Rainy Day on the River
Rise... But No Shine
It was an early start, but not as early of a start as the Summer months when the rivers heat up by noon. We rose at 5:30 or 6 and started our journey across the mountains to the beautiful town of Ellensburg, WA.
Conditions definitely weren't what you imagine when you daydream about the idyllic fishing day. It was dark when we left and Western Washington was putting up a rainy fight trying to get us to stay inside for the weekend. But the flows were favorable and we weren't about to let the weather tell us how to spend our weekend.
We hit some blistering winds going over Snoqualmie Pass from the west side of the mountains toward Ellensburg. The weather folks were calling the regional weather front a "bomb cyclone". It whipped up a good storm, but quite frankly I think weather folks are having a lot of fun with these mystical meteorological terms that sound more like super villains. I suppose a "bomb cyclone" drives better TV ratings than a "fall rainstorm". Anyhow, I digress. Our rig was getting pushed all over the lane until we made it to the other side of the mountain. Thankfully there weren't many people on the road at that time or we could've been in a lot worse of a predicament.
We made a quick stop at the Worley-Bugger fly shop in Ellensburg and talked with some local employees who were tying flies. They were more than kind and set us up with some BWO's and mayfly patterns.
Driving a ways further, we arrived at our spot on the river and were surprised to see we weren't the only folks on that stretch. We were certain the late October rain would've deterred most anglers given that it was pretty quiet the prior weekend which was all sunshine. Regardless, we were happy to see the other anglers and always love the opportunity to share excitement for the day ahead before wetting a line.
We geared up in the cold grey drizzle, trying not to get our base layers too damp before our long day on the river. Gearing up is always when I get the most antsy because I'm a stone's throw away from the river and am itching to fish. Getting river-ready in the rain made me gear up all the faster. I decided to fish a couple of rods, one with a nymph rig since I anticipated most action to be sub-surface and then a second setup with a dry fly in case I wanted to get a little crazy and see if they were biting on top.
Quantity or Quality?
In spite of weather conditions, the fishing conditions seemed prime for a good day. Catching fish is always a good day but I made the long drive to catch some chunky trout. I had killer success catching 8 to 9 inchers on nymphs, but that was seemingly all I could find in the river. Maybe the hogs in the river were just too smart for me after being fished all season long. My buddy Zach was able to snag a 13 incher which was the biggest of the day. I caught around 7 or 8 fish that day but we didn't get into the 15+ inch territory like we dream of when we fish the Yakima.
Wet Wading... Sort of
The only real downside to the day was filling my waders with a bit of water on a downstream river crossing. I crossed where it seemed plenty shallow, but my wet socks tell a different story. I shuffled downstream at the will of the river's current and the water level kept creeping up. I was getting closer to shore and thought "there's no way it can get any deeper than where I am currently standing, right?". At one point I was dancing downstream on my tippy toes trying to keep my waders clear of the surface, but did so to no avail. The water started spilling over the top before I could make it to shore. It was a squishy and sloshy walk back to the rig about three quarters of a mile downstream.
The weather really did tease us as we arrived at the rig. Right when we got all our wet gear off and loaded up, the sun started peaking out from behind the menacing and leaky clouds we stood under all day. Blue skies popped out and gave us some good views for the ride home, but oh how nice that sunshine would've felt while we were standing in the frigid river.
Regardless of the weather and size of fish we caught, spending a day on the river with good friends is worth it one hundred percent of the time. My other good friend Josh was with us as well and it was only his second time out fly fishing. Josh was having a blast in spite of the rain and lack of fish he was bringing in. Fly fishing is amazing in that way. It's inherently therapeutic spending a day out in God's creation with awesome scenery, wild life, and magnificent leaves that were turning a brilliant shade of yellow and swirling throughout the river. Catching zero fish isn't any fisherman's dream, but how can you be mad about spending a day away from work and enjoying sights and sounds from the river.
Now I'm just drying out all my gear and dreaming of the next fish I'll land.