Monthly Archives: April 2010

Alice in Wonderland: 4/22/2010

I’d been keeping busy with Real Estate but always have the itch to get out.  After last weeks episode and run in with the law, I decided to take my chances and try it again… just kiddin.  Actually, I wanted to get back out to Lake Alice near Fall City for a chance at the 3.30 per pound hatchery brats that the WDFW planted last week.  There was supposedly 4000 of these little tikes that got pumped in to the little 30 acre lake.  Even though Alice is surrounded by homes to the north, there is a nice treed area to the south and views of Tiger mountain.  Its a serene setting with birds chirping and the buzz of swallows snapping up Chironomids.

There was a good hatch going on when I got to the lake, around 2:30.  I decided to rig up my Cortland clear camo line and troll with an olive woolley bugger, it wasn’t long until I was into my first fish, a scrappy little rainbow.  After a few more hits, I decided to give the Chironomid set up a try. Water temp was 57 degrees, and I wasn’t marking many fish, but did see a few holiding in 27-29 feet of water.  There were many risers on the south shoal, a 2-3′ shallow area of mud and lots of Chironomids.  You could tell that they were planters at how non-afraid they were and felt relatively safe in the shallow area.  Evidently, the hawk that swooped down to a feeding fish knew this as well.  It was pretty neat to see the bird of prey plunge into the water and emerge with a trout in its talons.

Im sure its feeding its young with a nice meal of trout sashimi.  I did catch a few fish on the long line and on the dry fly as well.  but the hatch was very small, Griffith’s Gnat in size 20 was the pattern to have.  I pumped a decent sized fish and found numerous brown and black Chironomids and to my surprise a scud!  They are keyed in on the small midge hatch and it was tough to get them to hit on Chironomids.  When I switched to the black woolley bugger, it seems like lights out.  The trout would rip that bugger to pieces,and fight pretty well considering their scrappy size.

All in all a great afternoon for a few hours to be on the water catching some fish.  HOpefully next week, I’ll be able to make a trip out east to fish for some bigger fish.

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Breakin’ Da Law: 4/16/2010

Today was a beautiful day and I’d recently saw that they’d planted a healthy dose of trout averaging 2.10 per pound into a nearby lake.  I got on the phone to Jeff H. and said to meet me there as it’d probably be a slug fest.  When I arrived on the lake, I found glassy water, warm and sunny weather and lots of fish feeding, jumping and rising throughout the lake.  I thought to myself, wow, its gonna be a gooood day, and there isn’t a single fisherman to be found on the water, first bad sign.

I proceeded to unload my pram and prepare my gear.  I always bring two rods with me and like to have various lines in floating, intermediate and full sink for fishing lakes.  I thought why bother with a Chironomid set up when I’ll likely be able to hook fish with the strip, so proceeded to put on a black wooley on my full Cortland Clear camo slime line.  Within the row out with the line in the water, I had my first fish on, a nice hatchery Rainbow fo 10″.

This proceeded to go on until Jeff arrived.  I picked up 17 fish before he rolled through and then I rowed to the shore to help him unload his boat as there are a couple of barriers that prevent trailers from entering into the water.  I showed him the drill and it didn’t take long before we were both into fish with several double headers.  There were fish rishing everywhere and we couldn’t keep them off our lines.  They were taking it on the drop, the strip, the pause, and the troll. 

I commented to Jeff that it was like taking candy from a baby, but little did we know that our candy was about to be taken.  After a couple of hours we rowed over to the north end and a lady comes out to her lawn and yells out, “the lake is closed until next Saturday! There is a fish and game warden that patrols this lake…”  Just then I rush came over me and I thought to myself, is the lake even open?!??  Even though I’d been fishing Beaver Lake, just 5 minutes away and almost the same altitude, Pine Lake is classified as a ‘lowland’ lake and opens along with many other lakes NEXT week.  As Jeff and I proceeded to look at each other like deer in the headlights, the bull horn came out “Row your boats to the launch NOW”.  I thought, DAMN!  How could I have overlooked the regs.    I’d taken the time to buy the license, to check the stocking reports and to find myself with the whole lake to myself and then this!!

The Sammamish police officer gave us the run as we presented our fishing licenses and told him how sorry we were for breaking the law.  That was a stupid mistake of not checking the regs, but its too bad that some neighbor couldn’t just tell us that it was closed instead of calling it out to the police or WDFW.

Oh well… we’ll see what transpires with the ticket or violation, as its up to fish and game to determine any penalties.  It looked even more precarious, since I’d bonked 4 fish and put them in the cooler, added more fuel to the fire that we were in.  We packed up, and left around 2pm, both shaking our heads and wondering why…  I’ll still get out next week once its open, as the thought of 10,000 fish in the little lake has me thinking of how good it might be with Chironomids, once these fish get hooked a few times and or get smarter.

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Passed Gas: 4/10/2010

Today’s outing is going to be a pictoral essay as I pretty much got skunked.  I had two hits, but no fish to hand, it was extrememly slow, but Jeff managed to pick up a few fish.  I didn’t arrive on the water until 2 pm… yes, late start, but fished until dusk.  Jeff’s last fish of the day was a dandy, a nice 18″ Brown trout.  Clear, nice and great hatches, but little to nil on the fish activity.  I talked to Jim T. on the way up and he’d fished it with Chuck the day before with poor results.  Jim got 3, Chuck got 1.  This was my last trip to Pass Lake for the year, and now I’ll focus on the Eastside lakes and plan out my trip to Chopaka and BC.  52 degree water temp, partly sunny but a slight chill to the air.

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Angle Lake Report: 4/9/2010

Angle Lake, King County, 102 acres: This lake is located off Hwy 99 just 12 miles from downtown Seattle, at south 194th Street. The lake holds rainbows, kokanee and spiny rays (perch, bass, and catfish). There is a county park with boat launching available.  The report from the WDFW indicated that Angle was recently stocked with 400+ 1.5 trophy triploid trout on Monday the 5th.   I’ve wondered about the in city lake close to Sea Tac airport and speaking with Gil C. the other day, he confirmed seeing some guys on the bank with some big trout on a stringer.  I thought it might be a nice change to fish more close to home than spending time and gas driving over the pass for a chance at nabbing some 8″ trout, see my Quincy Lake report.  Yes, of course this lake isn’t fly fishing only and they allow bait and standard gear.  Nonetheless, I wanted to give it a try to see if I could employ some deep water Chironomid techniques and see if it would work even for an in-city fishery.

The weather was cold, but water temp showed 50 degrees, and the swallows were swarming around like mad picking off Chironomids from just above the lake surface.  We thought our prospects were good, but the dry landing net showed the conclusion of the fishing for Angle.  We did venture to the north or angled side in hopes that we’d see rishing or presence of water water or fish on the locale, but it wasn’t productive.  I decided that I can cross Angle off my list of in city lakes to explore and focus on the selective fish lakes that are on the Eastside of the pass.

I can see why Rex T. likes to get away and seek refuge of solitude and peacefulness and selective fishing.  There are the locals that Im sure visit these lakes, and while its nice to be close, its not nice when you have every Tom, Dick and Harry throwing lines all over the place, even at the boat launch?!?!?  One guy was sitting in his car in the handicap space, with a bell on his rod and blocking the launch with his line, the guy had NO clue…

I guess thats what we asked for, and decided to leave around 12:30 since we spent that morning circling the lake, marking fish,but very deep in 35-49 feet of water.  Shawn did pick up a hit, but failed to set in time, and that was the only touchdown of the day.  I didn’t want to have a blow out, so we headed back to the truck, loaded up and drove to Beaver Lake, where I knew we could get into a fish or two.

Once to loaded the 10′ Smith pram and headed out to the bay that I’d been lucky the day before, we dropped anchor in 12′ of water.  Within a few minutes Shawn was onto his first fish, a prized 8″ Rainbow, something that those Angle lake fisherman would die to have at the end of their stringers.  I snapped off a shot and released the fish.  He re-casted, and after a few minutes, wham, indicator down! He had the hot rod today, with most of his fish being caught on a snowcone red bodied, with silver ribbed Chironomid.  I wasn’t as fornate with just a few fish compared to his 9 fish landed.  We only spent a few hours on Beaver and decided to pack up around 4:30.  A quick stop at Stan’s barbeque in downtown Issaquah satisfied the hunger for happy hour Miller’s and Pulled Pork.  Stan’s is my favorite bbq place that I’ve found in Washington.  I like the Kansas City style barbeque that is prepared dry and served with the sauces on the side.  The only pigs that we caught was of the porcine type and not of the scaled, finned or tailed variety that we’d hoped for…  Oh well… there is always next week.

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Eager Beaver: 04/8/2010

I needed a fix and the only thing that could solve it was a quick get away to a local lake.  After my Dad’s birthday outing on Monday I was ready to catch one for real…  I was hoping that we’d find a few fish around, but it was very bleak, with not much showing up on the radar but the ones that did beep were sitting in 30,40′ of water.  Definitely not enough fish to warrant setting up the long leader and going for broke. 

I had some work to finish up this morning, but then decided that the weather wasn’t dampening my spirits and decided to wet a line.  What was I going to do, since I’d spent the last couple of days Spar Varnishing my Smith boat, and also refinishing my oak gunnel on the Spring Creek Pram.  The ole’ trusty 10′ aluminum comes in handy, I really don’t take care of her, but she takes the lickin’ and keeps floating and stays dry. 

I grabbed my anchors, oars, net, flies, and was out the door.  I suspected that Beaver was going to be stocked soon, and I guess the WDFW made it out the following day: 4/6 and filled the lake with 4000 micro trout, 6-8″ nothing different than the fish we were catching on Quincy lake, but a heck of alot closer.  Yeah, the scenery isn’t as nice as Eastern WA, but its  a gas and time saver.  I don’t mind the drive, but these days, time is a commodity and I have to make the best use of it. 

When I arrived at the lake, I only saw two vehicles parked, one truck and a Suzuki samurai.  The samurai was owned by a grandfather and he was out banking it with his grandson, they had a decent sized trout to hand,all of 9 or 10″ of what I could see.  We made small talk and then I proceeded to launch and try my hand at some fishing.  First mistake, while running out the door, I failed to grab the Hummingbird fishin’ buddy mount, so I had to improvise, by wrapping some of the anchor line around the 110, and keeping it close to the gunnel of the boat.  Today, I wouldn’t troll but rather focus on Chironomids.  I started marking fish in about 13-15′ of water and so I anchored down and set up my rig: chromie bottom with my light grey orange ribbed Chiron up top.

I did see a fish near a dock splash for an emerger, so it helped with the confidence since the last two times out to Beaver, I’d been skunked.  After a few cast and retrieves,… nothing.  On my third or fourth cast, I don’t know if it was my mind that was playing tricks on me or what, but I could’ve sworn that my indicator bounced, but when I raised the rod, there was nothing on the other end.  Next cast, retrieve, nothing… until I slowly lifted the line and then tension.  fish on!  The little guy didn’t even have the weight or strength to pop my indicator, but it was a fish of all 8″.  I released it and then the skies released its fury on me.  First it was rain, then it turned to sleet, pelting me and filling up my boat with granules of ice and snow mixture.

I wasn’t cold, so I continued to fish for another few minutes.  Then it let up, and the sun came out and a hatch came off.  One thing that I did notice when I first arrived was the presence of alot of swallows, working the surface for adult Chirons.  They were small, but hatching everywhere.  That was a good sign.

I picked up a few more hits, but like the Quincy fish, these little devils are quick and then nip and short strike at the flies, if you’re not quick enough, the fish is off.  I’ve found this to be the case with alot of the small fish throughout the state.  I ended up with 11 hits, and 5 fish to hand.  Even though I don’t care for the taste of trout, I decided to keep two to give to my parents, who always appreciates fresh fish. They were smaller pan sized fryers, and would be a nice little treat for their lunch tomorrow.  Beaver was just what I needed to gain confidence that these local trout also like Chironomids and a throat sample from one revealed many Daphnia.  Even though it was cold and the weather didn’t cooperate, the fish were there and I managed to hook a few. Air temp. was probably in the mid 40’s and the water temp was 51 degrees.

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Pramaholic: 4/5/2010

I was itching to get out on the water this week, but the weather forecast has been pretty crummy.  I’d read reports that Beaver Lake was recently stocked, but that place is odd, you have to be there on the day of the stocking in order to catch any fish.  My experiences have been very fair, because within a matter of a few days, the fish are devoid and the baitchuckin’ crowd has depleted the 8″ fish from the area. 

I wasn’t so hot on fishing, but had installed some additions to the Smith Boat and wanted the first opportunity to test it out locally before I made a more distant trip with her.  I was going back and forth about the seat as I really like having back support, but dislike the look of 99% of the seats out on the market.  I was ready to install a black vinyl wrapped ‘tractor’ seat that came with the SpringCreek pram, but remembered that I’d picked up a couple of old school folding chairs from a local garage sale.  They were free and I thought that they were pretty neat and definitely sturdy.  They are solid oak, with a red fabric that reminded me of an old football.  I saw them in the corner of my eye and then my wheels started turning and thought of having a backrest and folding solid oak chair as a pram seat quickly brought out my skill saw.  The final product was fantastic, not only is it functional, its lightweight, and the wood theme carries out through the whole boat.  I was a bit worried about the tractor seat from the SpringCreek since it would have sat higher than I cared for causing some problems with the rowing position.  This new seat turned out to be just perfect, the height is just an 1.5″ above the bench and once I made my first backstroke, I could tell I’d dialed in the sweet spot for balance and optimal rowing.

I was completely amazed at how light the new pram was and how well it tracked on the water.  It was almost as if I was floating on the water.  The wide displacement  and the higher sides of this boat made me feel very safe and comfortable.  I really don’t know if I’d fish much out of the SpringCreek now that I have the Smith Boat as an option.

Yes, its a hassle with the upkeep, but the this boat got compliment after compliment from the other fisherman on the bank.  They were amazed at how light it was and how beautiful the Mahoghany was. 

I was asked from a suscriber to show how I made my truck rack.  I can effectively haul two fishermen, with prams and gear with no problem.  All I ended up buying was a pair of Thule gutter racks with locks, and two pieces of angle iron.  I secured the angle iron to the bed rails with self tapping bolts and attached the Thule gutter racks to the angle iron.  this has been a fantastic way to carry bikes, boats, lumber, and my Thule box.  I can carry a pram in the bed and the ski box on the rack with all my camping gear.  I guess there are nicer and commercially available rack/rail systems that do the same thing but this was cheap and it works!

I still have a thought every once in a while about upgrading my truck, but for all that it does, its hard to justify spending money on a new truck to essentially do the same thing: get me and my gear safely to and from a fishing destination.  Its reliable, its semi comfortable, I never worry where I park it, its cheap to maintain, and its easy to drive and park with ease.  I just wish it was a bit more powerful, for towing my saltwater boat.  Oh well… I guess you can’t have it all.

On the fishing note, we didnt’ catch anything, water temp was 51 degrees, and rainy with a heavy bout of sleet.  The sun did dip in and out of the sky, and there was a great Chironomid hatch coming off.  I didn’t mark many fish and the ones that I did were deep, sitting at the bottom of 25-30′ of water.  There were a few fish around the lauch, but I think that the regulars at Beaver deplete that lake and pick up every hatchery fish with their power bait and worms.  I hear that its supposed to be stocked tomorrow, don’t know if I’ll venture out to see if its good, but it might be nice to get a pull.

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April Fools: 4/1/2010

Well, I didn’t get tricked this year like I did last when someone posted some cheap fly fishing gear on Washingtonflyfishing.com but I was the one who got the last laugh posting some ridiculously low priced nice gear.  I had several PM’s from folks hounding me to sell them this stuff.  I guess even with the recession, there are always people looking for nice fly fishing gear.  I had the opportunity to visit my friend Fred Smith, of Smith’s Boat Shop in Bow, WA.  Its actually on the way to Samish Island. 

I invited dad to to join me for the nice drive up to the coast and showed him how wonderful that place really is.  Originally my buddy Thao T. had ordered up the 8′ pram, but once I got my eyes on that boat, I decided to opt out of the 10′ model which I’d recently acquired and wanted the smaller, lighter, more nimble craft.  Fred is 82 years old and he is a resourceful and friendly gent.  We toured his shop, visited with a neighbor who was picking up some little neck clams for his beach, and also got to sample some of his smoked salmon and took home  a few Pacific Oysters.

I was thinking of stopping of at Pass lake on the way back, but dad had appointments this evening and we had to make the trek back.  The other option today was to head over and fish the opener at Dry Falls or Upper Hamptons, but with this weird weather, I didn’ t want to risk getting blown off of the lake like Jeff and I did last week.  Oh well… the fish will be there for me another day.  I got back home and was able to grill up some of the sweetest and freshest oysters that you have laid your eyes, and noses on.  I like to prepare a garlic, white wine sauce on the stovetop ahead of time and once the oysters open up on the grill, I ladel the half shelled bivalves and let it cook further with the butter, chardonnay, white wine, cilantro, salt and pepper broth. 

Oh boy!!!

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