Naches River Fishing Report

This 75-mile river, the largest tributary of the Yakima, starts off in Naches Pass and is known as the Little Naches until its confluence with the Bumping River. At that point, it officially becomes the Naches. Draining into the eastern Cascades, the upper river runs through rugged mountains and scenic wilderness, offering anglers an opportunity to enjoy pristine environs at less than an hour’s drive from Ellensburg.
Further down, the lower Naches and its main tributary, the Tieton River, run through open valleys filled with orchards, flowered meadows and fertile farmland before emptying into the Yakima. Best described as a wild, freestone tailwater, it is less frequented than neighboring rivers, making it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a quiet, outdoor adventure.

Summer season begins June 1st, just in advance of the winter runoff, and continues through late October. The runoff can cause a bit of stain to the water’s clarity, but that is typically short lived. During the summer months the Naches can be waded or floated, although the water current can be strong and its rapids can be challenging.
Known for its abundant trout, the river is home to wild rainbow, native cutthroat, hybrid cut-bows and bull trout species. Average size is approximately 10 inches although larger fish are not uncommon.
Before booking your trip ask about possible fall spawning closures and be prepared to catch and release.
It is the largest tributary of the Yakima River
Little Naches and Bumping rivers
Yakima River
75 miles
Seasonal Conditions
SummerFloating and wading
FallMostly wading
Fishing Trips
The Naches and its tributaries drain a portion of the eastern side of the Cascade Range, east of Mount Rainier, and northeast of Mount Adams. At 75 miles long, it is the largest tributary ... morethat flows into the Yakima River. It’s a fun and fast paced river to fish.

The river’s name comes from the Indian words “naugh,” meaning rough or turbulent, and “chez,” meaning water.

The Trout Season

The Naches opens the first Saturday in June and runs through October. The river is not fishable until the end of June due to runoff. The first part of the season (the end of June/beginning of July) is when we focus on the upper part of the Naches, fishing from rafts. After July the water gets too low in the upper part of the river and we start fishing the lower part of the Naches.

The Naches river offers Rainbow and Cutthroat with an average size in the 10 to 12 inch range, however there is a chance daily for fish pushing the 20 inch mark on dry flies. Out of respect for this unique fishery we limit the amount of pressure that it sees, making it a sought after destination.
Fishing Waters:
  • Expert guide
  • Riverside lunch with beverages
  • Flies, tippet, and tackle
The 'Sister River' to the Yakima is the Naches. Over the years we have spent many a day on this partial freestone/partial tailwater. We were the first to offer float trips on this ... morebeautiful river... for awhile we did not want to let that 'cat out of the bag' as it is a unique and fun fishery.

The Upper Naches river is formed by three rivers...The Bumping, American, and the Little Naches. Two of the rivers, the American and the Little Naches are freestones. Each of these rivers have merrit, but after the confluence of these we find the river to be a bit more consistent. The river is only to be navigated via boat by expert/advanced rowers as it has a high gradient, tight conditions, combined with a bit of white water! Aside from the fishing the actual boat ride and scenery is awesome. As the water subsides in late summer and fall, the wading opportnities are thumbs up.

The Lower Naches river is formed by the Naches and the Tieton. From this joining downstream the river is considered the Naches until it joins the Yakima at the Selah Gap! Hatches are definitely consistent throughout the watershed. Caddis, Yellow Mayflies and Stoneflies are the staple aquatic insects. Small fish and the biomass of the spawning Salmon are another main food source as well. There are some large predator Cutthroat in this system. We tend to not nymph the Naches river much as it seems that it is not needed. We like to dry fly, streamer on the move and swing the fly.

The #1 clue you know you are on the Naches River in the month of July is....You can't figure out if the trip is a fishing trip or a whitewater adventure!
Fishing Waters:
Current Forecast
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