Rocky Ford Creek Fishing Report

Many anglers have a love it or hate it attitude toward the tiny, 7-mile long, Rocky Ford Creek. Located about an hour’s drive from Ellensburg, it flows through mostly arid, flat lowland. Those inclined to hate the creek will be the first to tell you it’s slow, unexciting and the least scenic of the area’s waters. Nevertheless, there are three really good reasons to love it. First it’s open 365 days a year. Second, the climate is mild and year round hatches make winter fishing possible. Finally, its top, public section is a miracle mile of rainbow trout.


Unlike most Washington State rivers that emanate from mountain runoff, Rocky Creek literally percolates underground and seeps up through the rich, Columbia Basin soil. Maintaining a nearly constant temperature, it moves south and eventually flows into Moses Lake.  Also unusual, the creek originates near Trout Lodge, Inc., a hatchery that produces triploids and sells them to the state. Because the hatchery is partly located on state land, the state accepts fish for rent, and a portion of this “rent” gets placed right into Rocky Creek.

Wading is prohibited on the creek but given its narrow width and reedy banks, it’s easy to cast from shore. The constant clarity of the water enables you to actually see the fish and fish from sight. In addition to a full range of insects, the Rocky Ford has thousands of scuds that live alongside leeches on the muddy, weedy creek bottom. Rainbows are amply fed from these sources and tend to quickly grow quite large. Trout in excess of 5 pounds are unexceptional while rainbows ranging from 16-20 inches are commonplace.
 
Before booking your trip remember that this is a “fly fishing only” river that cannot be waded, prohibits use of bait, enforces a single, barbless hook requirement and is catch and release only. 
 
Featured Fishing Trips
Guided Fishing Trips
$
225
/ Angler
Capacity:
2 - 6 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
Rocky Ford Creek is a Central Washington desert spring creek and is located northeast of the small farming community of Ephrata, Washington. It percolates underground and seeps from ... morethe rich, desert Columbia Basin soils flowing south, eventually intersecting the massive still water impoundment of Moses Lake.

This small, well-known trout stream is home to multitudes of aquatic insects and most often hatches occur on a year around basis. It has also earned a respected reputation for growing some of the regions largest rainbow trout. Here, fish feed freely on a vast supply of aquatic and non-aquatic organisms throughout the year.

Water flows and temperature remain fairly consistent much of the season and fish can travel easily through the slow moving waters of this small fly fishing only stream. Trout exceeding 5 pounds are common in the creek, however rainbows measuring in the 16 to 20 inch fork length are customary.

This small spring creek is a virtual mayfly factory during the year. The waters of Rocky Ford churn hatches of Blue Wing Olives, Callibaetis, Pale Morning Duns as well as Trico Mayflies throughout the season. Midges are a constant emergence at the "Ford" three hundred sixty five days a year. Specific times during the season, when mayfly hatches are scarce, these small Chironomids attract the attentions of Rocky Ford Rainbows as they fin freely, harvesting these minuscule insects from the surface.

There is really never a bad time to fish Rocky Ford, however weekends during peak periods, especially the warming spring months, can get busy with fly fishermen. There is however plenty of room to fish. The creek offers over 3 miles of accessible fly-fishing water with bridges on both sides of the creek for easy access from one side to another.

February and the first portions of March will begin producing consistent daily hatches of Blue Wing Olives. By April, Callibaetis and spring Caddis will enter the show and fish will have a variety of aquatics to feed on.

Throughout the late spring and summer months of the season, fish forage on a host of terrestrial insects as well. Ants, Beetles and Grasshoppers flourish under the desert sunshine and will present the rainbows of Rocky Ford Creek with a summer time feast during the long dog days of summer. This is especially true when strong desert winds blow across the Columbia Basin. These tiny creatures are hurled into the water and become a favorite forage for fish this time of year. Large Grasshopper patterns twitched and skated along the banks; cattails and weed beds will also prove productive.

The warm summer months also provide another aquatic event as well. Damselflies as well as Dragonflies, mostly associated with our still water fisheries, also inhabit the waters of Rocky Ford in vast numbers. Trout anxiously await this cycle each year and nourish themselves on both the nymph and adult stages of the insect. Exacting imitations to match this summer food form will work well during peak periods of their activity. Stalking the shoals of the Ford quiet and carefully during a Damselfly hatch can be an exhilarating experience. Site casting to large cruising rainbows as they foolishly feed on these summer time critters is one of our favorites at the Ford. Blue, olive and tan adult Damselflies during the peak months of June, July and August can provide fly fishermen with a fun and exciting dry fly fishing experience at the creek.

Life below the water's surface at Rocky Ford is abundant as well. Scuds by the thousands inhabit the muddy bottom and thick plumage of weed growth that blooms throughout the creek. Trout root along the stream bottom, its deeper shelves and of course the weed line, gorging on these fresh water shrimp. Leeches, as you can imagine, are also consistent forage for rainbows. These two constant food sources aid in growing fish to proportionate sizes very quickly.

When winter arrives in Central Washington and some of our trout rivers close under seasonal regulations or cold temperatures have invaded the Kittitas Valley chocking the Yakima River with slush ice, the water of Rocky Ford stays spring creek consistent and the fish continue on their relentless feeding opportunities. Even during the coldest of winter days, Midges and Blue Wing Olives with appear in the afternoons. The winter months can be a popular time for some Rocky Ford fly fishing enthusiasts. The colder weather and other wintertime activities have chased away the summer time crowds. However, the die-hard fly fishing fanatics will be there and they have it figured out.

Rocky Ford Creek has a long fishing history. A trout hatchery was first erected on its banks in the early 1940's. Fishing became renowned and its popularity quickly grew. Over the past decades, the creek has endured several hatcheries and has under gone environmental changes. Fish barriers were placed at the creeks confluence with Moses Lake to repel non game fish from entering the creek. These intentions were well deserving, however to date both suckers and carp flourish in the creek in specific areas. However, these fish do supply a food source during their yearly spawning cycle, which trout eagerly anticipate and take full advantage of a fleshy meal.

Rocky Ford Creek is one of the few "Fly Fishing Only" streams in the state of Washington. Special regulations were set in place in the late 1990's to establish a consistent lunker rainbow fishery and it seems to be working. The creek remains catch & release only, no bait fishing and a single barb-less hook is required. There is also no wading allowed in the creek, so casting must be completed from the bank. There's not much need to wade the water anyway because an accomplished caster can easily sling line to the other bank with very little effort. Cattails and other plumage grow along the water's edge, which provides shade and cover for the fish during the hot, barren summer sun as well as provide insects refuge from lurking rainbows.
$
495
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
The Klickitat River, located in Southeastern Washington is one of the state’s longest free flowing rivers, stretching approximately 100 miles from its glacial source to the mouth of ... morethe Columbia River.

The Klickitat River originates from numerous small tributaries that course from the rugged, jagged, snow capped peaks of Mount Adams, a 12, 276-ft. active volcano. This renowned Pacific Northwest steelhead and salmon stream gains momentum quickly, dropping approximately 5000 feet in total elevation by the time it reaches the confluence of the Columbia River. The rapid, swift gradient, glacier fed currents of this river over millions of years has cut its way through deep basalt canyon walls.

Like no other place I have ever seen, age old rugged oak, fur and alder trees cover hillsides of this steep river gorge, creating a unique and beautiful environment for a day of fly fishing.

On its decent to the Columbia, the Klickitat tumbles over massive boulders, slices through narrow substratum chutes, and weaves around log-jams and other natural river obstacles. A mile upstream from the small community of Lyle, the Klickitat narrows into a torrent chute where salmon and steelhead strain against the strong currents of the river, dodging boulders and other obstruction to journey upriver. Even today Native Americans dip net for salmon and steelhead from rickety leaning scaffolds assembled along the cliff face walls perched high above the rapids as these resilient fish make their arduous trek up river to their spawning grounds

This beautiful Southeastern Washington River supports healthy runs of Chinook Salmon (King), Silver Salmon (Coho) and the Pacific Northwest Steelhead. Strains of both hatchery and wild steelhead return to the "Klick" each year and proliferate throughout the system during the fishing season.

The Klickitat River is also known for its spectacular, vivid scenery and abundant wildlife that roam the hillsides and banks of the river. Its not uncommon during your day of fishing to observe a diverse variety of game species. Throughout most areas of the river, Mule deer and wild turkeys wander the hillsides of the Klickitat Canyon.

The Klickitat River is also known for its spectacular, vivid scenery and abundant wildlife that roam the hillsides and banks of the river. Its not uncommon during your day of fishing to observe a diverse variety of game species. Throughout most areas of the river, Mule deer and wild turkeys wander the hillsides of the Klickitat Canyon.

Other sections provide ideal habitat for visiting elk herds and curious black bears. Elusive cougars wander the rocky ridges along the canyon walls. Timber Rattlers are prevalent to the Klickitat River Basin and one should always be aware when walking and fishing the banks of the river.The upper reaches of the Klickitat River serve as nesting sites for several birds of prey which include; Red Tail Hawks, Ospreys and Bald Eagles. These strong, symbols of our great country, once on the edge of extinction have adapted well to the area. During the course of the year these large birds of prey thrive on the nutritional contents of decomposing salmon carcasses.

Perhaps, the most remote and picturesque sections of river wilderness lie in the upper reaches of the Klickitat Basin. From the small mountain tributary of Summit Creek down river approximately 20 river miles to the boat launch at "Slide-out". These upper reaches of the Klickitat River are unburdened from human civilization. The peaceful surroundings here is nature at its best---one hears nothing but the forceful descent of water plunging over rocks and the pleasant sounds of wild life.

The summer run steelhead season begins each year on the first day of June. Steve Worley and members of his elite team of guiding professionals at Worley Bugger Fly Co. will be conducting fly fishing trips on the Klickitat River during the premier months. Each year, populations of both wild and hatchery run anadromous fish return to the Klickitat system.

The Klickitat River provides passage for a variety of native anadromous fish, predominantly spring and fall runs of Chinook Salmon, as well as a small number of Coho Salmon (also known as "Silvers"). The river also experiences a strong run of both wild and hatchery Steelhead. Over the years, the river has become renowned for the vast numbers of returning fish and the amazing size of these salmon and steelhead. It is not uncommon for one to catch a King salmon over 30 pounds. In fact, many anglers claim they have caught some of these "kings of the river" up to 60 pounds. Catching wild steelhead in the Fall over 12 pounds is not uncommon, while early hatchery summer run Steelhead exceeding 20 lbs are caught each and every year.

Like we had previously mentioned, the Klickitat's main source of water is supplied by the melting glacier of Mount Adam's as well as small flowing tributaries that fuel the streams rapid gradient flows as it makes it way to the Columbia River. During periods of warm weather, melting snow and ice from the glacier will increase. The water clarity will quickly turn and produce an opaque white color.

When this occurs steelhead use these river conditions to their advantage. They move from the deeper, darker runs of the Klickitat and begin holding in shallower waters. It is during these periods that steelhead feel safe and secure and can easily be targeted with flies. While others have left the river for the summer opting for clearer water conditions to return, we fish with tremendous successes.

If the valley experiences a sudden rain shower and this precipitation touches on a portion of the Klickitat feed glacier most often the water will become chocked with sand and silt. The result generally isn't good. The river will rise quickly in height and flow and water clarity will be compromised as mud flows become prevalent. During these periods we have no confidence in the fish or the fishing and we will wait until conditions improve.

A variety of fly fishing tactics are effective for "hooking up" with a Klickitat River Steelhead throughout the year. Swinging flies is by far the preferred method of catching these rainbows of the river, however it is not always the most productive. The Klickitat offers everyone a diverse challenge with unique and exciting runs. Some are good for swinging, while others are better suited for dead drifting steelhead nymphs. We have several distinct strategies that produce results time and time again. These are strong, aggressive fish so so we encourage our guest to keep an open mind and be prepared to fish for Klickitat Steelhead in a variety of fun and exciting challenges.

Spey fishing with two handed fly rods up to 16' is becoming increasable popular each and every year. Spey rods can be used on the river, however they are not necessary and in some cases over kill. A nine to nine and 1/2- seven or eight weight fly rod with floating line is generally adequate gear for fishing the "Klick".

It is usually good to have several varieties and densities of sinking tips in appropriate lengths as well. If you do prefer a two hander, a shorter length usually in the 12 foot range is sufficient for the Klickitat. Switch rods are the preferred method of fishing the upper river and our guides are very proficient in there use. We are happy to teach you this fun and productive method of catching steelhead for during the day.

If you would like to experience this incredible river for yourself or have any questions about our guided fly fishing please feel free to contact us. Our professional guiding services are very popular and highly respected and dates for the Klickitat River Steelhead season begin filling quickly each year.
Additional Information
Length:
7 miles
Seasonal Conditions
Season
Hatches
SpringCaddis and aquatics
SummerTerrestrials, damselflies and dragonflies
FallDamselflies
WinterMidges
Game Fish Opportunities
Fishing Trips
Rocky Ford Creek is a Central Washington desert spring creek and is located northeast of the small farming community of Ephrata, Washington. It percolates underground and seeps from ... morethe rich, desert Columbia Basin soils flowing south, eventually intersecting the massive still water impoundment of Moses Lake.

This small, well-known trout stream is home to multitudes of aquatic insects and most often hatches occur on a year around basis. It has also earned a respected reputation for growing some of the regions largest rainbow trout. Here, fish feed freely on a vast supply of aquatic and non-aquatic organisms throughout the year.

Water flows and temperature remain fairly consistent much of the season and fish can travel easily through the slow moving waters of this small fly fishing only stream. Trout exceeding 5 pounds are common in the creek, however rainbows measuring in the 16 to 20 inch fork length are customary.

This small spring creek is a virtual mayfly factory during the year. The waters of Rocky Ford churn hatches of Blue Wing Olives, Callibaetis, Pale Morning Duns as well as Trico Mayflies throughout the season. Midges are a constant emergence at the "Ford" three hundred sixty five days a year. Specific times during the season, when mayfly hatches are scarce, these small Chironomids attract the attentions of Rocky Ford Rainbows as they fin freely, harvesting these minuscule insects from the surface.

There is really never a bad time to fish Rocky Ford, however weekends during peak periods, especially the warming spring months, can get busy with fly fishermen. There is however plenty of room to fish. The creek offers over 3 miles of accessible fly-fishing water with bridges on both sides of the creek for easy access from one side to another.

February and the first portions of March will begin producing consistent daily hatches of Blue Wing Olives. By April, Callibaetis and spring Caddis will enter the show and fish will have a variety of aquatics to feed on.

Throughout the late spring and summer months of the season, fish forage on a host of terrestrial insects as well. Ants, Beetles and Grasshoppers flourish under the desert sunshine and will present the rainbows of Rocky Ford Creek with a summer time feast during the long dog days of summer. This is especially true when strong desert winds blow across the Columbia Basin. These tiny creatures are hurled into the water and become a favorite forage for fish this time of year. Large Grasshopper patterns twitched and skated along the banks; cattails and weed beds will also prove productive.

The warm summer months also provide another aquatic event as well. Damselflies as well as Dragonflies, mostly associated with our still water fisheries, also inhabit the waters of Rocky Ford in vast numbers. Trout anxiously await this cycle each year and nourish themselves on both the nymph and adult stages of the insect. Exacting imitations to match this summer food form will work well during peak periods of their activity. Stalking the shoals of the Ford quiet and carefully during a Damselfly hatch can be an exhilarating experience. Site casting to large cruising rainbows as they foolishly feed on these summer time critters is one of our favorites at the Ford. Blue, olive and tan adult Damselflies during the peak months of June, July and August can provide fly fishermen with a fun and exciting dry fly fishing experience at the creek.

Life below the water's surface at Rocky Ford is abundant as well. Scuds by the thousands inhabit the muddy bottom and thick plumage of weed growth that blooms throughout the creek. Trout root along the stream bottom, its deeper shelves and of course the weed line, gorging on these fresh water shrimp. Leeches, as you can imagine, are also consistent forage for rainbows. These two constant food sources aid in growing fish to proportionate sizes very quickly.

When winter arrives in Central Washington and some of our trout rivers close under seasonal regulations or cold temperatures have invaded the Kittitas Valley chocking the Yakima River with slush ice, the water of Rocky Ford stays spring creek consistent and the fish continue on their relentless feeding opportunities. Even during the coldest of winter days, Midges and Blue Wing Olives with appear in the afternoons. The winter months can be a popular time for some Rocky Ford fly fishing enthusiasts. The colder weather and other wintertime activities have chased away the summer time crowds. However, the die-hard fly fishing fanatics will be there and they have it figured out.

Rocky Ford Creek has a long fishing history. A trout hatchery was first erected on its banks in the early 1940's. Fishing became renowned and its popularity quickly grew. Over the past decades, the creek has endured several hatcheries and has under gone environmental changes. Fish barriers were placed at the creeks confluence with Moses Lake to repel non game fish from entering the creek. These intentions were well deserving, however to date both suckers and carp flourish in the creek in specific areas. However, these fish do supply a food source during their yearly spawning cycle, which trout eagerly anticipate and take full advantage of a fleshy meal.

Rocky Ford Creek is one of the few "Fly Fishing Only" streams in the state of Washington. Special regulations were set in place in the late 1990's to establish a consistent lunker rainbow fishery and it seems to be working. The creek remains catch & release only, no bait fishing and a single barb-less hook is required. There is also no wading allowed in the creek, so casting must be completed from the bank. There's not much need to wade the water anyway because an accomplished caster can easily sling line to the other bank with very little effort. Cattails and other plumage grow along the water's edge, which provides shade and cover for the fish during the hot, barren summer sun as well as provide insects refuge from lurking rainbows.
Destination:
Current Forecast
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