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.
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.
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.
The weather started out beautiful and warm on June 25th for the Rattlesnake Lake outing. I almost left my jacket at home. By the time I reached downtown Kirkland there was a literal hurricane blowing through, ripping whole branches off trees. After checking weather radar I could see that it had already blown through North Bend so I continued out to the event. When I got there I heard stories of the group effort to hold the tent to the table, but the weather was just a little damp. Nate & Midori, as always, had laid out quite a spread of food and about 20 members must have heard how good it was last year because they came despite the weather. A handful also tried fishing in small boats. Fish could be seen feeding on the surface, but it was a challenge getting them to go for the fly.
On April 20, I set out for San Jose, Costa Rica to meet up with seven other friends from the Seattle/Tacoma area to head out to Nicaragua for some tarpon fishing. After a short flight from San Jose to San Juan de Nicaragua, we boarded boats for the 10 minute jaunt to the Rio Indio Lodge. This lodge was built about 10 years ago and billed as an Ecotourism Lodge, but has since added the fishing aspect as this area at the mouth of the San Juan River is right on the migratory route for big tarpon. The lodge was really beautiful and built right in the jungle. We arrived on Sunday and were fishing by Sunday afternoon. I was the only person fishing flies. The gear guys were using jigs or bait (sardines) if available. My partner hooked up and landed his first tarpon early Sunday afternoon. At around 4:50pm, my Tibor Pacific reel attached to my 14 wt Orvis Helios2 started screaming and the fight was on. Once you get past the first jump (which happens almost immediately), you’re probably hooked up well. After about 40 minutes, I landed my first tarpon – around 75 lbs. I caught the fish on my own hand tied Black/Green/White Deceiver on a 6/0 hook using 25 lb class tippet with a 100 lb shock tippet. Pretty exciting. Throughout the rest of the week, I had 3 other hookups, but did not land another tarpon. I did however, land a very nice Jack Crevalle, again on one of my Deceiver ties. The guys using bait did better, but I refused to go over to the “dark side”. While at Rio Indio, we also did a day of jungle fishing which was really fascinating. The guide took us into the jungle through some nasty and shallow water (sometimes having to paddle) to get us to the area where we fished for Guapote or Rainbow Bass. Lots of fun. My partner and I caught over a dozen Guapote the largest weighing in at about 6 lbs. I did very well using a Black Starlight Leech on my 6 wt Orvis Zero Gravity rod. The last item of particular interest about Rio Indio is its resident crocodile. The croc, named Juan Cho, has been coming to the lodge dock every evening since the lodge owners first started coming to the area in 1990. They, of course, feed him. The Discovery Channel did a special on the croc and he is 125 years old, 19’1” long, and weighs about 1250 lbs. He just nonchalantly swam up to the boat dock into one of the slips every evening waiting for his fresh snack. The picture attached shows Juan Cho dining on a Jack Crevalle. Pretty spectacular sight. We had a great time at Rio Indio Lodge.
Upon our return to San Jose, four of our group of eight remained to travel to Quepos, Costa Rica for some Sailfish fishing. We flew to Quepos on April 26 and had Sunday, April 27 off to explore and chill in Quepos. This is a nice, quaint seaside town and we learned that there were a lot of American expats living there. The town itself had some really nice bars and eating establishments, but the high rent district was up the hill on the way to Manuel Antonio National Park, which is supposed to be pretty spectacular. Anyway, our first day of fishing was Monday, April 29. We boarded the “Sea Lady” captained by CPT Eric along with deckhand El Chita. We proceeded about 25 miles offshore in search of Sailfish. I had my 14 wt rod rigged up with a sailfish popper, ready to go, but with trolling eight bait rods with an additional 3 teasers, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to get to the sails with the fly. I’m not proud, but I did enter the rotation for the fighting chair and landed 3 sails on gear. I’m not including any pictures of the sails since they don’t count, being caught on gear. I did however catch a few Yellowtails and small Dorado on the fly while we were fishing for Sailfish. On the last day, we did some inshore fishing for Rooster fish. I was using my 6 wt Zero Gravity casting on the bow of the boat. It was pretty rough as we were right in the surf. All of a sudden I saw a big fish right beside the boat. I already had my fly out on that side and as it swung around, the fish saw it and developed some interest. I stripped it in a few times and suddenly, FISH ON! This was a pretty big fish for what felt like a really wimpy 6 wt rod. But, about 45 minutes later with the help of CPT Eric helping in the chase, I landed a 35 lb Tripletail (kind of a black snapper). Quite a fight on the 6 wt. Deckhand El Chita indicated that these fish were really good eating and that he would be happy to take the fish, so this fellow was not released unscathed. We continued on to another area by a bunch of big rocks to seek Roosters. One of the gear guys landed one. Beautiful fish – really hard fighters. Since we were told Roosters would take nothing but live bait, I thought I would use the 6 wt rod with a “live sardine” fly. Yes I know it’s cheating and I deserve a ration of $*%!, but what the hell. I wanted to catch a Rooster. Right at the end of the day, I did hookup and again, after a 45 minute battle, landed a 30+ lb Rooster fish. The rod broke just as we had the fish up to the boat but we landed the fish anyway. Catching the Yellowtail and the Rooster on the 6 wt. was quite a battle, but the rod was way overmatched. I was quite impressed with the strength of the rod.
All in all, this was a really great trip. I got to explore some new areas, catch some big saltwater gamefish on the fly, and have a lot of fun with a great bunch of guys.
OK, so I have been to Rocky Ford on my way to and from business meeting and took a could newbies there a couple weekends ago. Funny thing about this place, when other waters are getting hammered with folks, there is no one here and visa/versa. The last couple times, I was the only guy there, well almost … and with the newbies there were just a handful of fishermen out. The good news: This spring the hatchery released some large 10 pounders and I have actually been lucky enough to catch a few to hand. The water is above normal slightly, might be part of what the WDFW guy was talking of but this makes it all new in terms of how and where to fish. I find that good in that we can try new techniques and such. The bad: The WDFW has put chains across both footbridges for “Safety Reasons” the sign says. At the lower aluminum bridge it does appear the ramp just on the other side is listing at more than a 45 degree angle which could make it unsafe and on the upper foot bridge I am not sure why because every thing looked ok to me … I will try to find out more but this sure does put a cramp in hitting the Ford if we cannot fish the other side, especially the lower other side. Bummer for the summer. Note to self, must find other water to fish …
Just a quick email to find out who is interested so we can nail down some details over the next weeks before the outing. The date is Saturday, August 3rd starting at 8:30 at Banks Lake although I will be there the 2nd on Friday scouting out the known carp habitats so we can get on some Saturday.
As a few of you witnesses last summer at the outing the conditions have to be right for everything to come together and end up with the behemoth on the end of your line. Conditions such as sunshine to spot them, no wind and no chop on the water so we can see then, water temp at about 71 degrees or better, water levels which should not be a problem at Banks Lake at that time, the carp need to be feeding in groups … need I say that it is a hunt to be sure. Just laying this out so there are no disappointments if the conditions do not come together. I have been on Banks when they do and had 20 fish to hand in four hours, also have been skunked.
So if you are willing to take a chance on a good day, let me know. Ron Romig is bringing his jet boat and can get a few into position with that … if anyone else wants to bring a boat let me know. I will be wading in a couple different spots and can lead that group. If you are coming Friday we can camp at a campground near the lake that Ron’s friend owns, more details to follow.
Please let me know if you plan on coming and which days so I can plan accordingly. Any questions just shoot … Mark
Another club member and I went to Lone Lake just before Christmas for the first time. The weather was very mild and the lack of wind made it a prefect day to pursue some rainbows. I kicked my float tube across the mirror-like surface and took in the scenery. Tons of waterfowl were enjoying the quiet lake with me. But, within 30 minutes, I was rudely interrupted by two large and feisty rainbows, both over 19 inches! Unfortunately, the rest of the day was quiet and it got a lot colder so it was time to go home for the holidays…