The last week of April, we spent a day doing a guided fly fishing trip on the Yakima River. We fished the stretch they call the Farmlands, from the west side of Ellensburg to the Ringer Loop boat launch. We caught fish, hooked fish, lost fish, and had an absolute blast.
We learned so much from Stefan Woodruff, our guide from Ellensburg Angler, who was patient and always explained exactly where to cast and why, told us when we'd thrown the line correctly (the positive feedback was great), and taught us how to read the river. He knew the river intimately, and by the end of the day, it felt as though we were on our way to knowing the river, too.
This time I was brave enough to take my big camera out on the boat, and was glad I did. It was a beautiful sunny day, with perfect temperatures. At noon we beached the boat and Stefan grilled up steaks for lunch.
Highlights of my day were the five-pound whitefish I caught (it's in a previous photo), and this 17-inch rainbow that fought every step of the way before I landed it in the net. And then there was the even bigger rainbow that I played for nearly ten minutes before he flipped himself off the hook... just as much a thrill for me as the fish I actually caught that day.
I was always skeptical of guided river trips until we did our first trip last fall, on the south fork of the Snake River. Now I'm a convert. It's the perfect way to learn a new river, mainly because of the knowledge your guide has to share. Plus it's a great way to improve fly fishing skills. The guide teaches you new skills to apply to their particular river, and you practice the stuff you already know, fine-tuned with feedback from your guide. What could be better?