Spring can truly be a magical time here on the Yakima. Not only do we get to witness some incredible hatches, but it’s the best time of year to find consistently big fish. Spring can also throw the average angler a lot of curve balls. Unpredictable weather, big hatches that can sometimes only last an hour, and the early season low water can make things difficult for some, so here is our list of flies that you always have on you to help you get fish in any condition.
This one is obvious and is a fly you should really carry year-round but can be our top producing fly throughout the Spring. With Skwala stoneflies getting ready to hatch throughout the day, and even smaller salmonflies getting ready for May, a variety of Pat’s stones in sizes 12 -6 should always be in your fly box. As far as color goes, brown/black and tan/brown are our favorites throughout the year, but olive/brown can be our best producer through the Spring.
Although we know some people see fishing a worm as breaking the laws of fly fishing, when the snow starts to melt and the river start to get some color, it’s a must have. Although fish will still be able to see a bigger black stone in dirty water, a pink San Juan or Squirmy worm with a white bead can be a game changer.
CDC Pheasant Tail Jig
This is our favorite imitation for most small nymphs but imitates a March Brown nymph very well. We like the jig version of the fly for how quickly it sinks, but your average pheasant tail will fish great from sizes 18 through 14. It also makes a great dropper fly underneath a Skwala.
Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle
Another one of those patterns that will work most of the year, these small soft hackles are a great fly to swing in soft water. They're a great imitation of an emerging or drowned march brown, and also make a great dropper below a Skwala.
Pete’s Lo Pro Skwala
When the Skwala’s start popping off, you definitely want to be prepared with a couple of these in your box. This is a guide favorite of ours for when the big fish are eating on the surface, and it never fails to produce. It fishes great with an unweighted dropper and is easy to see with it’s orange post.
Fat Freddy Skwala
For those who love the “hopper dropper” method, this is a great high floating foam pattern to get the job done. It catches a lot of fish on its own but will hold up those heaver tungsten jig pheasant tails that were mentioned before. This is another favorite of our guides with how consistently we can rely on it to stay floating and catch lots of fish.
When the March Browns start to hatch, things can get pretty crazy. It’s good to have a pattern that you know will get eaten when it drifts in to pod of big fish, and this is that fly. Overall a great pattern for imitating any mayfly, which we’ll also see a few Blue Winged Olives mixed in with the March Browns.
A classic pattern that gets the job done. It has a bigger profile making it easier to see, and best of all it just plain works. A great fly for picking off the big fish in pod, and with its higher visibility it also tends to float longer without floatant. We find it helps to throw this more natural pattern in the pod of fish after it’s been pressured for a while with other patterns.
This is one of those flies that fails to produce for us. It’s ability to imitate a wide variety for bugs and baitfish makes it a go-to streamer pattern during the spring. A Size 10 in black is an awesome small leech or sculpin imitation and can fish very well unweighted on a sink tip or trout spey setup.
The perfect imitation for a small sculpin! We love to fish this fly in natural, olive, and black in slower riffley water with a sink tip. We find that big fish are very willing to crush this fly throughout the year, but is an especially great pattern in the Spring.