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Driven by irrational exuberance.
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Did anyone else get into the incredible caddis action on the Yakima this weekend?

I took my first real pontoon float from Umtanum to Lluma Saturday. I was gunning for the 13:00 March Brown hatch but by 11:00 fish were popping up all around me. I pulled over just a few bends below Umtanum, and started picking up fish after fish on #14 caddis dries of various styles. Then more caddis came out and I was enclosed in a cloud. Notably large fish lost all inhibitions and their backs broke the surface like porposing cetaceans. I kept on working the head of the minor eddy where I'd seen a 20 incher come up. I got him to come up for my fly three times. Each time it was like a steelhead appearing off the bottom and my pulse would race and I'd yell and cuss in despair when I'd miss him. Then I'd tie on a different style caddis or move on downstream to let him rest. On the forth rise, I popped the fly off in his mouth, so I gave up on him. I hooked up about a dozen fish in an hour, although I think I caught one guy twice because I recognized the notch in his nose. No inhibitions there.

From 1400 on there was no action. If there was a march brown hatch, I missed it in all the excitement. There were BWOs that came out but the fish didn't switch to them. The trout were all fat and happy, dozing after their big lunch, even though there were lots of caddis still flitting about. I had a little more time to get tuned into the boat. It was hectic for me to try to fish and drift at the same time. It took me a little while to figure out how to use the fins. I had a big guy grab my big black nymph just as I was heading over a rock broadside. I just had to put the pole in the holder and grab the oars. He didn't stick around until I could grab the pole again. Then I discovered that I could really get steerage by hooking a fin back and stroking forwards out to the side. I ready to go again!
 

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Just for my information and out of concern for pontoon boaters, is it safe to use fins in a pontoon while floating a river? I was thinking about picking up a pontoon boat to do this, but was told it was dangerous to float a river with fins. I actually put off buying a boat because of it.

So what's the scoop? Safe or not?

Tom
 

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Another Flyfisherman
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just my 2 pennies - I would NOT recommend floating a river in a pontooner with fins on. there are times and places and situations where you may just need to jump out or whatever - fins.......walking/wading.....we all look stupid getting in and out of our float tubes with fins.....not something I want to try in some current.

it is tough to fish and drift at the same time. Pick and choose your battles. I'd rather miss a couple fish than dump my pontoon and my self in the drink.

Fins are the ticket in still waters, you really wont use oars much. Flip side is river fishing.

Great report on the Yak - sounds like a great day on the waters! Cant beat a good day of dry fly fishin.
 

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Sounds reasonable to me. Would floating the Yakima through the canyon be considered "slow water" in most parts? It would make it alot easier to pound the banks if you could control speed and boat position with some fins.

Any thoughts?
 

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I would say that to put fins on at the start with the intention of leaving them on through the entire float is a bad idea. For most types of stream trout fishing though I will never leave the fins at home (especially for SRC). Many of the spots that are difficult to reach by wading are opened up by a boat w/ fins. Just be careful where you chose to use them. Would I use them through fast riffly water and runs with lots of wood & large rocks. Probably not. However, if I come to a section of the river that is slower moving and has a depth of a couple feet or more I wont hesitate to bring out the fins. Once your ready to leave the hole or are going into faster or shallow water, just take them off.
These same rules apply to using an anchor also. Just because parts of a river are dangerous to fins and anchors, doesn't mean the whole thing is.
 
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