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
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
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).