Yesterday we drove over to Ellensburg for Red’s Rendezvous V. Sponsored by Red’s Fly Shop, and held at the fly shop and Canyon River Ranch on the banks of the Yakima River, this annual gathering provides instruction, casting competition, the IF4 fly fishing film festival, and presentations on trips and other topics. And it’s a great opportunity to just sit and watch the Yakima River.
Spring is a wonderful time to drive down the canyon. The hills are still green in many places. And the temperature was in the high 60’s – far from the blast furnace temperatures one can experience mid day in summer. And even the winds were light – which is a somewhat uncommon occurrence. I really like Ellensburg, but the winds were one of the considerations in not moving that way.
We had missed the last two rendezvous due to conflicts and last year’s move to Gig Harbor. So this was a terrific opportunity to see how much progress had been made in the construction underway. The Canyon River Ranch Grill was in operation (the owners had given us a tour of it before it opened several years ago). The food was great. Line caught rock fish and chips was a quick but delicious lunch.
There were a number of sessions of riverside instruction, including switch rods by George Cook (Sage’s Northwest representative); introduction to Steelhead fishing by Steve Joyce, guide and part owner of Reds; and European Style Nymphing by Russell Miller of Team USA Fly Fishing.
Overall, the theme of this year was on spey and switch casting, which for river fishing bigger streams like the Yakima make bank fishing possible with their longer casts. I got the chance to try the new Sage Method switch rod (11’ 9” 8-weight). It was a gorgeous rod to look at with its bright Magma (bright red) color.
It would be wonderful to say I picked up the rod and boomed out one hundred foot casts. That wouldn’t, however, be the truth. I basically sucked at it. I understand what I was supposed to do, but as in most things it takes practice and development of muscle memory. But watching experienced spey casters was intriguing. They were able to easy get lines out far into the river with little effort.
I’ll mark switch/spey casting down on the to-do list. And we will make it to Rendezvous VI next Spring.