Yakima River Fishing Report

As the only official “Blue Ribbon” river in the State of Washington, the Yakima is in a class of it’s own. Being close to the quaint town of Ellensburg adds to its allure. Originating high in the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain’s Snoqualmie Wilderness and ending at Richland, this 214-mile long Columbia River tributary is a managed flow tailriver, controlled by the US Bureau of Reclamation and fed by three main reservoirs – the Kachess, Keechelus and Cle Elum.
 
Despite the controls, a mix of both bottom fed and top water releases create water conditions more like a freestone river than one encumbered by dams. Unlike most western waterways, its waters are low during the spring/fall months and high during summer when demand for irrigation is greatest.
 

The Yakima’s official 75-mile Blue Ribbon stretch starts where the three tailwaters merge near the town of Cle Elum, and continues on until reaching Roza Dam. The upper river down to the confluence of reservoirs tends to be braided and difficult to float.  A flat section follows, known for wading and long rifles. At East Cle Elum the river runs 14 miles through its “upper canyon” section, populated with large boulders and an abundance of cutthroats.
 
From Diversion Dam to Wilson Creek is the farmland section. Known for apple orchards, Cottonwoods and Timothy Hay, the fishing is good but access difficult due to private landholdings. Arid Yakima Canyon that runs from Wilson Creek to Roza Dam is the most fished part of the river, typically by drift boat.
 
The river is open year round with runoff in May. While anglers come from afar to fish Yakima’s waters, it’s rarely over crowded. There’s a wide variety of fish, including rainbow, cutthroat, browns, brook, kokanee, burbot and smallmouth bass. Fish range in size from 12-14 inches.
 
Before booking a trip, be sure to check anticipated water levels and remember that this is a catch and release river.
 
Featured Fishing Trips
Guided Fishing Trips
$
150
-
$
400
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
2 hours - 10 hours
The Yakima River in Washington is the finest trout stream in the Evergreen State, offering great rainbow trout fishing, as well as the occasional cut-bow and cutthroat. The river starts ... moreat it's source high in the North Central Cascades and flows for miles and miles through lush forests, both pine and cottonwood, enters the farmlands of the Kittitas Valley and floats through the famous Yakima River Canyon. It offers nearly 80 miles of prime catch and release only fly fishing.

Fly Fishing the YAK
"Life is But a Dream" Guided Fly Fishing is proud to offer full day float trips, and half day float trips. We offer guided trips year round and I will personally guarantee that you'll have a ball on the YAK! The Yakima is famous for its spring time caddis, PMD, PED, baetis, skwala stones, march browns, salmon fly and other hatches. The summer months are great for casting tight to the banks with your hopper or dry stone fly, this is my favorite time on the YAK. Fall offers us great baetis hatches and all year long we'll nymph and throw the big ugly streamers to fool the trout. Winter midge fishing can also be great for the die hards out there. 
$
285
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
6 hours - 9 hours
$
250
-
$
425
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
The Yakima River is Central Washington's premier wild trout fishery. It proudly supports hundreds of wild, naturally spawning fish and provides fly fishermen from around the world, ... morea unique and exciting year round experience catching these feral creatures on a fly. This fabulous blue ribbon water offers the fly fishing enthusiast with a thriving trout population. Experience a match the hatch aquatic insect event as mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies emerge throughout the season. Absorb some of Washington States most spectacular visionary scenery and encounter a variety of wild game, wild birds and plant species along the riverbanks during the day.

Over thousands of years, the river has sliced it's way through the valley floor, cutting through huge, jagged basalt stone canyon walls before reaching it's final destination with the Columbia River, well over 200 miles from its origins. This blue ribbon trout stream originates from the water's of the Stuart Mountain Range. The rugged, massive peaks of Mt. Daniel and Mt. Stuart tower over the Kittitas Valley at elevations exceeding 9500 ft. The high mountain snows of winter, blanket these mountains most of the year creating the annual water reserves, which are contained in 4 separate man-made reservoirs. It is from these waters in which the majority of the Yakima River flows.

These waters are collected from numerous high mountain lakes and small mountain tributaries that burst during the spring's warming months. As melting snow begins to thaw, small tributaries of the Yakima fill, bursting with the winters snow pack accumulations and each reservoir begins to fill. These reservoirs store massive amounts of water behind man made impoundments of wood, stone and concrete. During spring and early summer water is released from these facilities to vacillate farming irrigation and water needs for the Kittitas and the Lower Yakima Valley as well as providing valuable fish habitat and fly-fishing recreation. The Keechulus, Kachees, Easton and the Cle Elum Reservoirs, supply the Upper Yakima River with the necessary water to produce some of the best fly fishing the state has to offer. 

Here, fly-fishermen come to test their skills, find peace, tranquility, and make new, long lasting friendships with the river and the WBFC staff. For the family and staff of Worley Bugger Fly Co, fly-fishing the Yakima River is our way of life. We have chosen this profession because of our deep passion, commitment and dedication to the environment, the river and the precious resource it provides. As a professional outfitter, guiding operation and pro-shop, we realize that added fishing pressures are applied to this resource throughout the year. Working closely with local fisheries biologists, state fisheries agencies and local fly fishing clubs, the staff and guiding team of Worley Bugger Fly Co. actively participate in maintaining this beautiful flowing stream and enhancing the quality of the river for everyone to enjoy.

With over twenty years of experience fly fishing the Yakima River we are but one of many fly-fishing outfitter services living here in Ellensburg. To set our selves apart from our competitors, we take pride in operating our business like no other. We could staff dozens of people to operate our fly fishing tours, however we prefer a more moderate approach opting for knowledgeable, friendly and quality staff rather then quantity. We think you will agree once you meet our trained staff of professional fly fishermen. Ask around. Our reputation speaks for itself.
$
325
-
$
395
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Washington is blessed with an incredibly diverse selection of watersheds to chase fish with the fly. The Yakima river is listed as a Blue Ribbon trout fishery from the headwaters at ... moreEaston Dam to Roza dam. We call this river our "Home Water". With over 27 solid years of guiding on this river and well over 10,000 floats you won't find a more seasoned crew with the sincere desire to make your day the best it can be.

The Yakima river watershed is a gem: From the multiple eagles inhabiting the waterway during the winter, to the Bighorn sheep calling the banks its home, to the mule deer, the heron, the hawk, the cougar, bobcat, black bear, elk and the trout. From the water it supplies the farmer and the recreational venue it provides for water sports, to the basalt daisy which is only indigenous to the Yakima river canyon and the incredible white ash line in the lower canyon in remembrance of a time that man was not here and Mt Mazama deposited its mark. It is a river of many faces from its terrain and seasons to the tactics and methodology used to fool the trout. 

Our day trip adventure has been our bread and butter for 27 years now. A day waterside with one of our guide staff is an invaluable experience. Ninetynine percent of our guided trips on the Yakima are based on a drift trip from point A to point B. During low water season there is ample wading opportunities if so desired, but the heart and soul of a day on the water with our crew is a drift trip.

There are many watersheds that offer significant beauty. While the Yakima is not the only beautiful river it most certainly is dramatic, unique and a Blue Ribbon stream centrally located in Washington

What is included in your Yakima day trip; (This refers to our Washington Day Trips)

April 1 - Oct 31 Your Full day trip includes a riverside lunch, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks that while not quite gourmet will most definitely satisfy, all your flies, rods and reels if needed, tippet, floatant and of course all your guides wisdom. What is not included; your fishing license and wading attire

Nov 1 - March 31 Your Yakima Winter rates trip includes flies, tippets and such and of course all your guides wisdom. What is not included; your fishing license, wading attire and lunch
Additional Information
Tributaries:
Naches River, Cle Elum River, Teanaway River
Source:
Keechelus Lake
Mouth:
Columbia River
Length:
214 miles
Basin:
6,150 sq miles
Seasonal Conditions
Season
Hatches
SpringGiant salmonflies, mayflies and caddis
SummerTerrestrial fishing with hoppers
FallBlue-winged olives and midges
WinterSkwalas
Latest Guide Fishing Reports
Guide Reports
Overall tough conditions. Most likely isn't going to get better in the near future with the weather pattern we have.....which is warmer then normal.... more

Upper Proper 1 foot
Upper Flatlands 1.5 + foot
Upper Canyon 1
Farmlands - 1 foot
Lower Canyon 6 inches

If you are going to fish, the 12 noon to 3 PM time frame is the window.....March Browns are hatching and over the years in this situation we have been able to find some rising fish during the hatch. Prior and post hatch is difficult.

We will keep you updated as conditions become more favorable.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Monday, 18 Apr, 2016
Fishing Trips
The “Blue Ribbon” trout waters of the Yakima are home to Rainbows, Cutthroats, good hatches and gorgeous scenery. A great catch and release trout river. Troutwater has fly shops on ... moreboth the upper Yakima River and the Lower Yakima River.

The Trout Season

February/March – Skwala Stoneflies, March Brown Duns

Mid to late February through March is one of the best times to find the large, mature rainbows of the Yakima River. The weather may suck or it could be mild and comfortable during the end of winter. What does usually happen are big fish congregated together in the stable, low river flows during pre-snow melt period.

April/May – March Browns, Salmon Flies, Drakes, Caddis

Great insect hatches occur in the spring on the Yakima River. The Yakima continues to see the skwala stonefly adults into early April. Other stoneflies that are active include the salmon flies and golden stones. On the mayfly side, the March brown duns are in full strength early in April into the latter parts of the month. We also see blue wing olives in April. May will be the blue wing olives, mahagonies and drakes. The salmon flies are strong towards the end of May. The only bummer is the river can easily blowout from snow melt.

June/July/August – Hoppers, Summer Stones, Caddis

June bring irrigation water from the Lake Cle Elum reservior, bumping the river flows significantly. On the positive side, the river stays cool and highly oxygenated throughout the heat of the summer. Lots of dry fly fishing with terrestrial patterns and summer stoneflies. It’s a great time to fish.

September/October – Caddis, Blue Wings, Baetis, October Caddis

After Labor Day, the flow draw down as the irrigation needs for the lower Yakima Valley are met by the Naches River drainage. The warm days and cool nights of the fall bring great hatches. The Chinook salmon are actively spawning in the upper river by the end of September.

November/December – Blue wings, Baetis, Midges

The Yakima will fishing will depend on weather this time of year. It usually fishes well until the first cold snap of the year. The lower river tends to be more mild than the upper with better fish activity as a result. The river is also more accessible below Ellensburg due to less snow.
Fishing Waters:
The “Blue Ribbon” trout waters of the Yakima are home to Rainbows, Cutthroats, good hatches and gorgeous scenery. A great catch and release trout river. Troutwater has fly shops on ... moreboth the upper Yakima River and the Lower Yakima River.

The Trout Season

February/March – Skwala Stoneflies, March Brown Duns

Mid to late February through March is one of the best times to find the large, mature rainbows of the Yakima River. The weather may suck or it could be mild and comfortable during the end of winter. What does usually happen are big fish congregated together in the stable, low river flows during pre-snow melt period.

April/May – March Browns, Salmon Flies, Drakes, Caddis

Great insect hatches occur in the spring on the Yakima River. The Yakima continues to see the skwala stonefly adults into early April. Other stoneflies that are active include the salmon flies and golden stones. On the mayfly side, the March brown duns are in full strength early in April into the latter parts of the month. We also see blue wing olives in April. May will be the blue wing olives, mahagonies and drakes. The salmon flies are strong towards the end of May. The only bummer is the river can easily blowout from snow melt.

June/July/August – Hoppers, Summer Stones, Caddis

June bring irrigation water from the Lake Cle Elum reservior, bumping the river flows significantly. On the positive side, the river stays cool and highly oxygenated throughout the heat of the summer. Lots of dry fly fishing with terrestrial patterns and summer stoneflies. It’s a great time to fish.

September/October – Caddis, Blue Wings, Baetis, October Caddis

After Labor Day, the flow draw down as the irrigation needs for the lower Yakima Valley are met by the Naches River drainage. The warm days and cool nights of the fall bring great hatches. The Chinook salmon are actively spawning in the upper river by the end of September.

November/December – Blue wings, Baetis, Midges

The Yakima will fishing will depend on weather this time of year. It usually fishes well until the first cold snap of the year. The lower river tends to be more mild than the upper with better fish activity as a result. The river is also more accessible below Ellensburg due to less snow.
Fishing Waters:
The Yakima River in Washington is the finest trout stream in the Evergreen State, offering great rainbow trout fishing, as well as the occasional cut-bow and cutthroat. The river starts ... moreat it's source high in the North Central Cascades and flows for miles and miles through lush forests, both pine and cottonwood, enters the farmlands of the Kittitas Valley and floats through the famous Yakima River Canyon. It offers nearly 80 miles of prime catch and release only fly fishing.

Fly Fishing the YAK
"Life is But a Dream" Guided Fly Fishing is proud to offer full day float trips, and half day float trips. We offer guided trips year round and I will personally guarantee that you'll have a ball on the YAK! The Yakima is famous for its spring time caddis, PMD, PED, baetis, skwala stones, march browns, salmon fly and other hatches. The summer months are great for casting tight to the banks with your hopper or dry stone fly, this is my favorite time on the YAK. Fall offers us great baetis hatches and all year long we'll nymph and throw the big ugly streamers to fool the trout. Winter midge fishing can also be great for the die hards out there. 
Fishing Waters:
Fishing Waters:
The Yakima River is Central Washington's premier wild trout fishery. It proudly supports hundreds of wild, naturally spawning fish and provides fly fishermen from around the world, ... morea unique and exciting year round experience catching these feral creatures on a fly. This fabulous blue ribbon water offers the fly fishing enthusiast with a thriving trout population. Experience a match the hatch aquatic insect event as mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies emerge throughout the season. Absorb some of Washington States most spectacular visionary scenery and encounter a variety of wild game, wild birds and plant species along the riverbanks during the day.

Over thousands of years, the river has sliced it's way through the valley floor, cutting through huge, jagged basalt stone canyon walls before reaching it's final destination with the Columbia River, well over 200 miles from its origins. This blue ribbon trout stream originates from the water's of the Stuart Mountain Range. The rugged, massive peaks of Mt. Daniel and Mt. Stuart tower over the Kittitas Valley at elevations exceeding 9500 ft. The high mountain snows of winter, blanket these mountains most of the year creating the annual water reserves, which are contained in 4 separate man-made reservoirs. It is from these waters in which the majority of the Yakima River flows.

These waters are collected from numerous high mountain lakes and small mountain tributaries that burst during the spring's warming months. As melting snow begins to thaw, small tributaries of the Yakima fill, bursting with the winters snow pack accumulations and each reservoir begins to fill. These reservoirs store massive amounts of water behind man made impoundments of wood, stone and concrete. During spring and early summer water is released from these facilities to vacillate farming irrigation and water needs for the Kittitas and the Lower Yakima Valley as well as providing valuable fish habitat and fly-fishing recreation. The Keechulus, Kachees, Easton and the Cle Elum Reservoirs, supply the Upper Yakima River with the necessary water to produce some of the best fly fishing the state has to offer. 

Here, fly-fishermen come to test their skills, find peace, tranquility, and make new, long lasting friendships with the river and the WBFC staff. For the family and staff of Worley Bugger Fly Co, fly-fishing the Yakima River is our way of life. We have chosen this profession because of our deep passion, commitment and dedication to the environment, the river and the precious resource it provides. As a professional outfitter, guiding operation and pro-shop, we realize that added fishing pressures are applied to this resource throughout the year. Working closely with local fisheries biologists, state fisheries agencies and local fly fishing clubs, the staff and guiding team of Worley Bugger Fly Co. actively participate in maintaining this beautiful flowing stream and enhancing the quality of the river for everyone to enjoy.

With over twenty years of experience fly fishing the Yakima River we are but one of many fly-fishing outfitter services living here in Ellensburg. To set our selves apart from our competitors, we take pride in operating our business like no other. We could staff dozens of people to operate our fly fishing tours, however we prefer a more moderate approach opting for knowledgeable, friendly and quality staff rather then quantity. We think you will agree once you meet our trained staff of professional fly fishermen. Ask around. Our reputation speaks for itself.
Fishing Waters:
  • Expert Guide
  • Riverside lunch, beverages and snacks for spring, summer and fall
  • Flies, tippet, and tackle
Washington is blessed with an incredibly diverse selection of watersheds to chase fish with the fly. The Yakima river is listed as a Blue Ribbon trout fishery from the headwaters at ... moreEaston Dam to Roza dam. We call this river our "Home Water". With over 27 solid years of guiding on this river and well over 10,000 floats you won't find a more seasoned crew with the sincere desire to make your day the best it can be.

The Yakima river watershed is a gem: From the multiple eagles inhabiting the waterway during the winter, to the Bighorn sheep calling the banks its home, to the mule deer, the heron, the hawk, the cougar, bobcat, black bear, elk and the trout. From the water it supplies the farmer and the recreational venue it provides for water sports, to the basalt daisy which is only indigenous to the Yakima river canyon and the incredible white ash line in the lower canyon in remembrance of a time that man was not here and Mt Mazama deposited its mark. It is a river of many faces from its terrain and seasons to the tactics and methodology used to fool the trout. 

Our day trip adventure has been our bread and butter for 27 years now. A day waterside with one of our guide staff is an invaluable experience. Ninetynine percent of our guided trips on the Yakima are based on a drift trip from point A to point B. During low water season there is ample wading opportunities if so desired, but the heart and soul of a day on the water with our crew is a drift trip.

There are many watersheds that offer significant beauty. While the Yakima is not the only beautiful river it most certainly is dramatic, unique and a Blue Ribbon stream centrally located in Washington

What is included in your Yakima day trip; (This refers to our Washington Day Trips)

April 1 - Oct 31 Your Full day trip includes a riverside lunch, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks that while not quite gourmet will most definitely satisfy, all your flies, rods and reels if needed, tippet, floatant and of course all your guides wisdom. What is not included; your fishing license and wading attire

Nov 1 - March 31 Your Yakima Winter rates trip includes flies, tippets and such and of course all your guides wisdom. What is not included; your fishing license, wading attire and lunch
Fishing Waters:
Current Forecast
Water Flow
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Fishing Quality
Scenery
Access
Water quality

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