One of the magical places we have within 2 hours of Seattle is the Yakima River Canyon, south of Ellensburg. Great fly fishing year 'round, lots of water to cover, beautiful scenery, ample wildlife, and camping right on the river. In the summer, the flows are strong, the sun is hot, and the "bikini hatch" is in full swing -- great time to try and float the *whole* canyon in one day! (Click on the thumbnail pictures to view full size)
Justin and I met Spencer at Red's about 4:30pm on saturday, who was just coming off a 6 hour float and losing his 2 boat mates. Thane had his hall pass pulled, but Justin impressed us by coming down from Bellingham and filling the open slot, last minute! So we hopped in and fished the evening hatch. It was extremely windy all afternoon but the wind died down very quickly once we got on the boat. The caddis action started around 7:30pm and we all caught fish (some of us more than others :-), before pulling right up to where we'd camp that evening. I slept about 10 feet from the river, under the stars --- just a lovely night. I took a picture of the canyon wall I woke up to, across the river from me. Just look at that blue sky!
We couldn't get Spencer up in the morning but the heat finally did. It was 77 by 9am, with no wind, and he was in a zero degree sleeping bag! Justin helped me shuttle a car down to where we'd finish up, and then we were on our way. I figure Spencer and I got on the water by about 10:30am or so, from Ringer. Fishing started off a bit slow but then I pulled out an ant pattern (right about when a light breeze started) and fished it snug against the bank. It worked -- soon we each had several fish landed. It's so fun to cast up against the bank, because it's so challenging. The fish tuck themselves just under the bank and watch for things to drop from the weeds, so 2" from the bank is FAR more effective than 10". Of course it's easy to lose a lot of flies that way, but how freakin' cool to have the perfect cast, watch the fly float within an inch of being snagged, then get taken down by a big trout!
Just before Big Horn I switched to nymphs and in no time thought I had a snag -- nope, it was a strong trout, which I fought for a good 5 minutes and finally landed just before some big rapids. It's not easy paddling a pontoon boat in a 4+ mph flow, casting flies, landing fish, sipping beer, avoiding hazards, etc!
By around 3pm we were already at the cliffs below Untanum, and it was HOT so we pulled over and did a couple jumps into the current. The fishing was marginal until about 7:30pm, when the caddis hatch went off again. We each caught probably 8 fish during that time.
By about 9:30pm, we were at the take-out point, 18.5 miles, 12+ landed trout, and 11 hours from our starting point! Pretty much the whole canyon -- what a day!