Monthly Archives: March 2010

Lenasty: 3/26/10

I wanted to to get out and fish a couple of ‘new’ lakes to me, but I only had one day to get out and fish and didn’t want to drive 3 hours each way to do it, so I opted to try Lenice again after a few weeks since the opener.  The summary of today was lots of wind, and few trout to show for it.

I ended wrangling Jeff H. to join me today, but Jeff’s boat won’t make it into the Lenice, so I brought another 10′ pram for him to use.  I only have 1 dolly, so you can imagine what that looked like.  We ended up putting the aluminum boat on the dolly, filling it with all our gear, anchors, lunches, and then putting the Spring Creek pram on top.  It worked pretty well, and with some effort, we got to the lake. 

We left Bellevue at 6:30 under cloudy skies.  While going up the pass, the temp read 33 degrees and the roads were wet, but no snow or slush.  We packed up the truck with two prams, two anchor systems, nets, coolers and the whole shebang.  I am amazed at the utility and good use that my truck provides.  Its been a reliable rig and the guys at the auto parts store were raving about the 22RE motor and how it takes so much abuse, but keeps ticking. 

When we arrived at the parking lot, it seemed like a sparse comparison from opening week.  There were only 4 campers in RV’s, nobody on the sand dunes and maybe two other rigs.  Jeff and I proceeded to unload and get the dolly set up for the trek to the waters edge.  Everything was looking great, weather…nice, temperature…nice, wind…low but bearable.  We got in and started the row to my favorite place, the islands.  As we made our way across, the wind started kicking up from the west and it was enough to cause the tracking of the boat to drift towards the far east edge.  I did mark fish in the 13 feet water, and around the launch but was not seeing much activity around the islands.  After we settled in, the wind continued to howl and the waves were getting bigger and whitecaps could be seen all over the lake.  I thought it was better to snug up against the island in the calm and set up my Chironomid rig and continue to fish. Bah humbug, I wasn’t going to be deterred by the wind… I was here to fish. 

One by one Jeff and I glanced at the various pontooners, and float tubers getting blown off the water and we chuckled.  We were the only ones on the lake!  WOW, Lenice on a sunny Friday afternoon with no other fisherman???  It was a poor fishing day, but there was a serious hatch going on, and the swallows were buzzing around like bees with all the Chironomids that were coming off.  I thought it’d still be good fishing, but alas, it was farther from it.  I picked up the first fish, a very nice 23″ chunky and silvery strong Rainbow that took my 16 red ribbed chromer.  in 9′ of water.  It was definitely a suicide grab, because I wasn’t paying attention and the wind was giving the set up a nice bob in the water column.

I pumped the fish, and nothing?!?!  WHich was hard to believe.  At this point, I decided to stretch my legs out and anchor the boat up while I got onto one of the islands and Chironomid fished from the side of the rocks.  Cast after cast, nothing… I then set up my full intermediate line, threw on a black leech and wham, strike! Missed that fish, but threw it out and with a few more casts had a nice trout on.  Tiger! Woo Hoo!  It was bigger than the one I’d caught opening week, around 17″, but strong and beautiful. 

Meanwhile, Jeff was anchored up and trying to pick up his first fish.  I was going to feel very bad for getting him out there and going home with a big zero.  But then I saw him with a bent rod and a fish one.  He played it, and then it popped off.  Darn!!!  He threw it back and after what seemed like 10 or 15 minutes was into his next fish, a nice chunky Rainbow.  He pumped the fish and found some big bloodworms, and 16 Chironomomids.  My activity went dead after that, and Jeff was able to pick up one more fish, also a Rainbow.  We then decided that the wind wasn’t going to get any better, so opted to make the trek back to the launch.  I like to keep close to the shoreline ‘upstream’ of the target launch and then row with the wind and diagonally so that not alot of energy is wasted and you can use the side of the boat as a bit of a sail. 

It was better than I thought, and it took a few minutes but we made it back safe but not so dry.  Jeff had taken a few licks in my 10′ boat when he was paddling upwind and must have taken in about 5 gallons of water by the time we portaged the soggy pram.  I’ll have to work on a better seat on that boat, since his 300 lb. body weight had completely bent the frame on my sand chair that I adapted for the pram.

Oh well…. at least we didn’t go home skunked or dead.  I did however make a mistake that morning and should have known it was going to be one of those days.  As I launched my boat, I thought it was ok sitting in the rather long channel in 3 inches of water.  While I was tending to putting the dolly and other items away, as Jeff was catching his breath from the hike in, he said to me: “ugh…you boat…”  just then I caught wind of my pram driting out in the the lake by the wind almost cresting the corner of the cattails.  It didn’t take much to start adding up the costs.  Rods, reels, camera, pram, all gone, but I reacted by jumping in the water and grabbing the corner of the pram to bring it back to safety.  In hindsight, guess I could’ve grabbed Jeff’s oar and reached out to snag it, or worse case, get in the other boat and row out for a recovery, but that was my first response, and it got my a bit wet.  Soggy shoes, socks and water logged pants below the knees.  Well, at least it wasn’t in the seat of my pants, and it wasn’t too cold out.  It eventually somewhat dried out, but in the back of my mind was thinking that I hope its not a sign of the day to come. 

All in all, a decent trip, some beautiful scenery, lake to ourselves, good music, and conversation.  As the saying goes… a bad day fishing is far better then a great day in the office.  Im not sure if I agree with that sometimes, but it was good to get out.  Im working this weekend and won’t be able to get out until next week, but I got notice that my new prams are ready for pick up, so that will be a good reason to hit Pass lake one more time perhaps. 

Chuck G. and Jim T. report good fishing up there and Jeff ended up going today as well.  I am getting a bit burnt out with Pass, but perhaps I’ll go since I’ll be up in Samish island anyhow…. or save it for the April opener at Dry Falls.  Hopefully it won’t be as nasty as it was on Lenice… or rather Lenasty.

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I should’ve passed on fishing Pass Lake: 3/20/2010

My cousin Andrew was in town this week for work and I convinced to stay another day so that we could spend some time together.  I decided to take him fishing and give a whirl at Chironomid fishing since he’d never done it before.  It’d been over 12 years since Andrew picked up a fly rod, so I didn’t know if he’d remember how to cast, but after a few practice casts, he was back on it like we used to do back in the day.  Previously Chuck G. had done very well with over 30+ fish all caught off the point on a small size 18-20 bug. 

Today, it wasn’t our day.  We packed up two boats, the 10′ aluminum Sears, and the 8′ Springcreek Pram.  There is so much gear to consider when you take another boat, net, rope, anchor, lunches, life jackets, all in duplicate, but it was good for Drew to get out of his routine and get some fresh air and fish together. 

We fished all over the lake, the point, the rock wall, the east side, the canyon, the second bay, the first bay… with very little success.  I picked up one fish, a healthy brown trout that took my black and chrome bug in 14′ of water.  It was a tough day, but Drew was thankful for the opportunity to get out and fish… hopefully the next time he’ll catch.

Water temp was 50-51 degrees, and there was a good hatch consistantly during the day.  Jeff H. arrived at the lake at 8 am and met up with Jim Tetrick.  He’d picked up 6 fish by the time Drew and I arrived around 10.  We stopped off for breakfast and leisurely made our way to Pass, since things don’t generally heat up there until 11 am.

I guess we should’ve been there early as it would’ve been the best chance at a fish.  Drew did have a hit, but didn’t set in time and lost the fish.  We finally pulled out of the lake at 4 pm. Jeff ended up with 5 more fish in the bay closest to the road, but it was pretty non-eventful for Pass. 

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Quincy Lake: 3/13/2010

The original plan for the weekend was supposed to be an overnight trip out to Soap Lake and then fish Lenore for a couple of days, but my plans were thwarted with work obligations this weekend, so Jeff and I opted to head out to fish Quincy Lake.  I’d never fished it before, so I was up to the adventure to explore this ‘new’ lake.  I left my house in Bellevue at 6:30 to rendevous with Jeff somewhere on 90.  The pass temp was 32 degrees and it was wet and slushy in spots, but manageable.  Lake Kachelus looks like the ice has reformed onto at least half of the lake with the cold spell that we had the past week.  Jeff and I stopped for a washroom and breakfast snack in Ellensburg and looked at the map again to make sure our heading was ok.  I wanted to give Lenice another try, but since Jeff can’t get his Koffler past the gate, it was off to Quincy.

The drive took a couple hours and we arrived at the lake to find a few guys on the water, one other fly guy in a pontoon boat, and a few others in aluminum boats trolling away.  I rowed over to the bay where Thao mentioned was worth fishing, but I was getting very small fish on the graph and no visuals on the fish.  The water clarity was excellent and I could see the bottom down to 15 or so feet.  Rex T. is right about how nice the shoals and the marl is on Quincy.  It is a pretty lake with the exception of the power lines and the RV’ers.

Around noon, the guys in their RV’s started cranking up the heavy metal, it could be heard all over the lake.  Not exactly sure why that is supposed to be relaxing when its disturbing everyone that is trying to enjoy the lake.  There were also big boats that were trolling around, really much too big for this lake, in my opinion, but I guess we chose to fish this non-selective lake, so the enjoyment factor wasn’t as nice as say Dry Falls. 

Quincy is a beautiful setting and I would rate it fourth in terms of the scenery.  I like Dry Falls, Dusty, Lenice, and Quincy.  Jeff liked the far east side, which he mentioned in the morning but I didn’t join him until around 11 as I was trying to fish a couple other suspect areas that looked fishy and I was marking fish on the Fishin’ Buddy.  I thought I had a couple of rubs up against the marl when my indicator popped, but now I know it was likely the very small WDFW stockers of 5-6″ that were planted in the lake recently.

Once I rounded a point near to where Jeff was in 13′ of water, I began to hear more blips from the sonar.  I anchored down and set up my Chironomid rig, made a cast, and slam.  Fish on.  The little 6″ rainbow took the Chromie on the drop and the fly never had a chance to make it full to the bottom.  I quickly released him and threw another cast to find another hungry trout, again 6″.   There were Chironomids hatching around me and swirls of fish taking emergers at the surface.  I had a few other take downs, but I missed those fish.  Somehow, you have to be very quick on the set with these little guys, as they don’t hold it in their mouths as long as the fish in Pass or Lenice. 

I even scaled down to 6X, to lessen the load on the fly but it didn’t seem to help much.  I must have had 40+ take downs, but out of that, only landed 14 fish.   I think due to their size and the small flies we were using made it tougher to keep them buttoned.  I did mark some bigger holdover fish, but all the fish were between 5-maybe 7″ in length.  Thao had read a recent Seattle Times article about opening day and the author Mark Yuasa said that folks were catching them from 18-22″ at Quincy, and at Burke 16-18″.  I don’t know if that was real or what, but definitely didn’t hear of any big fish coming out that day. 

When I rowed over to Jeff, he told me to go around the other way of the small island near the rock wall.  I could see fish swirling all over and he was throwing his indicator rig with a Chironomid about 2 feet under.  He was too getting short strikes and missed alot of fish.  The rock walls are a very pretty place and reminder me of a small Dry Falls.  The depth was around 17′ and the water temp was measuring 48-49 degrees.  I proceeded to anchor well enough away from Jeff and made my cast, within a few minutes I had a fish on… again a beautiful 6″ trophy.  It was a far cry from the 18-22″ fish that I was catching about a week and half ago at Lenice, but we couldn’t complain as we had that area to ourselves and it was a windless, warm and sunny day. 

I don’t regret missing out on Lenore, but a small part of me wonders about those big Lahontan Cutthroats.  I guess we’ll have to save it for another day, when we can fish for a couple of days.  It would’ve been the equivalent of driving to Portland, shopping, visiting friends, having lunch and then driving back at night.  I know Rex has done it many times, but perhaps next time…   It was interesting to note that we saw water boatman at the launch, wow, I guess the boatman hatch might be very fun to catch as I hear the trout take them with some ferocity.  Jeff took a throat sample from one of the larger trout of the day and we found alot of damsel fly nymphs in a light olive color, some size 16 and down to 18 black and grey Chironomids and the classic 16 Chromers.  I had the  opportunity to get a closer look at the Chromer, and I must say that my imitation is pretty dead on correct for the size, color and appearance.  I was surprised to note just how many damsels there were in the sample.  I guess I should tie up some more of those imitations along with the water boatman to have in my fly box.  I’ll mark Quincy off my check off to fish lakes, and likely that I won’t fish it again, due to the RV’ers and the gear/bait fisherman.  It was a nice trip and we ended up catching a few fish as a result.

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Lenice Report: 3/6/2010

From Shawn Seager on Wff.com

Good:
First, this was the most amazing weather in March any of us could remember in those 15 years. Wed-early Sunday morning there was NO wind during the day! We had wind on Wed. night, but none during the day.

Next, the fishing was good, there were bugs coming off between microscopic to size 14, and this happened pretty much all day. As others have said it would be in spurts on for an hour and off for an hour. The fish were really good shape, they were solid. They were very aggressive on the fight! It was fun hooking into them and then holding on.

Good:
Second, I visited with several WFF members and this was good. I visited with my neighbor in the parking lot, that was one of those lucky guys that is retired and living life! He was living the plan that my buddies and I are working for and plan to do. The lucky part is that they can fish Monday-Friday and then stay off the water when the tons of people show up (probably the most crowded Saturday I have fished the lake). They either go home or just stick around camp. According to my countdown app, it is 2683 days until I am one of those lucky guys…!

Not So Good:
The warm weather has brought out some of those buzzy worms! In the rock pile in our camp! Rattler!

Not So Good:
Lastly, I know that we all have different styles of fishing, favorite types of fishing (troll, anchor, combination), we all have different skill levels, and we all have different likes and dislikes. BUT, I want to point out a couple of things:

• Remember that when you are on the water your voices carry a long way, so when you are talking about your feelings, girlfriend/boyfriend or partners others can hear a long way off and probably don’t care.
• Remember that if you have radio’s that generally they have an on/off function to the stupid call received or complete BEEP. Also, unless you were a radio operator or dispatcher you don’t need to say “Over” the end of every transmission. And if you hear others close by that start doing it, it is because they are making fun of you.
• Remember that when someone starts catching fish, pretty consistent, that this doesn’t mean you should troll in and drop anchor within their casting area. Or that this isn’t the place that you start trolling back and forth right next to, across their line, where their indicator is sitting or BEHIND.
• Remember that there is entire lake full of fish and fish move.
• Remember that fly casting represent “Newton’s third law: law of reciprocal actions.” “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction,..” This means that when someone is casting 70 feet to a point in front of them that the line is also going 70 behind them! (if standard casting) So, if a person is anchored and Chironomid fishing, the fly line will be going forward and backward equal distances! So, if you decide to troll over to visit with your partner, because you want to be “Sussie Social” (even though you already heard it on the radio) that you shouldn’t and don’t have some entitlement or constitutional right to troll within the casting zone of another fisherman and expect not to get hit or that they should wait until you are out of the area!
• And lastly, remember (and I am sorry to say) that if your partner acts like a jerk and trolls over, around, or through someone’s casting or fishing area, that most likely you will be treated bad, because you are not stopping their bad behavior or haven’t educated them on their bad behavior. Sorry. But if your partner has no respect of others then most likely others, not just me, will have no respect for you.

So, if you are out on the water and see this individual/woman be warned that she doesn’t seem to care if she is intruding, interrupting, or invading your fishing area.

(And at least I witnessed her bothering/harassing other fishermen other than just our group.)

I hope you all have a chance to get out on the water somewhere, and catch some great spring fishing!

Tight Lines and Cheers
Shawn

Chuck G. reported 11 fish caught on Friday, and 9 on Saturday.  He said the bite must have really slowed and from the guys that he talked to on the lake, the day I fished was THE day that the fish were really on the bite.  I guess I was lucky!  Jim Tetrick also reported slower fishing but did ok on Sunday, with 10 or 11 fish, from his phone report.  Im sure it will be a crowded zoo over there this weekend and likely not worth the effort, but the weather on the westside is supposed to be crummy.  I may end up packing up and giving it a whirl anyhow.

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Basin Lake Report: 3/3/2010

I could hardly keep the anticipation at bay and needed to get some good ole’ fashion Vitamin D, the natural way. Nothing beats a day on the water in Eastern Washington, great day, great temps, and great fishing! I was hoping to leave my home in Bellevue at 7 am, but having a newborn puts another spin on the preparation process. Not only have to make sure my dog gets walked and relieves herself, but also packing lunch and gathering the plethora of gear that is needed for a full day on the water.

I finally pushed off at 7:40 and hightailed it as quick as I could to the Lenice parking lot. I didn’t stop for any restroom breaks and had already gassed up the truck the day before and loaded the pram and most of my essentials. After forgeting my Fishin’ Buddy on my previous trip to Pass lake, I was sure to have it in the truck for this trip. The drive was good, Snoqualmie pass temp was 37 degrees, going up as well as coming back. Drive roads and melting snow pack all lead to good signs for an early Spring. Most of the ice is off Lake Kachelus apart from the 1/3 or so closest to the damn, where it doesn’t get too much sunlight.

I made good time, arriving at the Lenice parking lot at 9:30 and began setting up the pram and dolly for the hike to the waters edge. I love having a pram, if you don’t know that already. Its so quick and easy to set up, load up the gear, tie down the strap to the dolly and off I go! I recently had the opportunity to buy an Outcast for a good deal, but glad I didn’t, just can’t see myself fishing out of the pontoon boat.

I was comfortable, dry, warm, and able to relieve my hunger and my bladder all while keeping my hot spot on the lake. Once I arrived, I met up with Gil C. who was camping out and had fished Nunnally the day before. He report very poor fishing on Nunnally and only had two fish to hand. He thinks that they didn’t winter over very well, but I think that the poachers got the bulk of those fish and they went bye bye. I didn’t know what to expect of the day since I’d also heard of cold water temps and very little Chironomid hatches on Dusty Lake from Rex T. I thought that it would be a good idea to also bring along a spare rod with full clear intermediate and plenty of micro leeches, carey specials, water boatmen (prob. too early for these guys), and other big patterns to entice the trout, dragon fly and damsel fly nymphs.

Gil was anchored up near the islands, a favorite spot, and I’d asked how he was fishing, and he said he’d landed 6 already and it was good. I anchored and strung up my Chironomid rod. We were sitting in 9 feet of water and the temp read a nice 52 degrees, just perfect for Chironomidae hatches. And that they did, I say adults hatching, emergers swirling and trout slashing on the surface for these size 16 grey/black bodies.

I put on my standard fare: black snowcone and chromie dropper, and voila, I was into fish. I pumped the first fish and found not much food, other than two Chironomids that were alive and hatched out in the white lid. Lucky guys! Things slowed down a bit and I’d noticed a gent nearby that was having great success on the strip, so I put on my olive woolly bugger and threw it out, after a few strips in the direction that I saw swirls, smash! Fish on! This gave me flashbacks to the days at Beda last season, when it’d be planted last November and these triploids were chasing everything down. I ended up picking up 8 fish on this method, the best was three in a row. That action died down, and then I decided I would go back to Chironomid fishing, as I like that method better for the stillwater. Something about the anticipation of the indicator going down just makes my blood pump.

The best fishing occurred from 11-1:30 and then it went dead around 2 pm. I’d changed positions a couple of times, rowing from the north shore to the south and then back to the north where the gent I saw that morning had left his spot. I decided to look at the structure to find out what was so special about it. It was also 9 feet of water, but there was mesa or hump that led to slight warmer water temp and I could clearly see trout cruising around below. This was a good time to dial in the Fishin’ buddy to see how accurate it was and corresponding to the fish below. Although I don’t use the sonar to fish from, its a great tool to analyze temp and depth.

I through on other patterns to test out, but it didn’t seem to matter much, as the fish were all hungry and seemed agreeable to most of the patterns, except for one. The size 16 Chromie with red rib and light antron tuft on a smoke color bead head. That fly attributed most of my counts today, and was also responsible for the Tiger trout that proved to be a worthy quarry.

He was only around 16″ but was the hardest fighting fish out of all the Rainbows, leaping several times and giving me a wet face slap as he exited the net. Most fish measured were between 18″-21″, VERY good, and a vast improvement on size versus the scrappy Pass lake fish we’d been practicing with prior to this trip.

I could tell that the WDFW must have recently planted these Rainbows, as their fins and tails weren’t in the best of shape. However, there were some fine holdover fish that definitely fought better than the frest planters and all seemed as hungry as their ripped up tailed brothers. I did another throat sample at 4pm, and saw more biomass and noted most 16 black/grey, Chromers, size 20 bloodworms in red and green, and one size 18 bloodworm. Small was the key, as I fish confidently with one fly as it kept catching fish. The final tally was 32 fish to hand, all Rainbows with the exception of the Tiger trout. A great day on the water, I can’t wait to make it back soon!

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