The Yakima river took it's first steps towards becoming a first class tailwater trout fishery shortly after the turn of the century when Lake Kachess was built at it's headwaters. Lake Keechelus, Easton, and Cle Elum among others were added later to control water flow and provide a constant source of water for irrigation. The arid but fertile Kittitas and Yakima valleys sprang to life when a complex system of diversion dams and canals was built. In the process, the native salmon and steelhead runs, have been basically descimated.
Today the Yakima exists as a unique and exceptional rainbow trout river. Although too late for the historic native anadromous runs recent positive changes have been enacted to enhance and protect a seventy-mile section of this wonderful river. In 1983, the Department of Fish and Game stopped planting hatchery fish on the Yakima and, in 1988, the section of the river from Easton dam to Rosa dam became a Selective Fishery (single barbless hooks only). In the early 90's, the same section of the river was opened year-round and designated catch-and-release only.
We have seen the Yakima improve steadily over the years and it is likely that, as better attention is paid to water quality and habitat issues, things will continue to be quite rosy. Trout average in the 12" to 20" range with the occasional "lunker" over 20". The Yakima "bow" is a wily beast and the fishing is quite challenging but not too technical. There are plenty of fish to be caught by the beginner and many others to test the die-hard flyfishing junkie. Dave and Randal have fished the river for over twenty years- for the last ten years almost daily. We can show you where the big "bows" live and what flies they're eager to see.
For more information on the Yakima River, and others like it please visit www.washingtonflyfishing.com