Took advantage of a break in the winter weather to test the Snake. Only fisherperson there from 11 to 3. Air 41 degrees, water 39 degrees. Fish were active, and in pods. Vertical presentation and very slow strip worked. Blobs, and black leech. Most fish in the northwestern corner in 35′. Fish were uniform 13″, strong but a bit thin.
Testing out new PWM, pulse width modulator, for trolling motor. Beautiful day, no wind, sun, 44 degrees, water 40 degrees Burrr. This is what boats are made for. Did manage four takedowns on an indicator, blood worm at 15.5′ in 16′ of water. Fish 13″ to 17″.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the age of 6 my father introduced me to the art of fishing streams and much later, to fishing lakes. At the time I did not think anything about it as fishing was fishing, no matter where it was. But now that I look back over those years I have come to realize that I have stopped fishing small stream in favor of the stillwaters of lakes. I also know that is not the norm for many fly fisherpersons and the methods and sometime equipment is somewhat different. With this in mind, I am taking on the task of explaining some of the things that makes stillwaters fishing in B.C. my passion.
I will start with, a few of my reasons for fly fishing on lakes in B.C. which are as follows: (1) lots of small lakes that are perfect for fly fishing, (2) few people to content with. (3) Lots of wild life and scenic beauty. (4) It take a day or two days of driving to get to these fishing areas, which are far, far away for the city life. (5) Lots of fish, simple, huh?
But you might say that you can find the same thing in Eastern Washington which is true to some extent but you can not find the legendary Kamloop trout. Of course there are Rainbow trout in most of the lakes and some lakes have Kookanee which can give you one heck of fight for their size.
For a beginner fly fisherperson, you can start fly fishing on lakes with two simple techniques; (1) Trolling a fly such as a Wooly Bugger, or a Carey Special or (2) Chironomidae fishing with a bobber. Both methods are effective and many times the only way to find fish in a lake you never fished before. Of course both these methods are fished below the surface. Trolling requires the use a wet line and Chironmidae fishing will be done with a dry line with a bobber set so that the fly is at the same depth as the fish.
Trolling very slowly allows you to search areas of a lake shore or shoals while observing the surface for hatches, spent shucks or bird activity. You may use a row boat, canoe, pontoon boat or float tubes depending on the access to the lake or your personal preference. A row boat or canoes are fine for two persons and you can cover a lot of water with them. Pontoon boats or float tubes will allow you to get into lakes that do not have road access and let you fish closer to the shore and are less expensive to acquire. You can row slowly or you can let the wind drift you across the lake, assuming it is where you were you wanted to fish. But remember to keep an eye open for where the wind is blowing you, as you will still have to get back to you launch site at the end of the day.
Chironmidae fishing can be done from any type boat anchored in front and rear to keep the boat from moving. It is much like fishing with a bobber when you were a kid. The bobber (strike indicator) will keep the fly at the depth of the fish. You will use a long leader, 12 feet or longer, so that the dry line will float and the fly will descend to the depth of the fish as set by the bobber. Yes, I know that this method of fly fishing may seem odd, but it is effective. Once the fly is at the depth, you will retrieve it very, very, very slowly, to emulate the Chironmidae as it ascends to the surface on a bubble of air. You must be very quiet and patient which is why many fly fishermen pass this part of the sport up. However, this method can be effective when nothing else will work.
Another method of fishing lakes is with a dry fly, on the surface or subsurface, much as you would a stream except you will not have the current to take the fly to the fish. This is where the Pontoon boat and float tube comes into their own. These crafts will allow you to work the shoreline without the problem of the wind that you have with the row boat or canoe. Also they are much less expense and easier to store in you garage. Dry fly fishing is either done in a hatch or along the shore where the reeds, grasses or dead trees give cover for the fish from their predators. I must admit that less then ¼ of my fishing is with a dry fly but it always gives me an adrenalin rush when you see the fish strike the fly on the surface.
As for rods, you will need a 8 ½ to 9 foot rod in a 5 or 6 weight because you will be lower on the water and you need the extra length to keep the fly off the water when you cast. There are two different types of rods I use for Lake fishing. I use a medium to fast for dry flies to keep my casts to a minimum and medium to soft rod for Chironmidae fishing as you will get fewer break offs when the strike hits the softer rod.
You will find that the prices in British Columbia are reasonable and the exchange rate is near par. One note of caution, take your passport with you. It is not for the Canadians, but for when you return to the U.S. After 9/11, the U.S. customs must see some sort of photo ID and the passport is best.
More detailed information on lake fishing can be found in (1) “The Gilly”, a flyfisher’s guide compiled & edited by Alfred G. Davy. This book is a collection of writings by some of the legends of British Columbia, past and present. (2) Morris & Chan on Fly Fishing Trout Lakes, (3) Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, a study of trout, Entomology and Tying by Philip Rowley. (4) “Hatch Guide for Lakes, Naturals and their Imitations for Stillwater trout fishing”. All of these are published by Frank Amato Publications.
Videos in our OFFC library include: (1) Trout in Still Waters by Gary Borger, (2) Flyfishing Still Waters with Alf Davy, (3) Flyfishing Strategies for Still waters – Volume I & II by Brian Chan, (4) Lake Fishing Techniques for Large Trout with Bill Mart, (5) Fly Fishing Stillwaters for Trophy Trout by Denny Rickards.
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