Wow – I can be fishing on the Yakima fishing in less than 2 hours from landing at the Seattle airport. As the locals call it, the “Yak,” boasts incredible hatches fueled by the pleasant high desert climate, Washington’s only blue ribbon trout fishery status, with salmon runs in the fall. Even more surprising, all of this in spectacular canyon terrain you’d swear was in Wyoming or Montana to experience.
There are many secret reasons why Harrison Ford decided to built his retirement ranch here, and the Suncadia resort located in the Yakima Valley. That is, secret only till you experience in person the home of Washington’s premier cherry & apple orchards, wineries that are “crushing it,” and sprawling ranches and hops farms supplying 75% of the USA’s craft beer industry. Certainly incredible that all of this lies in a golden prairie landscape punctuated by basalt column canyons.
The Yak’s rich tradition is named for the indigenous Yakama people (spelling adopted by the tribe in 1993). Lewis and Clark might have met them catching prolific salmon in nets and wooden traps – had they come just a little upstream from their camp at the Columbia river confluence in October 1805.
Not only is fall my favorite season overall, but specifically what makes it so is the incredible October caddis hatch. Watching trout smash the surface that normally take flies with a cautious sip is my version of watching the Indy 500 or Sunday football. I keep a dedicated fly box just for my various patterns.
Yakima salmon runs are on the recovery, after a century of impedance by Columbia river dams. Read about the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan that among many measures supporting the fishery, is adding fish passage that could rejuvinate possibly the largest sockeye salmon run in the Lower 48.
Finally, reading is one thing, discover the secrets of the Yakima by fishing it soon.