We’ve had some sun poking out this week with temps soaring into the 50’s as the rest of the country is buried in a blizzard and bitter cold subzero temps. With the forecast of sunny skies, little wind and warmer temps, it was a good idea to get out for a few hours of fresh air and some stillwater fishing. I had a meeting in South Olympia today, and as I mapped out my clients address, I noticed that Munn Lake wasn’t too far away. I turned business meeting into the best of both worlds, with fishing to be included after my morning meetings.
As I prepped my gear the night before I did a little research on Munn Lake. Recently it moved to catch and release fishing with selective gear, so this is a good thing for us fly fisherman. Its a small 34 acre lake located in Tumwater just south of Olympia. I’d heard of this lake before but didn’t have much excuse to travel unless I was already down in that neck of the woods. Besides, we have some nice lakes closer to home which are catch and release and might offer some good opportunities for fly fishing, among those: Lone, and Rattlesnake.
Since the Eastern Washington basin lakes opener is less than a month away I wanted to get out and polish up some of my Chironomid skills, so that when Im out on the lake I keep my skills sharp and my hooksets tightlined. Jeff H. met up with me and we both arrived on the lake around 11:30 or so. The water was a bit tanic or tea colored and it was glass calm. There are homes that surround the lake, similar to Lone, but its peaceful there apart from the noise of prop planes and a jet that roared in the background. I did see an otter on the north end of the lake which made me wonder if the fish were devoid due to this creature. As I set up all my gear and launched I notice the graph was reading 46 degrees. Not ideal for trout activity, but I guess better than 36 degrees! There wasn’t much of a hatch going on either and no visible signs of rising fish. After rowing along the shorelines, it was evident that very few fish were to be found until I rowed towards the west side of the lake in about 9 feet of water. There were some small fish that were marking on the graph, so I proceeded to anchor down and soak some bugs. After an hour or so with no bites but clearing fish showing up on the graph Jeff rowed closer and anchored up in 16′ of water.
Within a few minutes he was onto his first fish, he sampled the throat contents and found size 18 black head, with olive body and red tail and many glass worms in the 16-18 size with black dots on both the anterior and posterior locations. He picked up his fish on an atomic bloodworm. I kept on with my dual set up: 16 bloodworm with red head and red ribs as the bottom fly and 18 chromie with snowcone head just 2.5′ up from the bloodworm.
I know this combination works well as a searching set-up but for some reason it wasn’t getting any attention on the lake. We decided to row towards the south end of the lake into 16′ of water and then Jeff picked up a few more bites and a couple more fish. I then had a takedown but lost the fish. It was a bigger fish with some big deep head shakes and putting the 10′ 5 wt. GLX for a run and then within seconds it popped the hook and my line went limp. Darn! Both Jeff and I would have loved to see that fish as the pull on it wasn’t the typical 13-14″ that we’d been seeing pulled out so far.
I recast, and then about 15 minutes later had a takedown and fish was on. Bloodworm! A nice healthy 14″ rainbow that was sampled to reveal size 16 bloodworm, and 18 black Chironomids and a couple of glass worms. By this time there was a good hatch of size 14-16 Chironomids and shucks were around us and adults were popping off the water, but little surface feeding activity was noted.
I had to be back home by 5, so I packed up at 3:40 and proceeded back to the launch for the rush hour drive back home. It wasn’t too bad with most of the speed averaging the limit with some slowdowns by the Tacoma dome to Fife. I was surprised how quickly 405 was moving once I got onto it from the 5. All in all and great day to get out and try out a new lake and catch a couple of fish on the Chironomid.
What I would have done differently? I don’t think fishing earlier would’ve helped, but if I didn’t have to be back, I would have stayed later to see how the hatch progressed and the fish activity ended. Jeff stayed for what I think was a couple more hours so I’d be curious to see how he did. I might head back to Munn if they stock it, especially with the triploids. I like the fact that its catch and release with selective gear, but it is a bite of a drive. Next week, I might give Gibbs lake a try as Rex T. likes to fish that one.