Headed out to Florida to visit the inlaws. Took the week off of fishing before the trip, so no report for 12/16, Sorry! Met up with guide Matt Ercoli (firstname.lastname@example.org), for a guided trip in Tampa Bay. We attempted to fish for snook in the shallows, but after hours of casting and searching, we finally moved on to sea trout. The action was good and when we located the fish I tied into a half dozen of them in less than a half hour. Not huge fish as they were in the 16" to 18" range, but is was nice to spend the day casting a floating line over the flats with only moderatley weighted flies.
Sauk was dropping all week along with the snow level. Visibility was great at about four feet. Still a lot of dolly varden in, but you had to work hard to find them as the level in the river dropped to 2800 cfs before the rains came on Saturday. (Some of that precipitation finally made it into the river!) Conditions should be great over the next couple days thanks to the heavy rain.
The Skagit is also fishing well with a few confused silvers taking steelhead flies in the deeper runs. Lots of chum spawning in the shallows and hunkered down in the deeper, faster water. All those spawning chum salmon means a lot of dolly varden are in the river. Fishing for dollys has been great in the lower river due to the reduced visibility. Dollys spook easy in the upper Skagit due to increadibly clear water. Use long leaders with both floating lines and sink tips when the water is ultra clear. Use weighted flies with the sink tips if you can't get them down with the long leaders.
The forecast was for rain and possible wind. The snow level was dropping and so were the rivers. Perfect conditions; low light and few others on the river. I called Earl and we headed to the Sauk and Skagit at O'dark thirty to find some steelhead and dolly varden. We worked through the first run with sink tips and no takers, but fish were rolling. The first one that rolled looked like a steelhead or huge dolly. The next big fish that rolled was right next to Earl. It must have been a chum. I couldn't believe we didn't hook-up. Time to try something different! I rigged up my floating line with a 9 ft leader and a heavy pink fly. I walked back upstream to where I guessed the soft water was a couple feet deep. I told Earl I wanted to make a couple casts before we leave the hole. I laid out the fist cast, made a couple strips, nothing. Another cast, one strip, and a big dolly nailed my fly and started heading into the current and upstream. I turned it quickly and landed it after a couple minutes. It was over 20", the very thin, had a scarred dorsal fin, and a healed scar on the side. Hard life! I released it, asked Earl if he wanted to switch to a floater. He told me to make a couple more cast and see what happens. Next cast and I hooked a rock on the retrieve. Another cast, strip, and another hook-up. This time a small steelhead, somewhere between 18" and 20". Earl was convinced, he switched over, but no more takers.
Eventually we made it to the upper Skagit. A lot of spawning chum in the shallows. We used floating lines and lightly weighted flies looking for dolly varden. No takers. Earl switched to a heavy fly and started working the current seam. I also switched to a heavy fly at the end of the run. After a couple casts, a big fish rolled above me. Bright silver sides. A nice steelhead! I moved back upstream above Earl, showed him where the fish was, and let him work through the run. He got a good bump on the retrieve, but didn't hook-up. He made another cast to the same spot, nothing! I gave him a very heavy purple rabbit strip fly. After about five casts, the fish nailed the fly, jumped and ran into the current. He got it! After about five minutes, Earl won the battle and landed the fish. Only it wasn't a steelhead! It was a chrome bright silver! I couldn't believe it.
We moved to another run further downstream on the Skagit. Again, spawning chum everywhere. We were using heavy sink tips and working white streamers and black woolly buggers on the edge of the current seam looking for dolly varden once again. Earl worked through first and hooked a couple chum, but they didn't stay on. Half way through the run I hooked up, but it wasn't huge. A dolly? After a couple minutes I landed a dolly around 18", but incredibly fat! I mean fat like a football, but a tiny head. Ugly fish. I released it, made a couple more casts, then headed for home.
Headed to my favorite run on the Skagit River in search of some early winter steelhead. Only one other guy on the run and I had the pool to myself (Although I offered to share!). Worked through the head of the run one time with a heavy sink tip and no takers, but a number of chum rolling. Went back to the read of the run and worked through again with the heavy sink tip, a weighted fly, big mend, and a step down after the mend. Got the fly down this time and hooked-up after about twenty casts. A chum nailed my fly on the strip and shot out of the water, then started to roll. Within minutes I had a 10 lb hen in the shallows. She was in great shape, but definitely colored. I removed the hook and released her. After another ten casts, I had another hook-up. This fish also shot out of the water and did a number of jumps on the way out to the middle of the river. A big buck! Within minutes, I slowed the fish down and got it turned around. I thought for sure I was going to land it, but it threw the hook....damn!
Hope this doesn't sound too much like a commercial....this was my first chance to really test my Redington 7/8 large arbor reel. The line pulled off smoothly when the fish ran and I was able to retrieve it quickly when the fish tired. In short, it performed flawlessly!
No steelhead this time, but the winter run should be showing soon!
It rained hard all week and most of the rivers were still too high on Friday night. I decided to play it safe and hit one of my favorite selective fishery lakes once again. Earl and I were on the water by 8:00 and quickly found out that not only was the lake a selective fishery, but fish were being selective also. The sun was out and the water was glass smooth. Rising fish were taking a tiny #22 to #24 midge that was sitting on the surface, too cold to take to the air. Weird thing was that I didn't see a single chuck on the water. By 9:30 we hadn't touched a fish and only a couple had been caught by others. This sucks!
The wind started to pick up and some cloud cover drifted in. I switched to a full sinking line and a #12 olive damsel nymph. I hadn't moved fifty feet when my fly got nailed! I released a fat 16" bow. I headed back to the other side of the lake to talk to Earl about driving out to the Skagit. After another 50 feet my fly got nailed again, but it didn't stay on long.
I found Earl just outside the weedbed near the launch. We decided the fishing was poor and it was time to head for the Skagit. We turned around to head for the launch and started nailing fish, one after another. Between the two of us we landed five fish in five minutes, all over 16". Maybe we shouldn't go just yet!
By mid afternoon we were still on the lake. We switched to #12 black woolly buggers and we were catching big rainbows! Earl hooked into a nice bow and wanted a picture. I stripped in most of my line leaving about 15' in the water. I moved in close to Earl and circled him as he was attempting to get his fish in. Meanwhile, the line I had stripped in was falling back into the water as I had forgotten my stripping apron. As I was circling, my rod tip bent in half and started throbbing from side to side. I lifted the rod and could tell from the headshakes that I also had a nice fish on. As I was bringing my fish in, Earl finally landed his. I snapped a couple pictures, he released his fish, and I handed him the camera. After a couple minutes, I got my fish in and Earl snapped a couple pictures. We must have looked like a couple clowns!
I headed back to the take-out to pack up for the day. Earl's fly was destroyed so he tied on a new one. As I was watching him on the way in, he hooked a fish and lost it, then hooked another and lot it also. Minutes later he hooked another and managed to get this one in. I was a very fat bow. So fat, that from the silhouette I saw it looked like a bass!
We eached landed a dozen fish each. All of mine were over 12", 9 were over 16", and two were over 18". What a day!
Floated the lower Sky with Earl. Not a lot of fish showing, and the river was high for the float we were doing, but I was in the mood to do a little experimenting. I managed to tie into a chrome bright silver on the first fishable run we found. We worked a couple other good runs hard, but came up empty handed. Also managed hook a nice little 16" Sea Run Cutthroat in the Snohomish River at the end of the float. Nice surprise to end a quick float.
Floated the Stilly for steelhead and SRC with Jim and Bob. The deep pools were loaded with silvers and the chum are starting to show in decent numbers. Not many spawners yet, so it is still early. Jim had a number of grabs in the morning swinging a sink tip, but didn't manage to hook-up. Bob hooked and landed a big silver in the early afternoon while working a deep hole with a sink tip and heavy fly. Jim finally managed to hook-up in the afternoon and landed a nice silver. Bob also hooked up about the same time and landed a small dolly varden. It was his first.
The flows are great and the fish are still coming in. Should be great fishing until the rains start up again early next week.
Drove into a couple holes on the Stilly, then headed East to the Skagit. Hooked into another nice silver at my first stop on the Stilly. I estimated this fish at around 10 lb. Didn't see many fish other than silvers, a couple chum, and a couple old pinks. The big push of fish must still be coming, so hold on!
Not a lot of fish showing in the Skagit just yet either. Saw a couple chum rolling and the odd pink here and there. Did manage to hook a very small dolly varden using an egg sucking streamer pattern. Not sure what this fish was thinking as the fly was half the size of the fish. Good number of fish should be showing in the next couple of weeks.
Met up with Saul and floated the Stilly from Fortson to C-Post. We were supposed to float on Friday, but the river was blown. It finally dropped back into shape on Sunday. Fishing was slow as there weren't a ton of fish in the river just yet. Except, for the stinkin pinks, that is! Had a lot of fun with the pink salmon in September and October, but after the high water, the carcases are lining the bank and hanging from the trees. Man does it smell!
We passed by a couple chum, but the numbers were small. After an hour or so on the water, Saul hooked into three bright pinks at the first good run. Later on I managed to tie into a couple nice silvers. First one was in the 7 lb range, nice fish. Second one was huge! First time it came up I was a little worried as I thought I hooked a king, but the color and hooded nose have it away. I estimated this fish to be around 15 lb. Towards the end of the float, Saul tied into a coupe more pinks, but not what he was looking for.
Picked up Phil and headed off to one of the local selective fishery lakes once again. As we were gearing up, Ken joined us. The rivers are still blown, so lakes are the only option on this side of the mountains. The lake is still slow for this time of year, but it is definately getting better. This time we geared down and went with black woolly buggers and olive woolly buggers in size 12. This seemed to work better as Phil got a hit in the first few minutes. As this was an outting with friends, I fished today and managed to land nine rainbows, two were over 16", and one was over 17". This last big fish was hooked on the standard #6 black woolly bugger and really fought well. Phil ended up landing four fish, and Ken landed around a half dozen. We were off the water by noon as the wind was howling! Its good to see my favorite lake finally starting to produce!
Met Dan and son for a day on one of the local selective fishery lakes. Dan came out from Colorado to do some sight seeing and little fishing. The plan was to fish one of the rivers on Friday for silvers. However, the closer it got to Friday, the more it rained, and the rivers were blown by Thurday afternoon. The forecast for Friday was heavy wind and rain. We put off the trip until Saturday and hit the lake early Saturday AM. For some reason, the fishing was uncharacteristicly slow for this time of year. After a couple slow hours, I finally figured out the big bows liked olive woolly buggers. I set Dan and Wil up with the olive buggers and sinking lines and Wil was into his first fish on a fly within minutes. He lost his first fish right next to the boat, but he was jazzed. The fishing was slow most of the day, but Wil hooked into a number of good fish and finally landed his last one in the afternoon. Dan found some small fish on a #18 chironomid early in the day, but also managed to hook into a fatty later in the afternoon on a black woolly bugger. Both had a great time, but were beat by the early afternoon, so we headed for home.
Floated the lower Sky with Earl and Phil. When we started the float, we saw spawning salmon and reds everywhere. We passed up the first couple runs as the water is not very productive for fly gear. We started fishing the first rip-rap bank with deep water that we came to. There were a lot of bank anglers to work around and it really cut the water we could fish into a pretty small piece for our first run. We all managed to get a couple fish out this first run. As we worked our way further down the river, we encountered fewer anglers and bigger and more aggressive fish. We stayed away from the spawning fish in the shallows and concentrated on the more aggressive fish in the deep slots. We had a blast catching these big pinks. Some were pushing ten pounds! It was great to see the huge numbers of fish in the river. Some were swimming upstream, many were spawning in the shallows. The number of fish in the river was simply mind-boggling!
If they could grow legs, they'd walk up the river!
Floated the lower Sky with Bob and Jim. We started the morning with the occasional rain shower. We didn't mind too much because the rain was desperately needed! There were a ton of fish rolling at the first stop, but it wasn't the best fly water. We spent about 20 minutes here with no hook-ups, so we continued downstream. The pink salmon were rolling every few seconds about halfway through the second run and Bob and Jim both hooked up on their first pass through this run. I snapped a picture of each of their fish, the fish were released, and they headed back to the middle of the run for another pass. They continued hooking a fish or two on each pass through the run. When their arms tired, we continued down to the next run. The catching on the third run was a little spotty and there were a number of redds in the river bed so we didn't stay long.
About three quarters of the way through the drift we found a deep pool with a ton of fish rolling. Some were pinks, some were silvers, and some were really big! At one point, Jim hooked into a fish that he couldn't move. We never got a chance to find out what it was as it eventually broke off. We continued down to the last run and found the best fishing and the brightest fish. Bob and Jim made a number of passes through this run hooking a fish or two on every pass until it was time to head home. Bob and Jim left the river with sore arms and big smiles.
Floated the North Fork of the Stilly with Bob and Adam. The morning started out cool and foggy, the flow on the river was low, and there were salmon everywhere. Usually a good thing, but not in this case because we were targeting SRC and Steelhead in an attempt to stay away from the weekend crouds. We blew threw the first quarter of the river and started at the first good steelhead run. Adam started out with a dry and Bob with a skater. About halfway through the run, Bob hooked up with a nice fish. After a couple minutes, he landed a big buck pink salmon that nailed his surface fly! I couldn't believe it! As I said, the salmon where everywhere. In most places, the salmon were so thick you could walk across the river and not get wet!
At the next stop, we fished SRC, and Adam rose a couple nices ones, but we couldn't get them to stick. The thousands of salmon really had the SRC turned off and it was hard to get the sea runs to come up. The rest of the float was pretty much a bust other than the occasional confused salmon that came up for the surface fly.
Floated the lower Sky with Earl. There were tons of fish, but most that were rolling were dark. We had to work hard to find the bright fish that were interested in taking a fly. By mid morning we figured out a technique that worked well. Only problem was you really needed fins and Earl's fins didn't fit over his wading boots. After hooking a couple fish, I gave my fins to Earl. I managed to hook a few fish while floating without my fins. Only had one problem. You ever try rowing a boat with an oar in one hand and a rod with a hooked fish in the other? First fish was small enough that I was able to strap the rod to the boat and row to shore, letting the drag to the work on the fish. Second fish was too big. I was rowing with one hand and kicking as hard as I could with my feet (With no fins!) to keep the boat straight. I'm sure it was quite a sight! Took me about five minutes to row about 100 feet, but eventually I made it to shore and released a nice hen. We had a blast!
Fished the Stilly mainstem in the afternoon. It was overcast and a little drizzly. I was on the water by 3:30 PM, four hours before the high tide. After waiting my turn to fish the run, I waded in as deep as I could and made my cast. I finally got it right by the third try, made my mend and strip, and was quickly into my first pink salmon of the day. I managed to hook-up with more fish than I care to mention. Most were able to throw the hook, but I did get four in to shore before releasing them. Last fish was hooked at the head of the run and was a nice big buck.
Mark and I camped out Saturday night at The Cape in Neah Bay. We awoke Sunday morning to some pretty thick fog. We had a rental boat reserved, but they wouldn't let the boats go out until the fog stared to burn off. Mark went to get some coffee and breakfast. I stayed at camp and tied some flies. (I was determined to catch my fish on my own flies.) By 8:30 the fog started to lift and they let us out. By 9:30 we found our first tidal rip and threw our flies in the water. Within minutes a ball of water roared up behind Mark's fly and his reel started screaming. We stopped the boat, but the fish quickly threw the hook. A few minutes later, I hooked into a screamer and after a couple minutes I released the wild coho and we started bucktailing again. By this time we had figured out that we could hook many more fish if we dropped the rod tip and the loop of line we were holding when a fish came up behind the fly. Shortly after finding the tidal rip again, we hooked into another fish. This one was a hatchery fish, which Mark kept. At one point a ball of water rose up behind Mark's fly and took a swing. It missed. We both dropped our rod tips and the loop of line. I dropped mine an instant sooner and the fish crushed my fly. My reel started screaming. We continued to hook fish until we lost the current seam. Then, we would troll North or South until we found another one and would be into fish once again. Most fish that came up, well over a dozen in two and a half hours, resulted in hook-ups. All hook-ups resulted in reel screaming runs. What a blast!
It was good to finally get back on the water. Earl and I did a float trip on the Stilly Lower North Fork. I dropped Earl and the boats at the put-in, showed Earl where to start fishing the drift and what technique to use, then I headed downstream to swap rigs. Earl moved upstream 50 feet to make a couple practice casts. Third cast a bright Deer Creek Native sucks his waking caddis from the surface, turns, and heads downstream. Earl couldn't believe it! He's been working all year for another steelhead, and this one came so easy! He landed this fish, snapped a photo, revived and released it, and was back on the water fishing before I even made it to the take-out rig.
Later in the morning Earl was working a deep pool looking for the early sea run cutthroat. I nice fish rises and makes a huge splash right where his fly is. Earl waits for the reel to start screaming....nothing. He made another cast....nothing. Other than a hooking a loosing a couple small SRC and perfect weather, that was it for the day.
Bill's wife was out of town for a couple of days so Bill was ready to get back out on the water. We headed down the road and were on the lake by about 9:30. We took a left out of the channel for the boat launch and stopped near the floating dock. The ski boat lost a skier right next to us and spent way too much time trying to get the next skier on the water. We headed back toward the South end of the lake to get away from the rollers. My plan was to troll up wind, stop the boat, cast upwind and wind drift and strip retrieve the fly and line. When the wind finally picked a direction, we headed North on the East side of the lake. Just as got near the gravel bar, Bill picked up a couple bluegill. We continued trolling North and stopped near the inlet channel. We cast upwind and let the wind slowly blow us to the South. Bill was the first to hook-up with an intermediate line and got a 12 inch rainbow within 10 feet of the boat before it threw the hook. I took the next three fish, which turned out to be perch. All were hooked on a type II sinking line and most were hooked near the boat. All were released. When the wind had blown us near the South end of the lake, we decided to troll around the end of the lake and head for the take-out. Just as we were coming around the bend at the Sough end of the lake, Bill hooked into a screamer which turned out to be a fat little 12 inch rainbow. As we continued toward the launch, we both had a couple more hits, but neither of us had any more hook-ups.
I Met Earl at McDonalds in Frontier Village at 12:40 and headed toward Granite Falls for some high mountain lake fishing. (If you know Earl, then you know he couldn't resist the calls of Mickey Dee's. I let him eat on the way.) We parked near the gated entrance of the Weyhauser access road, hooked our float tubes to our back packs, carefully hopped on our bikes without falling over, and headed up the dirt road. We had heard stories, and all of them proved to be true. It was a bitch of a ride, and we ended up walking our bikes a lot of the way. For me, however, the climb was worth it. By 3:30 I was in the lake and had six hits, all on parachute adams, before Earl made it into the water. For some reason, however, my fly wasn't hooking up. Earl eventually made it into the lake and after a few minutes we were both getting hits while casting to the weed line. After a half hour we both had landed some small cutthroat. Eventually, my fly got soaked, so I switched to a #18 parachute adams. This proved to be a good move as my hook-up rate went way up. We decided to try some water with a different look so we worked our tubes through the weed line at the far end of the lake and headed for a small opening near what appeared to be an earth dam. As we neared the opening, I thought for sure I had made a bad choice as the water wasn't much deeper than my fins. However, my next dozen casts proved me wrong as this spot seemed to hold bigger fish than the main part of the lake. I was casting toward a log and hooked fish on both sides of it. My first nice fish was a very fat 10" brookie. The very next fish was a 12" cutt which took my fly like a shark, dorsal fin out of the water while on the attack, and put up a great fight. After a half doxen fish the action died down and we headed back to the main part of the lake. We continued hooking fish while working our way back to the take-out and casting towards the weeds on the opposite side of the lake. At one point I saw and heard a huge splash from what I am sure was a very nice fish, but it was way beyond casting range. I tried working the area when I got close enough, but didn't see any more big fish rises. By this time the sun had fallen behind the tree line putting the lake in the shadows. The temperature dropped fast so we worked our way of the water, and headed back down the hill to the truck.
Met Bill at 12:30 for some casting lessons. Started off showing him how the hold the rod. Moved on to the rod and reel to get the casting stroke down without having to deal with the line. That worked well. People do some strange things when you throw the fly line into the equation. After he had a couple dozen good casting strokes in a row, I threaded the fly line through the guides. He started out making the same two mistakes that most people seem to make. The first no-no is breaking the wrist at the end of the backcast. This habit was fairly easily reversed ..... by telling him to lock his wrist. The second problem was his tendency to over accelerate the forward cast. To overcome this, you have to recognize you are doing it, then adjust your forward casting stroke on the next cast. Within a half hour, Bill was casting well and shooting a fair amount of line for someone who has never picked up a fly rod.
After the casting lessons, we decided to troll a fly around a nearby local lake, which actually does not require any casting at all. By 2:30 we were on the water trolling an olive damsel on a type II full sinking line. Within minutes, Bill had a hit, after ten minutes, he landed an averaged size bluegill. Ten minutes later, he landed another bluegill. I held the rod for a couple minutes and picked up a small perch. The action died down when we made it to the North half of the lake. We trolled around the perimeter of the lake staying outside the ski boundary. When we came back to the South half of the lake, his reel let out a scream and after a couple minutes, he landed a 12" rainbow. Then, a couple minutes later, he landed another bluegill. I was surprised to see the bluegill as I have never hooked one on a fly. I was also amazed at the bright blue, red, and black colors. What a pretty little fish!
Headed out to one of the local Lakes to chase some recently planted rainbows. I was on the water by 8:00 and started trolling a #12 olive damsel nymph on a type II full sinking line. I came into a school of perch when I got near a floating dock just past the first cove on the Southwest side of the lake. Couldn't even feel the 6 inch perch that managed to hook itself. It just felt like the fly was sticking in some weeds. (There aren't many weeds in shoecraft.) I continued heading North along the West shoreline and had a number of other hits. When the lake narrowed out, I turned East and headed towards a friends dock to fish chironomids and blood worms. I started out with a full sinking line, a 9 foot leader, a piece of BB shot, and a #8 blood worm. I let the fly drop straight under me. After a few minutes, I got a light take, but didn't hook up.
When I decided to head out, it was around 11:00 and the lake had opened up for water skiing. I headed North to stay on the outside of the ski course buoys and followed them around back to the West side of the lake. Shortly after I turned South, I ran into another school of perch. After a couple hits, I tied into a decent size fish which actually took some line. Turned out to be a 12 inch perch. Great color, but tiny mouths. I switched to a baitfish pattern and continued along the West side of the lake to the boat launch. I actually had a couple perch hit my baitfish pattern on the way to the launch.
The shucks were a dead give-away!
Headed to a local lake to work on my summer lake technique. This lake doesn't have selective gear rules, but you can't see it from the road, there isn't a sign for it on the main drive, and it is almost always good for a couple decent size rainbows. I pulled into the launch around 7:45 AM to find just one other car in the parking area, if you can call it that. The skies were overcast, so I was sure an olive damsel would be the killer fly!. I started casting a damsel along the weed beds and lilly pads. No takers, so I switched to a type II sinking line and trolled an olive wooley bugger with an orange/olive tail to another likely spot across the lake. No takers on the wooley or the damsel, so I switched to a weighted baitfish pattern and headed for the middle of the lake. As I was coming back into the shallows on the way to the launch, I noticed a couple very small chironomid shucks, then a couple more, them even more. From my experience, when the fish are keyed in on chironomids, that is all they will take, no matter what you are offering. I tied a size 18 olive chironomid with a black nickel bead head on my sinking line and slowly trolled back toward the deeper water. I set my rod down to look in my box for a slimmer pattern that would match what was on the water. My rod started making some racket so I glance over to see it hit my second rod when I took a turn. I look back in the box and the rod moves again. This time I picked it up and felt the slightest tug. I set the hook, but didn't get much of a response. Finally, when I only had about 20 feet of line left on the water, a 16" bow jumped and started towing my pontoon around. After a few minutes of swimming in circles and splashing around it threw the hook. I switched to my floating line, a 15 ft leader, and 5 ft of tippet. Only problem was the leader was 6X. I could only hope for a soft take. No such luck! I cast my line out, and after a couple minutes on a tight line, I got a hard take, set the hook, got some slack line, and saw a 16" bow jump thirty feet off my boat. I stripped in my line to find that I had been robbed of my #18 chironomid! I tied on my last one, but couldn't find any more takers. I was off the water by 11:00 AM.
A work-out I hadn't planned for.
Dogs woke me at the crack of dawn (Their usual waking time!) so I headed to my favorite Whidbey Island Lake. Made the 2nd ferry and was on the water around 8:00 AM. I was thinking I made a mistake when I pulled into the launch as the wind was blowing pretty good. The weeds were tall so I started with an intermediate line and trolled an olive damsel around the corner. Kicking into the wind can make your legs burn pretty quick! Had one hit in the first couple minutes, then hooked up with a really small bow (8in). After a couple minutes, I stopped to fish chironomids. That didn't work well as the wind kept blowing my pontoon back and forth. Changed to a sinking line and trolled a leach to the far side of the lake. No takers on that either. Finally decided to troll an olive damsel along the weed line on the far side of the lake so I wasn't working against the wind. This paid off and I hooked a really fat 16 inch bow. Released it and threw my line back out. Within minutes I hooked-up again, but my line broke on the take. I tied on another damsel and turned around. After ten minutes I had another hook-up and another break-off. Turned around one more time but didn't have any more takers. Decided to wind drift a bronze chironomid back to the launch as it was almost time to leave. Had one take half way across the lake, but it didn't stick.
Headed out to Pass Lake in the afternoon to try casting baitfish patterns to hungry browns. Trouble was, I couldn't find any hungry browns. Did get a couple hits on an olive damsel nymph, but couldn't get them to stick. While fishing a damsel pattern I did see what I thought must have been a big brown crashing some baitfish on the surface. It moved so much water, I was expecting a duck to come up, but no duck. By the time I changed flies and got close enough to cast, no more brown. Did get a huge chironomid hatch. By the end of the evening there were about 50 light olive chironomids clinging to my net.
You win some .... you loose some.
Made it over to one of the fly only lakes on Bainbridge Island. Not a bad drive from the Seattle area, but I was coming up from a horse show in Yelm and made the mistake of taking Hwy 101 around Hood Canal. Nice drive, lots of beach front houses, not the quickest way to get there! My suggestion...if you are coming from Seattle, take the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Finally made it to the lake a little after 8:00 AM and was on the water around 8:30. Saw a few fish rising, but no one was hooking anything. We started with damsel nymphs, then chironomids, then dragon fly nymphs, nothing. Started working the shoreline at the far end of the lake from the launch. Saw some fish coming up along the edges, lilly pads, between downed trees. There was a small callibaetis spinner fall. Didn't have any spinners, but was able to get a take on a soaked #14 adams, but the hook didn't stick. I finally hooked a fish trolling a leach while heading back to the take-out for lunch. Didn't put a lot of effort into landing it and lost in near the boat. Never got a look at it, but don't think it was very big.
Didn't have a lot of time to fish after lunch. Trolled a leach back to the far side and worked the edges for a few minutes with some chironomid emergers, but couldn't find any more takers. Should be a great lake in the early spring and fall.
What a blast!
Headed over to one of the fly only lakes in Eastern Washington. Did well the first night trolling damsel nymphs and leaches in the shallows on a floating line. Next day was overcast and everything worked! Damsel nymphs and scuds in the morning, mayflies, chironomids, blood worms in the afternoon, leaches in the evening, you name it! Funniest/most frustrating event; The fish stopped taking mayfly emergers and move on to adults. I only had one good #14 adams in my box that would land upright on every cast. I picked up a fish right away and, after unhooking the fish I cast my fly out into the deeper water. After releasing the fish, I started stripping my line in real quick to make a cast to a nearby rise. My fly formed a wake, and in an instant, a big fish nails the fly, turns, and breaks the tippet before I can let go of the line....No more good #14 adams!
Friday was bright and sunny and nothing worked well. Chironomids worked OK, there was a small hatch that produced a few fish, but once again, the evening leaching was pretty good....that is...if you like kicking around in the middle of a lake in the dark.
Saturday was even tougher. Bright and sunny when you didn't want it to be (all morning), and cloudy when you didn't want it to be (during the hatch), and blowing hard all day long! Once again, chironomids in the morning, mayflies and chironomids in the afternoon, and leaches in the evening. The only constant seemed to be the chironomids during the day and the leaches in the evening. Could always bet on the leaches to pick up a half dozen fish.