Yakima River Float Trip with Troutwater Outfitters

/ Boat
1 angler
4 hours - 1 day
Reza A
Response rate: 
Response time:
1 hour
The “Blue Ribbon” trout waters of the Yakima are home to Rainbows, Cutthroats, good hatches and gorgeous scenery. A great catch and release trout river. Troutwater has fly shops on both the upper Yakima River and the Lower Yakima River.

The Trout Season
February/March – Skwala Stoneflies, March Brown Duns
Mid to late February through March is one of the best times to find the large, mature rainbows of the Yakima River. The weather may suck or it could be mild and comfortable during the end of winter. What does usually happen are big fish congregated together in the stable, low river flows during pre-snow melt period.

April/May – March Browns, Salmon Flies, Drakes, Caddis
Great insect hatches occur in the spring on the Yakima River. The Yakima continues to see the skwala stonefly adults into early April. Other stoneflies that are active include the salmon flies and golden stones. On the mayfly side, the March brown duns are in full strength early in April into the latter parts of the month. We also see blue wing olives in April. May will be the blue wing olives, mahagonies and drakes. The salmon flies are strong towards the end of May. The only bummer is the river can easily blowout from snow melt.

June/July/August – Hoppers, Summer Stones, Caddis
June bring irrigation water from the Lake Cle Elum reservior, bumping the river flows significantly. On the positive side, the river stays cool and highly oxygenated throughout the heat of the summer. Lots of dry fly fishing with terrestrial patterns and summer stoneflies. It’s a great time to fish.

September/October – Caddis, Blue Wings, Baetis, October Caddis
After Labor Day, the flow draw down as the irrigation needs for the lower Yakima Valley are met by the Naches River drainage. The warm days and cool nights of the fall bring great hatches. The Chinook salmon are actively spawning in the upper river by the end of September.

November/December – Blue wings, Baetis, Midges
The Yakima will fishing will depend on weather this time of year. It usually fishes  well until the first cold snap of the year. The lower river tends to be more mild than the upper with better fish activity as a result. The river is also more accessible below Ellensburg due to less snow.
What is Included:
Drinks & Snacks
Daily1 day
Daily4 hours
Fishing Waters
As the only official “Blue Ribbon” river in the State of Washington, the Yakima is in a class of it’s own. Being close to the quaint town of Ellensburg adds to its allure. Originating ... morehigh in the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain’s Snoqualmie Wilderness and ending at Richland, this 214-mile long Columbia River tributary is a managed flow tailriver, controlled by the US Bureau of Reclamation and fed by three main reservoirs – the Kachess, Keechelus and Cle Elum.

Despite the controls, a mix of both bottom fed and top water releases create water conditions more like a freestone river than one encumbered by dams. Unlike most western waterways, its waters are low during the spring/fall months and high during summer when demand for irrigation is greatest.

The Yakima’s official 75-mile Blue Ribbon stretch starts where the three tailwaters merge near the town of Cle Elum, and continues on until reaching Roza Dam. The upper river down to the confluence of reservoirs tends to be braided and difficult to float. A flat section follows, known for wading and long rifles. At East Cle Elum the river runs 14 miles through its “upper canyon” section, populated with large boulders and an abundance of cutthroats.

From Diversion Dam to Wilson Creek is the farmland section. Known for apple orchards, Cottonwoods and Timothy Hay, the fishing is good but access difficult due to private landholdings. Arid Yakima Canyon that runs from Wilson Creek to Roza Dam is the most fished part of the river, typically by drift boat.

The river is open year round with runoff in May. While anglers come from afar to fish Yakima’s waters, it’s rarely over crowded. There’s a wide variety of fish, including rainbow, cutthroat, browns, brook, kokanee, burbot and smallmouth bass. Fish range in size from 12-14 inches.

Before booking a trip, be sure to check anticipated water levels and remember that this is a catch and release river.
Centrally located just east of the Cascade Mountains, Ellensburg is surrounded by several great trout filled rivers, making it an ideal place to stay. Considered by many to be the ... morefinest fishery in the state, the 214-mile long Yakima, curves around the town’s southern border, adding to Ellensburg’s historic charm. Another top choice is the 80-mile Methow River, known both for its ample fish and exceptional beauty. Excellent fishing can be found on this river within a two-hour drive from town.

In close proximity to town, the 75-mile long Naches River is about a half-hour drive. Most of the Naches river basin is located in scenic national forest and wilderness areas, including the renowned Wenatchee National Forest. Often referred to as the “Miracle Mile” of small waters, The Rocky Ford Creek, about an hour from Ellensburg, is best known for its numerous and sizeable rainbow trout. Considered by anglers to be a challenging stream, it is also ranked as one of the best trout rivers in the entire Northwest.

While Ellensburg is not thought of as a town exclusively dedicated to anglers, it does have much to offer including 4 well stocked fly shops with knowledgeable owners. What it lacks in numbers (population 18,000) it makes up for with its historic buildings, a major University and a large choice of things to do.

If you are with family members or others that don’t care to fish, there are opportunities to go biking on and off road, white water rafting, horse back riding and hiking. Despite its small size, the town has an active arts community with galleries, museums and theaters. Finally, there are events like the Winterhop Brewfest, featuring local microbreweries, Buskers & Burg, a fall celebration with giant puppets, and a highly regarded, large-purse, Labor Day rodeo.

Summer is peak fishing time with a high concentration of anglers. The spring and fall seasons remain busy while only a few die-hard choose the winter months.

There are several options for traveling to Ellensburg.

Fly into Seattle (SeaTac Airport) and drive for approximately 1 ½ hours

Fly into Takima Air Terminal and drive for approximately 40 minutes

Fly into Spokane and drive for approximately 2 ½ hours

Fly into Bowers Field, a general aviation airport, minutes from Ellensburg 
Visting fly fishermen will find a lot of options for fly fishing around the Seattle, Washington area. Classic flyfishing rivers with healthy habitats such as the Skagit, Skykomish, ... moreSauk, Nooksack, Snoqualmie, and Yakima are not far away and offer opportunities to chase fish such as summer and winter run steelhead, all five salmon species, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, bull trout, dolly varden, brook trout and cutt-bow trout. Fish live in some of the most incredible habitats in Washington State.
Fishing Waters:
The most experienced and professional Guide Service, Fly Shop in Central and Eastern Washington. Troutwater provides guided fly fishing trips on the Yakima, Methow and Naches Rivers ... morefor Trout. Central & Eastern Washington steelhead trips on the Methow, Klickitat, Grande Ronde and Wenatchee Rivers. Our dedicated guides are friendly, knowledgeable and the customer service is second to none. We guarantee your experience with us – You will have a fun, educational, safe and successful day on the river.

Troutwater has fly shops in Cle Elum and Ellensburg,Washington. Offering a full range of fly fishing supplies and shuttle service. Troutwater Outfitters hosts trips to Yucatan and Baja Mexico as well as Kanektok River, Alaska!
Cancellation Policy
  • Cancellations made 14 days before will be fully refunded.
  • Cancellations made 7 days before will be refunded 50% of the amount paid.
  • Cancellations made at a later date will not be refunded.
Payment directly with Yakima River Float Trip with Troutwater Outfitters.
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