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Trout Bums at Large is a monthly column appearing in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Seattle Times. The column is written by Randal Sumner and Mark Littleton. We will be keeping an archive of these articles on this page.

What Are They Doing Up There?
by Mark Littleton

When people hear that I am a fisherman, they often have a misconception about what I am doing on the river. More than once Randal has said to me "You know, people think we are drinking up here". On some level I can understand why people might get the wrong idea. Although we fish a lot, we never bring home any fish. I think most people think that I am sitting on the bank of the river drinking beer while I listen for the bell attached to my fishing pole. Although I enjoy a good drink as much as anyone, I never drink when I am fishing and I never put a bell on my flyrod.

I haven't killed a trout in years. The trout bums are catch and release fishermen. Some people, especially older people, can't understand this catch and release business. Why would you go to all of that trouble to go catch fish, and then just throw them back? Those who know a little more about my fishing habit are even more horrified. " Do you mean you spent thousands of dollars on gear, spend every spare moment you can fishing, and never keep the fish? What's the point? (and by the way, ARE YOU INSANE?! )"

I don't fish to eat. I don't really like the taste of trout all that well, I prefer halibut or tuna. The wild trout in the Yakima River are too valuable to kill. These are our precious jewels. They are a lot more fun to catch than they are to eat. Wild trout, the product of eons of evolution, are perfectly adapted to their native environment. Each wild trout of any size is a remarkable survivor, literally one in a thousand. Only the strongest, toughest, smartest and luckiest survive to maturity. Predators, cold winters, and periods when there is a shortage of available food take a tremendous toll on young trout.

These trout are our partners in this game. If we started killing all we catch, there would be very few left. After a year or two, there would be almost no big fish left. There are approximately 500 fish per mile in the Yakima River. It would only take a few really good fishermen to devastate the trout fishery in this river. Since the Yakima River is a catch and release fishery above Rosa Dam, the hundreds of fishermen that fish the Yakima River can enjoy a world-class fishery indefinitely.

The March Brown hatch is just about through for the year. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Next month should be even better though. The Caddis hatches have already started and soon we will have Pale Morning Duns. There are an unusual number of Giant Stoneflies along the banks of the river this year. With water levels much lower than usual for this time of year, you will be able to access places that are normally unfishable without a boat. It is shaping up to be a great year for the trout bums.

Patterns for May: PMD Patterns - Yellow mayfly patterns in sizes 12-16. Caddis Patterns - Dark green caddis patterns in sizes 12-16. Stonefly Pattern - The largest orange stimulator you can find (these things are as big as my little finger).

More Trout Bum Articles:
05/01/2015: The wolves will always eat the sheep by R.Sumner
11/17/2014: Red Fish Redux by R.Sumner
08/01/2014: Retirement by R.Sumner
07/02/2013: Custom by Randal Sumner
05/01/2013: Subaru Magic by Randal Sumner
01/19/2012: Ding Ho by RandalSumner
04/06/2011: A Cautionary Tale by Randal Sumner
01/26/2010: Redfish Round-up by Randal Sumner
11/24/2009: Kentucky Don and English Bob by Randal Sumner
08/25/2009: A word about Bears by R.Sumner
06/30/2009: Polar bear hugging by Randal Sumner
01/27/2009: Christmas letters by Randal Sumner
11/25/2008: Trip to Eden by Randal Sumner
08/07/2008: Mime Time by R. Sumner
06/02/2008: fuel vs fishing by R. Sumner
05/01/2008: Long sleeve Hawiian shirt by R.Sumner
02/07/2008: The Empire by R. Sumner
11/29/2007: Troutbum self-help by R. Sumner
09/04/2007: The Perfect Client by Randal Sumner
07/02/2007: High Anxiety by R.Sumner
03/29/2007: Grasshopper by Randal Sumner
01/25/2007: Chinese food by R. Sumner
11/30/2006: Old Whitey by R.Sumner
09/28/2006: Chief Holland USN retired by R. Sumner
07/10/2006: BBQ by R.Sumner
05/30/2006: Cashmere by R. sumner
03/30/2006: Sterling Choices by Randal Sumner
01/26/2006: Tying with Pablo by Randal Sumner
12/01/2005: Brrr by Mark Littleton
11/24/2005: Thanksgiving 2005 by randal Sumner
09/01/2005: Anchors Away by Mark Littleton
07/01/2005: Some kinda fun by Randal Sumner
05/01/2005: The Base Lake by Randal Sumner
04/01/2005: Humble Pie by Mark Littleton
03/01/2005: Dance monkey dance by randal Sumner
01/01/2005: Where are the Instructions? by Randal Sumner
12/01/2004: Das Boat by Mark Littleton
11/01/2004: What me Worry? by Mark Littlton
10/01/2004: Priorities by Mark Littlton
09/01/2004: Falling In by Mark Littleton
08/01/2004: Ice Fishing by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Honey, I flooded the basement by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Elvis Lives by Randal Sumner
06/01/2004: Coyote by Randal Sumner
05/01/2004: Redfish and Capt. Dan by Mark Littleton
04/01/2004: Vested Interest by Randal Sumner
03/01/2004: Are you a Troutbum? by Mark Littleton
12/01/2003: Christmas presents by Mark Littleton
11/01/2003: Oklahoma by Randal Sumner
10/01/2003: Steel heading JuJu by Randal Sumner
09/01/2003: Motor Home by Randal Sumner
08/01/2003: Life is Funny by Mark Littlton
07/01/2003: Deschutes by Mark Littleton
06/01/2003: Class of 2002 by Randal Sumner
05/01/2003: BOAT FISHING by Mark Littlton
04/01/2003: ALASKA, LAND OF THE MIDNIGHTBLUE TARP by Randal Sumner
03/01/2003: MARCH BROWNS by Mark Littleton
02/01/2003: DEEP IN THE HEART OF IDAHO by Randal Sumner
01/01/2003: TOP TEN by Mark Littleton
12/01/2002: SAN MIGUEL by Randal Sumner
11/01/2002: DISNEYLAND by Randal Sumner
10/01/2002: CAMPING by Mark Littleton
09/01/2002: MMMM MAYFLIES by Mark Littleton
08/01/2002: CARNEGIE HALL by Randal Sumner
07/01/2002: CRAWFISH PIE by Randal Sumner
06/01/2002: Sons and Pals by Mark Littleton
03/01/2002: Visitation by Randal Sumner
02/01/2002: Ouch by Mark Littleton
01/01/2002: Death by Randal Sumner
11/01/2001: Leakers by Randal Sumner
09/01/2001: Poser by Randal Sumner
08/01/2001: Snake River Diary by Mark Littleton
08/01/2001: It's Hard by Mark Littleton
07/01/2001: Etiqutte by Randal Sumner
06/01/2001: June by Mark Littleton
05/01/2001: Road Trip to Paradise by Randal Sumner
03/01/2001: Gear by Randal Sumner
02/01/2001: Soft Hackles by Mark Littleton
01/25/2001: Motivation by Randal Sumner
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner