rubber legged hopper like bugs were successful for me my last few floats out there. Bang the banks though, don't get all tentative and leave those hoppers three to five feet out from the banks. Bang the banks, get them on the grass and let them "fall" into the water and hold the hell on my friend. Get them close, really close, within a foot, mend for a nice long dead drift and like I said, hold the hell on my friend. Down to 2400 cfs? I've never fished the canyon that low, having just started fishing out there this January with our friend Derek Young of Emerging Rivers. I've had a few trips with Derek out there and a few of my own with other friends. I truly enjoy that river, even if it is an irrigation ditch. Hell, I have loved every river I've explored thus far. Maybe the next time you offer me a seat and time on the oars I'll be there for you and Jimmy. Great report!
We did all the above but they weren't having any of the hopper offerings. And all the fish that were tight to the bank were 4 inches and smaller. All the "better" fish were 5-10 feet out in the first seam. The Yak doesn't like me very much but I keep going back for more and will continue to do so. It keeps me from thinking that I am an accomplished angler and that's a good thing.
 

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Itchy, you may have been doing exactly what I would have been doing. I've never fished it on the draw down so I'd be lucky to find a big fish. I think it is cool how the river can be so many different things in the cycle of a year. Never a dull moment on the irrigation ditch.

Brett, killer T-shirt...where could one acquire such a collection of thread?
 

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Kirk,
Some of my best outings have been when the hoppers were out. I've noticed the trout are usually more active during this time when the wind is definitely blowing and have had the same results.
Sometimes having the right size pattern and the time of day (earlier in the morning or before sunset) is the ticket.
 

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I was out Friday and got quality fish in the upper Yak on size 10 hopper pattern then went lower and the river went cold.
Maybe it was me, maybe the river....Kirk, next time you need a dummy on the sticks, let me know
 
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