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.