My plan was to drive east from Seattle to Montana and make it to Spokane on the very eastern boundary of the state by the end of the day. But barely 2 hours out of the city and through the first mountain pass I arrived at the little town of Cle Elum where my rental car came skidding to a halt. What caught my attention and caused me to stop was a fly shop on the main street called Trout Water, and after popping in and buying a few flies I found myself buying a one day state fishing licence for $11 and some change. Shortly afterwards I found myself knee deep in the Yakima River, just off the noisy Interstate-90 which I had been driving along minutes before. I had a couple of hours to see if I could catch my first Washington trout.
I fished up a long pool with no success, initially trying a Stimulator dry fly and then the same fly with a beadhead nymph below it. Near the head of the pool I noticed a small movement near my feet and looked down to see a collection of what looked to be either stonefly or salmonfly nymphs crawling slowly about the rocks. On to my tippet went a newly purchased #8 stonefly nymph and within a few casts my indicator bobbed under the water and a strange looking fish leaped out of the water. A whitefish! It was nice to start my American sojourn with a new species on the fly.
From the same pool I later caught a plump little rainbow trout on the same fly. I searched long and hard for any telltale sign it was to be my first cutthroat, but as hard as I looked for throat markings I couldn't discern any. I will have to wait a little longer to meet up with a cutthroat.
With that little itch scratched I could finally continue on my way to Montana!
I've spent the past five weeks in cities. Big, boisterous cities including Auckland, Tokyo, Seoul and Vancouver. As I head east behind the wheel of a rental car, master of my own destiny, encountering mountains and trout along the way, I can feel my soul being replenished by the embrace of nature.