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 that 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.
What is Included:
Drinks & Snacks
1 - 2 anglers
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 ... moreofficially 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.
Centrally located just east of the Cascade Mountains, Ellensburg is surrounded by several great trout filled rivers, making it an ideal place to stay. Considered by many to be the ... morefinest fishery in the state, the 214-mile long Yakima, curves around the town’s southern border, adding to Ellensburg’s historic charm. Another top choice is the 80-mile Methow River, known both for its ample fish and exceptional beauty. Excellent fishing can be found on this river within a two-hour drive from town.
In close proximity to town, the 75-mile long Naches River is about a half-hour drive. Most of the Naches river basin is located in scenic national forest and wilderness areas, including the renowned Wenatchee National Forest. Often referred to as the “Miracle Mile” of small waters, The Rocky Ford Creek, about an hour from Ellensburg, is best known for its numerous and sizeable rainbow trout. Considered by anglers to be a challenging stream, it is also ranked as one of the best trout rivers in the entire Northwest.
While Ellensburg is not thought of as a town exclusively dedicated to anglers, it does have much to offer including 4 well stocked fly shops with knowledgeable owners. What it lacks in numbers (population 18,000) it makes up for with its historic buildings, a major University and a large choice of things to do.
If you are with family members or others that don’t care to fish, there are opportunities to go biking on and off road, white water rafting, horse back riding and hiking. Despite its small size, the town has an active arts community with galleries, museums and theaters. Finally, there are events like the Winterhop Brewfest, featuring local microbreweries, Buskers & Burg, a fall celebration with giant puppets, and a highly regarded, large-purse, Labor Day rodeo.
Summer is peak fishing time with a high concentration of anglers. The spring and fall seasons remain busy while only a few die-hard choose the winter months.
There are several options for traveling to Ellensburg.
Fly into Seattle (SeaTac Airport) and drive for approximately 1 ½ hours
Fly into Takima Air Terminal and drive for approximately 40 minutes
Fly into Spokane and drive for approximately 2 ½ hours
Fly into Bowers Field, a general aviation airport, minutes from Ellensburg
- Cancellations made 14 days before will be fully refunded.
- Cancellations made 7 days before will be refunded 50% of the amount paid.
- Cancellations made at a later date will not be refunded.