the fishing life...
Yak Houses
My dad and I are a lot alike and I believe that is why spending more than a couple hours together is very difficult.  One Paul at a party is Paul-enough, two Paul’s anywhere is suicide.  This isn’t anything new.  Friends and family, have questioned this trip from its initial murmurs a year and a half ago.  “A fishing trip?  For how long?  Good luck.”  My mother told me that Brooks, a good buddy and old friend of mine, upon inquiring of my plans after graduation and the situation of the supposed 6-month fishing trip he had heard about remarked, “Oh yeah, they’re still thinking about that?  I give them two weeks.”

A week and a half of father, mother, son time in Bellingham and I believe we were all thinking the same thing…then we found sweet redemption on the Yakima.

Emotions were running pretty high, as we drifted into Cle Elum on the east side of the cascades.  Traveling east out of Seattle in less then 60 miles the landscape is transformed from a concoction of greens to a homogenous muted gray of winter weary grass,  Rolling foothills, blue skies, ponderosa pine, and lazy clear cobble streams, this is heaven.
Cle Elum
Big Paul insists it’s hell.  For the past week and a half he has managed to steer every conversation he has had towards the god-damn, no good, dirty sons of bitches that are Washington State troopers.  I swear to god I listened to him turn a conversation about the badgers center Jon Leuer’s poor play in the sweet sixteen into a rant on Washington Cops.
Jon Leuer
Scouting the Yakima on the trip out to see me in Bellingham big Paul lost control of his lead foot admiring the landscape.  Seconds later a cop in a deceiving dodge charger appeared out of nowhere and damn near collided with the bumper of my folks enclave.  It is a pretty bum deal really.  My folks were doing 57 on a road they thought was 55.  The cop wrote him for the full amount not budging an ounce, 12 over the 45 limit.

It wasn’t so much the ticket that frustrated my old man, but the manner of how he got.  Nobody likes to sideswiped and told they are wrong when they were doing what they thought was right.  It was a misunderstanding, not a criminal act.  For that misunderstanding big Paul was in fear of his insurance going up, and losing six points on his license.  So his fears and emotions snowballed a bit to the detriment of his enjoyment of the Yakima valley.  In reality, his insurance probably wouldn’t budge, the last time he got a ticket was 15 years ago, and the most points his lawyer said he would lose would be 3, the same amount Leuer finished his career off with verses Butler.  Not that he needs reminding.

The fishing was great.  I am not sure how to document this trip yet.  I have my big camera, but I don’t like to carry that with across the water and with the possibility of rain and that.  I will figure it out eventually. Bare with me.

We stopped in Cle Elum at the Troutwater Fly shop and got some tips for fishing and stream access.  I nymphed the Cle Elum for a bit the first day with no luck, it didn’t matter though it was just nice to be out on the water.
Paul and Randy with a bow
The next day we floated the Yakima through the canyon with Randy, a guide from the trout shop.  Towards the end of March and through the middle of April a handful of prominent western streams observe a famous stonefly hatch.  Skwala are stones about an inch and a half long that emerge in mass for about a month and become the trout’s favorite food.  When conditions are right, skwalas migrate from the cobble of the stream substrate to the banks of the stream where they shed their exoskeleton and wait for love.  Being cold blooded and somewhat lethargic in the springtime temperatures the slightest wind can blow them from their roost and send them careening back to the water’s surface where they are gobbled up by hungry trout.
Adult Skwala
Skwala imitation
We spent the day casting skwala imitations and waiting for the acoustic doip of fish breaching the surface to take our fly.  We landed some nice fish, got to see some beautiful country, and officially started the trip.  A good day of skwala fishing was good for the soul, and it even took big Paul’s mind off his ticket, at least for a bit.
Let it Rain...bow
The Yak was beautiful, but the weather coming in was not, we decided to head on the next day.  Montana bound, skwala bound again, and in route to the Bitterroot.