Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fishing The Yakima

Image: In my fishing attire.
I have been wanting to get away for an overnight fishing trip. Something where I can get further outside the city to some rivers further afield. This past weekend opened up as a free weekend this summer so I jumped at the chance to go.

I took my 8 year old with me who has been a fast learner with fishing. We packed the car on the weekend before so we knew what we needed to pickup for the trip and completed the packing during the week. I like to do this so I am less rushed the day or two before the trip.

We took off on Friday evening, after I got home for work and drove to the Cle Elum area to find a campground near the river. There are lots so this is not a problem I was told. We lucked in to find that there was a campground along the Teanaway River along the paved section of road.

The campsite was free, open and we had a good night there (no rain).

The next morning I decided to drive further up the road to see some more campgrounds and try our lines along the river (further from the campgrounds). We had not driven past the end of the campground along the paved road when it turned to a dirt road.

I am driving a new Honda Accord but said sure, it looks in great shape, let's try it. We never got 3/4 of a mile and the road turned into some serious rutted road. That ended that adventure and we turned backed up until we could turn around and head back out.

Lucky for us that out of the 5 campgrounds along this river, the 1st is on the paved section and had open sites. Else we would have been driving a while to find the next campground.

The morning started at 4:45am or so and we were on the road driving not long after. After our aborted drive to explore and fish, my son piped up that he really wanted to go try the Yakima (we had seen it on a Fishing show). So we set off.

He navigated in the back (I knew the route to take as backup) and we found ourselves ascending along highway 10 alongside the upper Yakima River. The morning light was fantastic and we stopped for some photos along a seriously gusty section.

Image: Yakima River at Umtanum Campground
We drove until we arrived at Umtanum campground in the Yakima Canyon. This was our first spot of fishing and to say the least, it was windy. The wind was making it hard to cast, as in, the line was blowing back into my face. My son's 2nd or 3rd cast was the same and his got into a terrible tangle.

While I untangled my line he tried the same with his. I then helped him finish untangling his and we both went back to fishing, but not for long. Another tangle and he was done. He began hunting for fry (baby fish) with a bait net along the bank. After a little more wind frustration I gave up and decided we would try another spot.

Luckily for us there was an interpretive session that day on the river near where we were fishing. We
Image: Captive Crawfish, Stonefly and Mayfly Nymphs
stopped by and found out that some Marine Biologists were explaining the river ecology. this included showing the kids what animals and bugs were living along the river banks and collecting worms, stone flies, nymphs, crawfish, and dry/smelt (baby trout and salmon).

We spent another hour or more here as my song helped with specimen capture, identification, changing water in the holding containers, etc. We had a great talk with the biologists and learned a bit about the river, identifying baby fish, and the habits of various bugs.

Next up we move upriver along the river and found a nice bend on the opposite side (from our previous location) of the river to wade in. We had the wind more on our side this time and were able to cast with few tangles. The tall reeds at our back being a bit of a challenge but roll casts and side casts were the order of the day.

Again, no luck, and so we packed up and moved further north-west (working our way in the direction of home) and put in at Ringer Road public launch. Just upriver from the launch was some nice ripple river about 12-20 inches deep for a wide section of the river that we tried out. Again the wind was a factor and was blowing downriver at us into our direction of cast. I was able to work out a side cast that let me get up river by casting along the top of the water.

Image: Specimen Hunting
It was fun and there were some ledges that I played with a large stimulator dry fly holding up a wet fly/nymph which I was trying to drop over the top of the ledge as it drifted past. A lot of work for no reward but again, another day learning and practicing my skills.

At this 3rd put in, my son said enough of this wind shenanigans and he went hunting frogs in the pool behind the river bank. He got close but never got his hands on one. Good thing I did not give him the fishing net or I am sure I would have some new frogs with us now. He got awful close with his hand capture attempts.

It was a long day on the river, lots of less than ideal conditions to deal with, but it was a day on the river. My oldest graduated to a fly rod, he has wanted to try one and after some practice at home he got to try it out this day. I am not sure he is impressed with it yet but I'll give him time. Just like I'll give myself time to get the hang of fly fishing.

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