I must have been crazy this morning upon getting up to want to sit in the snow and watch my bobber but I needed to get out and fish. Besides, I’d purchased a new Hummingbird
110 portable fish finder and had to field ‘test’ it out before going elsewhere so what better place to do it than a local lake. I called up my friend Tom H. who is a P.E. teacher on part time, Tom loves to fish and whenever he’s having a stressful week with work he likes to pack up his car and head out to do what he loves, fly fish! In my conversation with Tom, I mentioned that I wanted to stay local because I had a commitment this evening and needed to be back home before 5 pm. I suggested that we either fish Beaver Lake
, located in Sammamish or Alice Lake
, located in Fall City. I knew it was a bit early for them, since they are both stocked by the WDFW
each spring. Usually there is an onslaught of fisherman once the WDFW
trucks in thousands of fish, its a melee of floating devices, and people on the banks chucking worms and power bait. The day started off miserable, when Tom arrived, it was raining at my house which then turned to snow as we headed up I-90 towards the Preston cut off. The snow was relentless, pounding us as up the road from Fall City to Lake Alice. When we arrived at the parking lot, we weren’t surprised that our car tracks were the only ones in the lot. We were the only crazies to get out on a day like this to fish for hours in cold water. For a brief moment, I wanted to turn around and go back home, but I thought, we made it this far, why not get a line wet and give it a whirl. Tom agreed saying “You’re the driver, so whatever you wanna do”. As we got outfitted and into the water, Tom was in his float tube, I was in my pram, Tom got a hit almost within 5 minutes. “NICE” I yelled over to Tom and rowed over to film him and fire off a few photo shots of him and his fish. A spawning colored 14″ holdover Rainbow that was FAT! I was wondering how this fish got so fat and then I closely examined the water surface. The time was about 10 am and there were adult Chironomids all over the surface of the water! Even in almost blizzard conditions, there was a slow and steady hatch of these larvae. Water temp was 46 degrees according to the new Hummingbird and Tom had picked that fish up in 20′ of water. I thought to myself that this might not be a bad day after all. After he released the fish, we proceeded to the deepest part of the lake to try our luck at chironomid fishing, after all, there was a great hatch coming off. After a couple hours with nothing to hand and nothing that bit, I noticed that along the edges at 10-12′ of water, there were many dimples of fish that were feeding actively on emergers. Even though there were plenty of adults on the surface, these trout weren’t interested in anything deep or on top, they had an easy pick of those wiggle larvae in the film that were ready to hatch and dry their wings and hopefully fly away before they were eaten. So, I switched tactics to try and get into my first fish. Nothing, zilch, nada, no luck. I fished just like Brian Chan
showed me on those DVD’s I purchased, but I think those fish were so keyed in on the wiggles, that this trip was going to be a bust for me. I went from fishing intermediate lines, sinking lines, floating lines, stripping, dead still, twitching, with no success. Tom on the other hand did ok. After his shore break from being too cold and leaving his chironomid rod in the truck, he dipped back into the water and as I rowed over to him and asked how it was going, he said he’d just missed a hit, but his fingers and hands were too cold to set the hook in time and he’d missed that fish. Just as he said that, WHAM! Fish on. He landed a nice 16″ Bow, another nice holdover, that was fat and very healthy. This lake gets alot of nice Chironomid hatches and no wonder why the fish end up surviving very well. I prefer Alice over Beaver because at least with Alice there is a little view of the mountains when looking to the south. They are both surrounded by houses along the shoreline, but at least I felt like it was a little slice of Pass lake
, without having to drive an hour and half to get to. In a quick pinch, I’d like to visit it again and really try to key in on how to catch those fish on emergers! Oh well… It was good to get out and test out the new fish finder, now if they made a product called the fish catcher, I’d be all over that.
This morning I checked my email and Tom had put together his report of the day, I have included it for another perspective and to make sure that our stories collaborate and it wasn’t just a fisherman’s tale!
“Alice Lake Report: 03-05-2009
I missed the March 1st Opener for Columbia Basin lakes and haven’t been fishing in a couple of weeks, so after a tough week of working 12 to 14 hours per day plus coaching track. Don’t feel too sorry for me because that was just Monday and Wednesday.
Some friends of mine were heading to eastern Washington but I didn’t want to drive across the Pass in the snow. The thought of it brought flashbacks from March 1st, 2008 where three of us encountered a blizzard on our way back from one of my favorite eastern Washington lake.
My fishing buddy, Paul, called and wanted to do fishing in a local lake to avoid the snow. He recommended Alice Lake and I jumped at the chance to do some fishing. Alice Lake is pretty little lake located near Preston, a small town just off I-90 just a few miles from Issaquah.
Avoiding the snow was impossible because from Issaquah snow began falling heavily. By the time we got to Preston there was about 3-4 inches on the highway. As we made our way up to Alice Lake, we were contemplating bagging this fishing expedition. When we got to the lake snow was still raining big heavy flakes on us so I had to put my waders on under a tree to avoid becoming a human snowman. With all the snow Alice Lake looked like a Christmas card.
Paul had his new fishing pram and I had my trusty float tube. Paul was already fishing as I paddled out to the middle of the lake. I started trolling an olive leech with no success. I had to ask Paul what the depth was to set my leader length because I forgot to bring my “Fishin’ Buddy.” I set my strike indicator for a 20+ foot length with a “Chromie” and a jig leech dropper. Not more than 5 minutes of fishing this rig I had my first take down. After a short but spirited battle I landed a healthy fat rainbow about 14 inches long. Both Paul and I thought “Wow, this is going to be a good day of fishing!”
There was an incredible chironomid hatch going on amid the heavy snow. This was amazing considering the cold, wintry weather and a water temp of 46 degrees. We both started fishing chironomids with no success. Paul notice fish rising and slurping up emergers near shore. We threw every thing we had at them but no bites.
After a few hours I had to exit the water to bring feeling back in my hands and feet. As I kicked toward the launch I had an aggressive strike but my hands were so cold I couldn’t strip in the line so I lost the fish. After about 20 minutes of walking around on snow covered ground, feeling started to come back to my hands and feet so I headed out again. The clearing sky and a warm sun aided in warming my frozen extremities.
I made my way to where Paul was fishing. Right on queue as I was telling him about the fish I lost, I had another aggressive strike. This time I landed a feisty, jumping 16 inch rainbow. I was trolling a self-tied Denny Rickert’s Stillwater Nymph.
Around 3:00 we decide to call it quits. We paddled our frozen bodies back to the truck. Paul cranked the heat up to maximum as we drove back to Bellevue. Although the catching was poor, the fishing was, as always, great with a good friend, a warm meal afterwards (Thanks, Paul) and videos of a warmer fishing experience, Paul fishing adventure in Cabo. ”
– Tom H.