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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