For eons, fly fishermen have pursued a variety of trout species with flies in our rivers and still-water impoundments, ignoring other freshwater species that share these very same waters. With the turn of the 21st century, man now pursues about every known species of fish on the planet with a fly. The Smallmouth Bass is no exception. The Smallmouth Bass is a wilily species of fish, using camouflage, cover and ambushing tactics to feed and consume its prey.
This interesting, highly evolved freshwater predator has a unique blending of natural colors along the sides of its body, creating the ideal disguise to blend within its ecosystem. Their favorite forage by far in most environments is a fresh water crustacean, the crawdad.
However, Smallmouth are generally ever picky about their diet and consumption of what they ingest, opting for at times grubs, worms, toads, baitfish and land roaming vermin such as mice, rats and locusts. Water dwelling snakes, lizards, turtles and other river inhabitants can and will at times fall prey to the Smallmouth Bass.
This fun and exciting game fish is being rediscovered by many as fly fishermen pursue this river prowler with flies. Forget the stereo typical hill-billy mentality that is often associated with fearless freshwater creature. This is exciting fly fishing for one of Mother Natures most formidable freshwater fish living in our rivers and waterways. Are you up for the challenge?
The Lower Yakima River Smallmouth Bass has a consistent forage during the spring months, Chinook Salmon Smolt. Small, immature Fall Chinook Salmon on their out migration, travel from the waters of the Yakima to the main stem of the Columbia River, eventually ending their long journey in the salty waters of the Pacific Ocean. These fish are the main source of interest to the resident and non resident Bass of the Lower Yakima River during the early spring months of April and May.
Over the years, Smallmouth Bass have thrived throughout the Columbia River system and its tributaries. A non native species to this mother of all Pacific Northwest rivers, its illegal introduction many years ago has the Smallmouth thriving behind the dams of this mighty river.
With plenty of forage to choose from, thousands of Bass each year make their way from the main stem of the Columbia and invade its tributaries for late spring spawning. The Lower Yakima River just happens to be one of these branches the Smallmouth use for spawning purposes.
In the early months of spring, main stem Columbia River Smallmouth will travel from their home waters entering the tributaries like the Lower Yakima. As water temperatures warm, a natural event unfolds as the Yakima River Chinook begin their yearly migration from the freshwater to the Pacific Ocean.
Each year, this natural phenomenon occurs in the Yakima River System. Fall Chinook Salmon of smolt size begin their mighty migration to the Columbia. Some of these anadromous fish are of wild origin, while others have been reared at the Cle Elum Hatchery in the upper headwaters of the Yakima. This is just one key ingredient that triggers the feeding mechanics of the Smallmouth Bass. As Chinook smolts migrate and swim the gauntlet, thousands, yes thousands of Smallmouth Bass will invade approximately (15) fifteen miles of the Lower Yakima River for the feeding frenzy of the spring.
As this event begins, nearly 40,000 Smallmouth Bass will move into the Lower Yakima River and begin an all out feast on juvenile salmon. Unfortunately, each year thousands upon thousands of salmon, both Spring and Fall Chinook alike are ingested by Smallmouth Bass in the Lower Yakima. For this reason, Smallmouth Bass are thriving in the system and are growing to enormous portions. During periods of low water, Chinook Salmon, the "Kings of the Pacific" are highly vulnerable and continually fall victim to these predatory Smallmouth. Higher water years gives salmon more places to hide and a much faster escape route to the ocean.
For fly fishermen, the Lower Yakima River is a playground of thriving fish, a true delight for those that enjoy the experience of catching some of the natures finest freshwater fish. If you enjoy a day filled with floating a big western river from a safe, comfortable drift boat, casting large sized flies to large size fish, then the "Lower Yakima River Smallmouth Bass" tour may just be what your looking for.
For fly fishermen looking for a new experience or to broaden your fishing horizons, a day on the Lower Yakima will convince you that trout aren't the only fish to target with your fly gear.
The team of Professional Fly Fishermen at Worley Bugger Fly Co are proud to offer this truly unique fly fishing experience on the Lower Yakima River. Join us this spring as we explore the waters of the Lower Yakima in search of the Smallmouth Bass. Please contact us early to reserve your day of fly fishing.
If you have any questions about our professional services or the many fly fishing adventures we offer, please feel free to contact us
509-962-2033. We will be happy to answer any you may have. We look forward to hearing from you and showing you the splendor of Central Washington's Yakima River.
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