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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I floated the canyon the last two Saturdays - once from Red's to the slab and once from Ringer to Red's. We started out nymphing, in anticipation of switching over to drys later in the day. On both days we - and pretty much everyone we spoke with on the river - noticed very little action (read: next to nothing) until about 2-2:30, when the bite magically turned on and we had several hours of great dry fly action.

Clearly the bite coincided with the mayfly hatch when the fish began rising. I'm curious if anyone has a biological explanation for why the fishing was so slow, earlier in the day. The fish were obviously there... just not interested in what we were offering.

As I write this I wonder if mayfly emergers might have produced some results prior to the visible hatch. Does anyone routinely 'upgrade' from nymphs to emergers prior to switching to drys?
 

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previously micro brew
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Difference between fishing and catching. I am not a yak expert. A lot of things can change what works, doesn't work. Sounds to me you hit a window on the may hatch. I think that if you expect hot action all day, the yak is not for you. You have to look for the windows of opportunity and be in the right spot, right fly and get them to the net. You get what the river / fish will give you.

Sounds to me like you did okay.

Not just true with the yak.

I know, not much help - sorry.

Mb
 

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I fish the Yakima almost exclusively with dries and at this time of the year Baetis (blue winged olives) are big items on the menu. Normally hatching in the afternoons, particularly if there's a little rain, they range from size 16 or 18 down to 20 or even smaller and, under the right conditions, the hatches can be spectacular. October caddis can sometimes offer all-day action since the adults live for up to a week and must return to the water regularly to drink and, of course the females are ready targets while they are struggling on the surface to lay their eggs.
 

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AKA: Gregory Mine
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Its a timing game. At this time of year, I preferred to wade the river as when floating it you could be too early on a spot then have to wait for the hatch, or not pay attention to the time and be too late. Once you learn the river, and at what time and conditions it takes to make the hatch come off and be on the spot, it can be amazing. At one location, over the years we learned that at 1:00 a great BWO hatch would/should/could come off, so we would start eating lunch around noon while watching the river for action. When it came off we would be right there. At times it was unbelievable the amount of fish that were working the hatch that you never knew were there. One time I actually just stopped fishing and watched in amazement as the hatch was so strong and the fish were working so hard.

As normal, Preston is right, BWO's size 18 on down. The hatch would last strong for about an hour, then we would slow down and pick off the stragglers. Once the sun left the river, it was over. It also seemed that below freezing nights would improve the hatch.
 

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I floated the canyon the last two Saturdays - once from Red's to the slab and once from Ringer to Red's. We started out nymphing, in anticipation of switching over to drys later in the day. On both days we - and pretty much everyone we spoke with on the river - noticed very little action (read: next to nothing) until about 2-2:30, when the bite magically turned on and we had several hours of great dry fly action.

Clearly the bite coincided with the mayfly hatch when the fish began rising. I'm curious if anyone has a biological explanation for why the fishing was so slow, earlier in the day. The fish were obviously there... just not interested in what we were offering.

As I write this I wonder if mayfly emergers might have produced some results prior to the visible hatch. Does anyone routinely 'upgrade' from nymphs to emergers prior to switching to drys?
I really like the BWO Sparkle Dun pattern this time of year on a looong leader.The Antron schuck can be deadly. I agree with the timing thing. With fairly consistent weather and the same location it seems like you can set your watch to the hatch. I've had good luck with October Caddis adults and the pupae nymph. When you pull the nymph out of their shucks it becomes obvious why the fish like them so much. That being said the Yak can be a fickle maiden. Good luck let us know how you do!
 

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I will pipe in here. No where near as experienced as a lot of the guys on here are but I fish the Yakima frequently.

Went out last weekend and had productive fishing around the clock off of nymphs. I did notice that they were very delicate strikes. The indicator barely dipped below the surface and I had to really set the hook quickly. However in between 2-5pm they definitely started going crazy! Lots of hits and missed fish!

Cheers
 

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Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
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At this time of year, you can also encounter light Cahill hatches.
I've seen this hatch happen right in the middle of the BWO hatch, but mainly above Ellensburg.
When this happens you can have a super special day.
SF
 
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At this time of year, you can also encounter light Cahill hatches.
I've seen this hatch happen right in the middle of the BWO hatch, but mainly above Ellensburg.
When this happens you can have a super special day.
SF
Mahoganies may also make an appearance, but more likely towards the banks (not in the middle of the river).
 

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Mahoganies may also make an appearance, but more likely towards the banks (not in the middle of the river).
Lately, in the upper Yak system (above Cle Elum), Mahoganies have been my go-to fly and have produced some excellent results. Have also found that small black (almost gnat-like) dry flies have been productive in the morning.
 

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Lately, in the upper Yak system (above Cle Elum), Mahoganies have been my go-to fly and have produced some excellent results. Have also found that small black (almost gnat-like) dry flies have been productive in the morning.
That would make sense, as I usually run into them lower down in the canyon later in the month.

Never encountered the gnats, but that might also be section-of-the-river related.
 

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Coast to Coast
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Any idea why they refused every type of nymph earlier in the day? Alternatively might I just have missed what could be super gentle takes?
It could just be the Yakima, she can be fickle. Or it could have been that you were missing takes. This time of year I would always fish small (#18-20) flies under small, trimmed yarn indicators. You will miss bites with thingamabobbers or the bulky yarn indicators you sometimes find in stores.

Second those that say the amount of fish that can come up to a BWO hatch on that river can be incredible at times. I've seen areas that appeared empty suddenly turn alive with risers. At the tail end of the hatch and following I always liked to work any little back eddy I could find. Cripples, etc will get concentrated in them and the fish will follow.
 

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On one occasion a friend and I encountered an incredibly prolific BWO hatch down in the canyon. There were so many mayflies emerging (I estimated, at its peak at about 1:00, that there were probably at least a dozen flies for every square foot of the water's surface, almost from bank to bank) that all of our imitations, ranging from emergers to duns, were routinely ignored. It was only an hour or more after the peak of the hatch, when the numbers of flies had diminished dramatically that the fish began to pay any attention at all to our efforts. Even into the evening, long after the numbers of duns had declined to only a sporadic few, the fish were responding enthusiastically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It could just be the Yakima, she can be fickle. Or it could have been that you were missing takes. This time of year I would always fish small (#18-20) flies under small, trimmed yarn indicators.
Very confusing... The October caddis pupa is pretty big, and folks keep insisting that Pat's stones are still a good option...
 

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The Yakima's October caddis population seems (to me, at least) to have declined significantly over the years. I attribute it to the rapid changes in water level occasioned by dam-controlled flow reductions at the end of the irrigation season. This normally occurs at the same time that the caddis are pupating, sealed into their cases and unable to migrate, while the water level drops, leaving them above the waterline to dry up and die. Once the October caddis pupa cuts its way out of its case, it swims/crawls ashore to emerge from its pupal shuck in its adult form. Normally these abandoned shucks are left stuck to logs and rocks along the river's edge, but it seems that every year I see fewer and fewer of them, as well as fewer adults.
 

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Agree with Preston on there being fewer and fewer October Caddis each year and believe it does relate to the lower flows, however with that said I caught a few last night on an orange stimulator. In response to DFG and people recommending Pat's stones, stones are in the system year round and is a go to top fly in a two nymph rig for many (a pats stone and san juan worm) are often refereed to as the Yak river special. However, I personally feel by this point in the year the fish have seen 10,000+ pats stones go over them and unless your presentation is spot on they are just going to laugh it off, which is why it wouldn't be my go to currently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well here's one thing I do know: I'm going to be taking all this info out to the river this weekend for another round! I have room for a passenger or two if any of you helpful folks care to join me.

I am especially grateful that the thread has stayed strictly about fishing and didn't devolve into senseless ranting about specious topics!
 

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Buenos Hatches Ese
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However, I personally feel by this point in the year the fish have seen 10,000+ pats stones go over them and unless your presentation is spot on they are just going to laugh it off, which is why it wouldn't be my go to currently.
Is that how you personally feel, or is that just what you read on Joe Rotter's blog? lol

"Plus they have had every nymph in the box thrown at them all summer long haha! By September they are a bit harder to fool than they were in March. The trout see a #14 Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tail behind a #6 Pat's Stone and laugh. You can't actually here the fish laugh, but if you throw this setup just watch for tiny bubbles. That is the trout laughing."
 
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