On April 13, 2019, at 1:00 PM, you are invited to attend the Dedication of OFFC’s Memorial Bench honoring past members.
We will honor the memories of 20 past OFFC members who helped make OFFC what it is today and are fondly remembered. The Memorial Bench is intended to be a living legacy where we can continue to honor generations of OFFC members and inspire each other by their examples.
For complete details including directions to Rocky Ford, and suggested overnight accommodations in the Rocky Ford area see the March issue of Windknots which contains all the pertinent information.
If you’ve tubed up your trout rod for the winter, you might want to reconsider and head over to Beaver lake. On December 18th WDFW planted 900+ brood stock from the Issaquah hatchery. Make sure you bring a boat as shore fishing from the boat launch is pretty limited.
The OFFC received pictures of a fish kill at Lone Lake. After forwarding to the WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife we received a detailed answer… lack of dissolved oxygen but not due to temperatures.
I was able to investigate the fish kill at Lone Lake with WDFW’s Officer Downes and Zack Gaston from the Dept. of Ecology yesterday afternoon. We visually surveyed about 30% of the lake shoreline to determine species and approximate sizes that have died, measured water temperatures and dissolved oxygen concentration, and looked for signs of chemical contamination.
We only observed Rainbow Trout ranging from 12 to 18 inches long and estimate that more than 1,000 fish were visible along the shoreline, but did not seek to formally estimate the number of fish that have died.
Water temperature did not vary more than one degree and averaged 65˚F, which is below the lethal threshold for Rainbow Trout (77˚F). Dissolved oxygen declined from 1.8 at the surface to 0.6 mg/L at the bottom (average = 1.3 mg/L), which is well below the lethal level for Rainbows of 3 mg/L and the likely cause of the kill. Rainbows are pretty hardy and are capable of avoiding too much exposure to either lethal condition if they can find temporary refuge. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options for avoidance in small and shallow lakes like Lone.
We did not think that contaminants are a likely cause of the kill because only Rainbow Trout were observed. We also spoke with an angler who reported catching several Largemouth Bass in recent weeks, but no trout. The survival of one species, but not another corroborates our conclusion that the cause is most likely environmental.
There isn’t much else we can do at this point to determine the impact to the population, but wait and see how fishing is this fall and winter.
Please don’t hesitate to report observations of additional mortality and/or fishing success as that information is invaluable to WDFW’s efforts to maintain the fishery.
Tom Eng led a group on Oct 28th to Chico Creek near Bremerton. Despite winds that gusted to 38 MPH the fishing was good at the low tide, and again near high tide. Almost everyone found some chum. Several people returned over the next few weeks with our last trip on Nov 11th. We noticed the color of the chums changing from consistently silver to almost all “moldy” looking. Probably the best fishing was the middle week with huge pods of possibly 100 fish traveling the bay presenting a perfect target for fly casters, and they readily ate our flies. At the beginning we had the place to ourselves but by the end it was truly combat fishing with many gear casting guys, and fewer fish biting.
Why visit La Paz for fly fishing? The one word answer is: variety. Collectively, our group landed 8 species – dorado (mahi mahi), bonito (skipjack tuna), black skipjack, rooster fish, needle fish, trumpet fish, lady fish/bonefish, parrago, and even accidentally fooled a frigate bird and pelican. We also spotted snook, sailfish, marlin, wahoo, turtles, manta ray and porpoise.
Larry Elhart, George Hu, Howard Levens, Ray Kanemori, and Richard Pierson (guest) took a trip Oct 10-15th to La Paz, Mexico. Ray Kanemori discovered “Pirates of La Paz” at the fly fishing show last year and signed up for an incredible deal of 5 days, 4 nights, 3 days fishing for $900/ppdo including boats, rods, and 2 meals per day. Airfare can be as little as $550. Richard is the head Fly fishing guide who helped tremendously in this unfamiliar water, is $200/day.
We were targeting dorado (mahi mahi) and roosterfish, and we found plenty of both. We had 2 fishermen to a 21’ boat with a captain. They first look for sea birds, then troll bait & flies, and look for Dorado leaping out of the water. The usual scenario was to hook a dorado on the baitfish or trolled flies, then bring that fish close to the boat and other dorado follow and soon there’s a few circling around the boat. You have to cast flies to them which is challenging because these dorado are extremely quick, always turning, you’re casting in all directions, and they don’t stay around long. We successfully hooked up with the dorado casting in this frenzy, but it wasn’t easy, and was exhausting with a 12 weight. More dorado were caught by trolling, and catching and keeping the limit of 2 per person wasn’t hard. We probably caught and released dozens as a group. The largest one of our group was probably 15 pounds, but we saw a monster 30 pounder landed by another group. Pirates of La Paz will vacuum pack and freeze your fish for you for free.
While trolling flies, we frequently hooked up with Bonito, which is very similar to Skipjack Tuna. These fish are generally football-sized, but they are solid muscle and were some of the best fighters even compared to much bigger dorado. Hooking two at once was common. George landed one monster that was probably 10 pounds. Our most interesting stories involved what happened while trying to land bonito. Ray brought one up that was foul hooked and shredded – most likely by a wahoo, and Howard witnessed one of these toothed torpedos chasing his. George brought one to the surface and saw the huge thin dorsal of a sailfish trying to make a meal of it, while Howard saw his captain bring one up followed by a billfish that presented itself like a periscope rising up out of the waters.
One of the most unusual fish was the Roosterfish, with a rooster-like dorsal fin. They inhabit waters close to shore and we fished for them by boat. Catching Roosterfish was a similar process to the dorado with baitfish attracting them to the boat and then casting to them. They are very fast and put up a good fight. We also caught numerous shore-dwelling species during this process including a lot of needlefish, trumpetfish, and what the local captain called a “bonefish”. It’s similar to the bonefish in color and ability to run, but unfortunately after comparing photos we realized this was actually a “ladyfish” but known by both names. Some in the group also got to go ashore among mangroves and cast for fish. They spotted snook among the mangroves but they were too elusive to hook.
The area is also popular with Marlin fishermen trolling big feathered flies on big gear. A 360 pound Marlin was caught by one of the Pirates captains while we were there. Our fly fishing guide, Richard, has also caught them on a fly after attracting them close to the boat with hookless attractors.
To get to La Paz you fly into the Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja peninsula. La Paz is a 2 hr van ride but a world away because there are no resorts there, just locals. The fanciest seafood meal with drinks and tips was less than $25 per person. We felt very safe walking the streets at night and it has less crime than US cities of comparable size. It’s long been popular with gear fishermen seeking a cheaper and better fishing alternative to Cabo. It’s not yet a major fly-fishing destination, but if you want to try warm water big game fishing on a budget, La Paz is something to consider.
So, it was a summer well spent fishing in eastern Washington. There was always sun, heat and good folks which are the main reasons I head over there. It reminds me of growing up in Montana and heaven knows we don’t get what sun and heat we need on this side of the mountains … we do get good people though, which is why I joined this club.
The Yakima River fished both tough and easy … Ted Liner and I hit it in the early spring with his raft set up wonderfully for fly fishing, thanks Ted. We had a go of it but landed few trout. The weather was picture perfect and we fished the day in shirt sleeves. We both left with a taste of the Yak still needing to be satisfied and agreed to hit it again, but alas, our schedules did not work out so Ted we still need to get over there!
In September early, I and my two college age boys booked a trip with Troutwater and Jonny Boitano on the Yak. Jonny and the Yak did not disappoint, it had been a few years since I was with my oldest son John and Jonny B on the river, and they had a grand time catching up. Jonny put us on fish right away and going the extra mile would row back up a slot every now and then to make sure we had caught the hungry trout that were there. The youngest son had not fly fished before … I know, as my son he should have but he told me early on “Pops, I am not a camping kind of guy” so I let him off the hook so to speak. After a quick lesson on casting from our intrepid guide, he was into fish all day and really caught on quick with both the catching and the fishing guy banter. By the end of the day we were exhausted from it all and had smiles on our faces the rest of the guy trip. I did beat him in numbers of fish to hand but he schooled me at golf the next couple of days.
Rocky Ford, my favorite spot to camp and fish. Not sure why but it seems that whenever I go there the Ford is kind and the company is just what the doctor ordered. During my many trips camping there alone I seem to run into nice guys just looking to get away like myself. A few years ago, I met a guy there that after talking around the campfire, I realized liked fishing in eastern Washington as much as I do, we have since become good fishing buddies and meet up over there all the time … of course the Ford is our camping base. Another time I met a guy who owns a fly tying company called Amazing Flies and since we have met there a few times as well as other places and fished our flies off. Each time I wonder who I might meet there, once a trailer full of guys out to have a grand ole time … and we did … got a little fishing in too. Another, a couple of guys who have fished the world and heard about Rocky Ford and had to come see for themselves. They were amazed and vowed to come back. Sometimes locals, there was this guy last year who told me he fishes there every day and had a fish counter around his neck, 723 fish counted so far and it was only late June. I did learn a few tidbits from him and watched him catch four right off the dock in short order. Last weekend with my buddy Eric mentioned earlier, we ran into a couple Californians well outfitted and looked like seasoned fly fishers but were having a tough go of it. So after a few pointers, a spot or two located and a couple beers they headed off to try their luck. At the end of the day in camp one had a smile on his face so big I think it is still there … he proudly showed me a picture of him with a fish at least ten pounds! Maybe I should keep the tips to a minimum for Californians …
A day spent on the Spokane River was productive but for the wrong fish, bass. While I was after trout, apparently the bass liked my offerings and I was unfamiliar with just where to fish. I think I ended up in a “bass only” stretch. After talking with Fred Timms on where to go I missed the trout area by about a couple miles. Bass are good though, I think.
Small streams and creeks in eastern Washington are great places to try your luck in unfamiliar waters. I spent some time scouting around above Moses Lake in the Glloyd Seeps Wildlife Area and found a few that produced and a few that did not. I am not sure I could find them again if I tried as none were particularly memorable from the natural beauty or catching standpoint. As a matter of fact I found at least ten so called lakes that were visible on the map but upon reaching them … bone dry and for a while. Someone should tell the map guys to update their databases.
Off Pinto Ridge Road south of Coulee City, I found a lake called Trail Lake. On the map it is quite small but on arriving the lake was actually quite large (all the dry lakes must have given their water to this one), and deep, real deep. From the looks of the terrain, on the west side where there is a rather large irrigation canal, the side of the lake goes down and down and down until the water is a deep blue. With no one around or on the lake I was not sure what I would find, but driving along the canal road and looking down I could see a lot of carp. Perfect! The wind was howling from the east so I floated a fly over the edge and down about 40 feet to the lake. When it landed several carp headed toward it and one nosed up and inhaled the fly, and promptly took off toward the middle of the lake. It was fun fighting it from up high and scrambling down to unhook it finally. Several bass in the 14” range to hand were caught and released also.
Crab Creek winds through that area and I found a few places to approach it and wet a line. Although it did not produce, I think it worth another day exploring to see if there are better places on the creek to find fish.
A hike down into Dusty Lake was beautiful but also, not real productive. I saw one fisherman catch a fish from the bank and had caught several a couple years before but not this time.
After a hot day hiking down Rocky Ford Creek below Hwy 17 between Ephrata and Moses Lake, all I can say is “Its a hike”. That and there are fish there, mostly carp and bass but trout few and far between. A good exploration of this area is warranted for carp but I need to keep in mind that there are probably better more accessible places for that wily beast.
Out of the dozen or so trips, thinking back over the summer, I just realized I did not fish the Columbia once, what a shame as it typically produces fish and is a great time … well, I guess I had to leave some water in that area for next summer.
The outing yesterday was a great time. We had 10 from the combined groups, some on the beach and some in water crafts. We fished from 12:00- 5:00pm. Total in that area there were 16 fly fishermen and 7 gear fishermen, with no hook ups..We saw 50-60 fish jumping around, they were everywhere. I was on a boat with Phil and we tried about 20 different flies, we were casting to them, trolling and buck tailing, to give our arms a rest. Phil looked at me at one point and said this had to be the most frustrating day, he ever had at fishing.. Pete Kaufman, from PSFF, was at Yukon Bay and he had the same story, they had 11 fishermen…So the total for Olalla was 2 SRC and 1 Bullhead …Yukon Bay 1- 16″ Jack… Boy what a tough day. But we had a great time, soaking up sun, and ended up at Tides Tavern for an early dinner.
After getting skunked six ways from Sunday last year we were out to redeem our self-respect at Banks Lake … fishing for carp. You might have heard that carp are skittish, hard to stalk and have an extremely keen sense of smell. We can attest to that! The last time we gathered on the Columbia and went after the grey ghost, he seemed to be all around us but just out of reach or not even paying attention to our mouthwatering carp candy we dangled, plunked and stripped in front of him. Well, this time we were determined to get the better of him or cry trying.
It seemed to me, the hesitant organizer of this group that a strange phenomenon had occurred. Almost the exact same group of folks signed on this time as last time. Either we are just gluttons for punishment or there is something about carp that draws those that have a need to unravel the mystery of this ancient underwater creature.
Friday, as the weather broke to the good about three, we did some scouting late in the day and early evening with some success in determining where to go on the lake. And one carp was brought to hand by Chris Bentsen as a bonus, the game was afoot. The weather man promised good skies and calm water tomorrow, what a relief as nothing can ruin a good carp hunt quicker than cool air, wind, choppy water, breeze, muddy water, rain, clouds, well you get the picture.
We awoke about 5:15am to the sound of rain on our tents, drats … maybe it would stop soon. Breakfast was scheduled at 7am and on the way the rain had let up and broken clouds were on the horizon. By the time we hit the water at 9ish we had at least determined the rain was not coming back, now to just get this wind to stop or find a couple bays where it was minimized. As luck would have it, we found what we were looking for and started right after it although under cloudy skies. By two o’clock, the clouds became less and less and were gone at about four. Now just the hot sun, smooth water and us … searching for carp.
During the day, a couple of us had hooked up with carp to hand as well as a good number of small walleye, perch and one bass. The tally at the end of the day if I remember correctly was seven carp between us and a feeling of redemption, now if tomorrow could just be as good and those of us who had not been fortunate could land one.
The day ended with us sitting around the camp looking over the lake at one of the nicest sunsets I had seen in a long time. Talk bounced from what to try tomorrow, to how to solve all the problems of the world. Luckily, before it deteriorated any further, our beds as they were beckoned.
Sunday was a bonus day as some of us wanted to give it another go. Low and behold, sun and nothing but sun! We had fallen into a quick routine with breakfast at Big Wally’s in Coulee City, then to the boats and wading as soon as we could get on the water. And now sun looking into somewhat clear water would give us the advantage.
Back to the same territory … carp ahoy captain! Coming and going, back and forth. Cast, hold, wait and set. Pretty soon Chas Wade hooked into a nice one while I marched back into the reeds to see if I could find where all that splashing was coming from. Across a small peninsula I stumbled on a waterway covering about a half an acre and eighteen inches deep clear water with a mud bottom. The water weaved in and out of grass, reeds and the like … with carp everywhere. About an hour later with a carp on the line leading me out into the cove where Jay Burman and Ron Romig were stationed on the boat, I had to admit he was the third one so far. What could I say, the beasts were everywhere in there. My penance, since I had broken up their hunting grounds with splashing around, was that the best course of action would be to head back in there and chase them out for the boys to have a go at.
About thirty minutes later with another carp in the net I stumbled out only to see Ron had a beast on and Jay was filming it for posterity. A smiling Ron looked down and my smaller fish and said, “Now who’s the boss?!” or some kind word of encouragement.
By one o’clock or so when it was time to leave, Chas managed to hook up a couple more beauties(can we call Carp that?) and poor Jay was left crying. He could sleep soundly though knowing he had scored yesterday on a rather huge one, probably the biggest of the bunch.
All in all, the weather cooperated just enough, the water reached the right temps and our rods were ready. Next time we have the edge as we can call ourselves Men of the Mud, Carp Capturers or whatever the hell we want to, we have caught carp and are proud to tell of it.
The Corbett Lake outing this year was characterized by pleasant environment & surroundings, great fishing companions, excellent meals, quality research and above average fishing, catching & releasing. Thanks to Ron Miller’s suggestion, we all caravanned up to the lake on July 5th to find pleasant weather and spectacular scenery. We stayed in two large adjoining cabins with an interconnecting door so socialization was maximized each day. The view from the cabin balcony and some pictures of the lake are below. We also noticed a new sign on one of the points so we had its namesake pose next to the sign for the record.
The first evening we had dinner in the lodge where they prepared a prime rib dinner with all the trimmings. The food was excellent and we really enjoyed each other’s company during the meal. The remainder of the meals was prepared in the cabins by the participants and it must be said that these were equally excellent. Each meal was preceded by relaxing in the lounge area of one of the cabins and sharing fishing stories. We ate on the deck each night and it was breezy enough that the mosquitoes weren’t much of a problem. The main dishes consisted of elk meat loaf, beef bourguignon and spaghetti with meat sauce. Each meal included salad and dessert. No one walked away hungry!
We basically had the lake to ourselves for most of the week-end. However there were several Canadian fishers that seemed to have this lake dialed in. Each day they would go out to the drop-offs, anchor up and fish chironomids. It seemed that they were hooking a fish about every 5 minutes. Naturally we were curious about how they were doing that. Several of us asked them for more information, but they were not very helpful. A fish broke off one of their entire rigs and the next day Dave Nielson found it floating in the lake. It was everything from the indicator to the fly. He coiled up the whole thing and brought it in for us to look at. The fly was a size 14 root beer colored chironomid with a black tungsten bead head and a tuft of white fir just above the head. Dave and Bill LaFever set about getting a good photo of the fly (below) and I made an attempt to untangle the leader so that we could measure it’s length. I got Ron Miller to help me with the untangling project and we found out that it was about 20 feet from the indicator to the fly and tapered from about 3X at the butt to around 5X at the fly.
We caught fish using all the usual techniques, trolling, casting & retrieving, casting dry flies to rising fish, and chronomiding. Bill LaFever, Dave and I spent the morning of the last day trying out what we had learned from the analysis of the retrieved Canadian rig. I caught one, Bill caught several fish and Dave caught at least one. The research was a success, thanks to Dave. Following are some other catches and releases from our 4 days of fishing.
All in all, it was a great outing and we really enjoyed it. I’ve booked the same two cabins for July 5th through the 9th for next year.