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Yakima River Fishing Report // March 20th, 2023

Yakima River Fishing Report // March 20th, 2023

Yakima River Conditions and Report

River Flow: 1,110 cfs

Water Temp: Yesterday high temp 47.5 degrees

Trending: Steady for now, cold nights are keeping the water very low and extremely clear.

Water Clarity:  4+

Hatches Upcoming and Current:

The nights are cold, but the afternoons are pretty warm. In the lower Canyon we are seeing the vaunted "Skwala Hatch" begin! Although dry fly fishing has been lean, there are anglers picking up fish on dry flies every day.  One quick reminder, next weekend is our Trout Spey Rendezvous. No RSVP required. Bring your waders if you want to cast some rods and get some free and friendly tips.

On the Skwala hatch, the key is patience. This ain't hopper season. Heck its not even spring yet! The water is very cold and the fish are holding in very soft seams. Your drift should be delicate, patient, and you need to be able to hold a drift long enough for a big lazy trout to yawn back and sip your fly.

One mistake we see is anglers coming out to a stonefly hatch and thinking it's like Golden Stones in June on the Henry's Fork. Far from it. This is a cold water stonefly hatch that happens during the warmest part of the day, to fish feeding in 45 degree water. They are picky, have a low metabolism, and won't go chasing a poor drift. Come out with reasonable expectations. Try from 1-2 trout on a dry fly, if you have a killer day - great! But play the slow game and be smart and realistic. Long, slow, quiet drifts are winners.

Nymph fishing should be spot specific. Big drop offs, obvious buckets, and winter holding water. The fish are podded up in the primary holding lies and haven't begun to wander out. Some more water would help, as the river is extremely low right now due to the cold nights. This weekend should offer some increased dry fly action with the hatch ramping up later in the month. 

Current Fly Suggestions

Vehicle Shuttle Service

We move cars, not bodies. Just choose your float, leave us a key and we will valet your rig from launch point to take-out. 

River Flow Links

Yakima River Flow Prediction Chart

While the chart is only a "prediction", it is based on historical data, weather forecasts, current weather, current snow-pack etc. You can use this to get a rough idea of how the river is going to react to predicted rainfall, run-off, etc.

Yakima River Flow Prediction Chart at Umtanum

Yakima Water Temperatures

Next article Drop Mend Nymphing // Your Secret to Success for Indicator Fishing


Thomas Titus - May 17, 2022

Good morning,

I’d like to see if it would be possible to set up a personalized fishing trip. I recently purchased a new flyfishing raft setup and I’d like to take a rowing lesson in it. Ideally I’d like to setup a guided trip for me and my best friend using my raft (if possible). Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back.


Joe Rotter - April 25, 2022

RE: Smolt Pushes – Great question! We feel your pain. There isn’t a very good line of communication from the operators on when they plan to push, but we do have a contact there that has given us a heads up a time or two. I’ll see if can get on a regular notification and share it here.

Joe Anderson - April 19, 2022

Is there any information regarding water releases for the “smolt pushes”. I would like to think that they could do these on a somewhat regular basis or give some sort of warning. As a weekend warrior with a 3+ hour drive (one way) it would be great to be able to predict when these increased flows will occur.

Aaron - April 18, 2022

All time March brown hatch in the canyon today!

Rafael Amilca Salado - February 18, 2022

Thanks Joe! I’ll be sure to stop by on in tomorrow unless Boston continues to get more delays & cancellations. : (

Joe Rotter - February 6, 2022

Bob, great question! Most all the takeouts are good for pontoon boats depending on how close you need to get to the river. For full sized drift boats or trailer access, just avoid Mahres and Big Pines downstream of Red’s. Other than that, you are all good!

Bob Conley - February 5, 2022

what put in/take out ramps are snow free enough for my one man pontoon? Suggestions appreciated for put in take out points for 3-4 hour float this week. thanks!

Joe Rotter - February 4, 2022

Hi Wes, I think you’ll be in great shape. The river is low and clear now. We do have a PILE of snow in the low valleys but the extended forecast suggests stable weather.

Joe Rotter - February 4, 2022

Hi Rafael, there is no better place to start than Red’s Fly Shop. Within a few minutes of the shop you can be wade fishing on public water right here in the scenic Canyon section. Just come on in and chat with the crew here, we’ll help you out!

Wesley Holt - February 2, 2022

Gonna be heading up to the yak around Valentine’s Day for some fly fishing. What’s the prediction you think on the conditions.

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