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Within 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes of Ellensburg we offer some very good Smallmouth fish seasonally.
Of all the freshwater species to fly fish for, the Smallmouth Bass is an underfished opportunity, and a fun one at that! A lot of fly fishermen turn their nose up to bass when they hear about them because they are easy to catch right? That could not be further from the truth. Yes, bass can be easy to catch during the right time of year, but so can trout during a hatch, right?
The Lower Yakima – Smallmouth Bass are an aggressive fish that are very defensive when something lands in their territory. This means you can trigger a reaction bite easily, but you still have to essentially “match the hatch” or you will not get them to eat. I have seen many bass chase a fly and turn it down because it was not presented correctly. Most of the time on the lower Yakima we are using smolt patterns and fishing them on a downstream mend because the smolt are trying to make their way out to the ocean. Crawdad patterns and topwater also work but the main food source is smolt. Sometimes we fish the pattern fast and eratic and sometimes slow and lethargic.
The Smallmouth on the lower Yakima follow the salmon smolt up the river from the Columbia to gorge themselves on the food source. They are a fun fish to catch as they are aggressive and typically hold in the same water as trout do. They will ambush prey in seams that are coming down the river and in back eddies. Most of the time we will be stripping streamers or letting them swing and/or using top water to bring the bass to the top. A lot of the time too we will hook a bass and have a school follow that bass to the boat and throw behind it just to double up. A 30-40 fish day down there is not uncommon. There are a lot of smaller fish up to 1 pound but there is always the opportunity to catch bass 3-5 pounds too and talk about a fight. A 5-pound Smallmouth Bass will have an 8-weight corked!
Do not be afraid to as questions or book a trip with us. It is always a good time to fish down there. We go down there and fish ourselves before we take clients because it is seasonal. When we say it is time, it is time!
Do not miss out on this opportunity! It is only available for about 6 weeks out of the year and our guides look forward to it every year. The Smallmouth Bass fishery on the lower Yakima is a fishery every angler should experience.