Monthly Archives: April 2011

Snake N’ Pram: 4/22/11

I had a few hours and decided to stop by the Snake, since the weather forecast was calling for upper 50 degree skies and warm temps. I only fished for 4 hours, but had one fish to hand, a 17″ Rainbow that went for my new size 14 Chromie tie.  I was testing out the new Humminbird RF45 wrist watch sounder and concluded that its a good device to use for when I am not fishing a pram and wanting to know the depth of the water where I am casting and the temp. I picked up this last model for $50, and figured that it would come in handy versus pulling anchor and rowing over to the shoreline as well to guage depth.

I’d been conversing with a gent in southern Oregon about his pram and I’ve been on the search for an all aluminum and welded boat that is lightweight and sturdy, which is tougher than you think to find, but I did, and now its safely at its new home amongst several other boats.  This is a Rogue 8′ pram and has everything that I need to make trips down to the beach for the upcoming Pink salmon arrival and also for putting on a kicker motor for future exploration of eastern WA lakes.  Its a little wider and taller than the Smith boat, but it fits like a glove in the back of the truck bed.  Many would call me crazy, and I probably am, but I can’t seem to find the perfect boat, this might just be the last pram I buy… 🙂

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Nunnally Lake: April 15th, 2011

I needed a little sun so decided to head out for a day trip to Nunnally, the weather report was calling for highs of 58, partly sunny and little wind. So much for weather reports… it was more like windy with up to 10 mph winds from the west and drizzly rain all day long. That would normally be ok for the fishing, but one mistake, no rain pants or rain boots. It was a cold and miserable day even though I had my raincoat, and was just wearing my cotton pants.

Water temp ranged between 52-53 degrees and I fished in 10-15′ of water.  I hadn’t fished Nunnally since April 7th of 2009, and had a wonderful outing with 27 fish landed. So, I was expecting a repeat of that trip, however it was tough fishing. While there were some Chironomids coming off, they were very small, size 18-20 and the trout were focused on the emergers, plucking the shucking adults. I started out deep, and then adjusted water depths and locations without a hookup. The water clarity was quite good with 12-15′, the best I’ve seen at the lake, so Im not sure if the fish were spooky or just finicky. I finally just anchored up in 15′ of water on the edge of a dropoff between 10-12′ to the deeper greener water.  My indicator was set at 14′ feet and I started getting some violent take downs. The first fish I landed was a nice 16″ Tiger trout, I sampled the throat, but no Chironomids! I missed many strikes, but after seeing Jeff boat his first fish a nice 3″ spiny ray I concluded that those must have been sunfish that were teasing my size 18 Chirons.

Final count was 19 takedowns with 13 fish landed, I caught mostly Tiger trout, with only 3 of those fish being Rainbows. All fish were caught on size 18 bloodworms and Chromers. I did switch up to a full sink and olive and black rabbit fur zonker and caught two rainbows i the deeper water. Jeff on the otherhand had a tough time getting the party started with two fish landed, but one was a nice 19″ Tiger, his first.

I would like another try at Nunnally once the Chironomid hatches are more pronounced and on a sunnier, warmer day. Also, I’ll always be prepared with my full rain gear and warm clothes, even if the weather report doesn’t dictate. Lessoned learned!

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Dry Falls: sunny, but windy April 5th, 2011

It was a gorgeous morning clear and sunny. We woke up at 6:30 and was out the door by 7:30 with the rig packed, lunches made and off to Dry Falls for a fine weather day of fishing. Originally out plan was to fish Amber lake but decided on changing up after yesterday and out conversation with some local Spokane fisherman that said it was fishing ok but not as good as coffeepot. We figured that the weather wasn’t going to improve in the Spokane and Sprague locations, and wanted a change if scenery so Dry Falls was the next best thing.

The evening before we stopped over at Lenore for a peek and a photo tells a thousand words: cold, windy, and no one fishing. We did rig up and walk down to roll cast for a little bit, but no take downs or Lahontans anywhere!

I haven’t been to Dry Falls for two years since I never made it out all of last season, and I typically like to go over once if not twice each year. I never seems to amaze me with the scenery and how beautiful it was out there until this morning I could appreciate the solitude and the wonderful formation of the lake. Here’s a little tour of the lake for those that haven’t been to the lake, the video doesn’t do the place justice, but give you an idea of your surroundings.

We proceeded to fish along the north side in 8′ of water as I was hoping the the water was a little warmer having more exposure to the sun. There we struck out, so then wanted to try some 25′ water in the middle, again struck out, but it was still early and there wasn’t much going on in terms of hatch so it was to be as expected. I finally decided to head back to a more protected area from the wind also in 25′ of water since I had marked fish previously when rowing out.

I decided this was our best chance and down the anchors went. Not only did the anchors go down so did my indicator, with 13″ rainbow at the end. I sampled it and only Daphnia but no chironomids. It was 10 am but not a real huge hatch coming off but it was our first fish.

I picked off another fish but decided to move into more leader friendly water 17′. I started picking off fish, numerous 13-14″ trout, silvery and strong diving rainbows. All came on my size 18 snow cone bloodworm with black rib on a curved scud hook in 2X

That fly resulted in many fish to hand. even though these 13-14″ they were the hardest fighting trout and the larger ones in the 16-18″ didn’t fight as well as those silver bullets.

After a couple of hours pestering those fish I wanted to get into the deep water and try my for some bigger fish. We would anchor up in 30′ of water and down the lines went, I got the first fish on a 16 chromer while Jeff was keeping busy with his vertical method getting some payback for his slower start.

We ended the day at 3:30 under windy skies and a storm moving in, so it was best to get on the road since our ETA was going to be well after 10 pm.  We did stop off for gas and dinner in Ellensburg, and had a great burger at the Ranch 14 restaurant, one of my favorites in eastern WA. One of the best burgers to try is the 1/3 lb’er with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg.  Good stuff!

I landed 34 fish with many lost and many LDRs. Jeff got into the low 20s but wasn’t keeping count,  but did comeback a little with the deep water bite in the 30′ section. The largest I measured was a 18″ male bow that was colored up for the spawn. I also caught a female at the same location and was 17″, probably a mating pair as there were no other spawning fish caught thereafter. The throat samples revealed lost of Daphnia, Chironomids in size 16-18 and some smaller 20’s, a damsel fly, and a big dragon fly nymph, also Jeff sampled a big leech, which I don’t know how it managed to get sucked up into the stomach pump. By the third day my chapped and finger ripped up hands had enough of water, teeth, flies, and was looking forward to some Cetaphil lotion.

This was my best outing to Dry Falls and glad that I was able to spend the last few days fishing with my buddy Jeff. Sorry for the typos and grammar, as I was writing and posting on my iphone and haven’t gone back to proofread.   Just glad to be home, with a hot shower and glad we made it off the pass, it was getting closed going up I-90 eastbound as the snow was pretty bad and we were sitting at the edge of our seats trying to look out the windshield.

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Dialed on Depth: April 4th, 2011

Even though it was 37 degrees outside both jeff and I got a fairly good night of sleep. We rolled out of the tents around 6:30 and got our gear ready and breakfast made so that we could be fishing ASAP.

I was first to get on the water and decided to fish up close to the launch since Tyler did well in that spot he day before. I got my setup on, black leech under and indicator and drifted it in 8′ of water and gave a little tug and down the indicator went down. A few minutes later a green color wasn’t indicative of a trout but rather it was a largemouth bass. The second fish was also a bass and then I finally caught to plump trout. Jeff even caught a turtle, yes a turtle on the bloodworm.  Its more likely that Mr. Turtle got tangled up in the flurocarbon and the hook set itself in his leg, but we did get a good laugh at that one.

I wanted to fish a bay that was occupied yesterday with the guys from OR and their Willie driftboat. In fact they didn’t move once all day so I figured they were catching fish. I started hooking more fish in that spot and by then Jeff came over and anchored down.

I went through a very good period where I was hooking fish consistently but after an hour it went slow. Jeff was hooking fish but I was having a tough time. He finally asked me how long my leader was and I said 6′ since we were sitting 7′ of water. He suggested I increase a foot and half and try it again. Back to the honey hole and I was catching fish again. What happened? I know now that when it went dead the wind was a factor and when I adjusted I was back to catching fish. A big aha moment when it comes to Chironomid fishing.

I landed 11 fish with mostly 16-17″ and one that pushed a little over 19″. Jeff landed 14 fish and also averaged the same size. While most of you would think that a fish would be small it wasn’t. They were full bodied, big shouldered and full of deep long runs.  I would venture to say that I think Coffeepot has the potential to be the best stillwater lake in the state, with its deep shouldered and large average fish size, great biodiversity of food and the scenery that isn’t as nice as Dry Falls, but is fairly similar in the way the lake was carved out and overlooking many high basalt cliffs.

By 2:30 the wind was at it’s fury and we decided to back to camp for some lunch, perhaps it was my banana eating that caused the weather and fishing to slow. We decide to pack up and call it a day since it was starting to rain and we decided against camping out an instead made the decision to fish Dry Falls instead of Amber. It was off to Soap Lake where we’d check in at the Masters Inn and a got shower and dinner of wild teriyaki marinated duck was in order.

I’m glad we got the room, the benefit of a hot shower and warm room was well worth the $50.

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Pot O’ Gold: April 3rd, 2011

The day had come when our spring break would take us to far away and exciting new locations. We had all the gear prepped and packed and the food and logistics worked out. Jeff was supposed to meet me at 6:30 at my house and we’d load up the prams and camping gear and be on the road by 7 am. 6:37… I get a text; ‘can’t find cat’.

Ok I reply, then the call at 7:15. Ugh I’m on the way. 7:45, the cat doesn’t want to come in. I asked whats the deal, he said forget the cat, let’s go fishing. Once we loaded up and pulled to the edge of the driveway, he wasn’t feeling too good so we went back to his house.

Long storey but we didn’t get in the road til 8:30. The pass was wet an signs of snow the night before with the pass temp at 33 degrees. Lake Keechelus had areas where the ice is melting and the edges are showing some clear water.

We finally rolled into Coffeepot Lake around noon and found another group of guys that just got into the lake and were already catching fish right off the boat launch.

I thought to myself that this is going to be good, reaaaal good! This made all the prepping to go much quicker as we had to assemble our rods and boats and get on the water ASAP!

The water temp registered at 49 degrees and the north end of the lake isn’t very deep with 5′ going to 16′ in the lowest part of the bowl.

Fellow WFF member Tyler Speir was on the water and every time we were looking over while setting up his line was tight and fish was on. Each time we saw no small fish just chunky and strong rainbow trout.

We focused on fishing the edges as the wind was at our backs all day. One interesting finding was that there is a wild and naturally reproducing population of trout at coffeepot lake that spawn in lake creek to the north and we did see the creek inlet as it fed this channel lake.

We caught fish under the indicator but interestingly not on the strip using floating and full sink lines. Throat samples revealed 16 an 18 chromers and size 20 blood and olive worms, and daphnia.

Jeff picked up a nice leech in his sampling and I thought that fishing a leech pattern would be effective but it’s hard to switch when the fishing is hot.

Deep bodied and strong fighting trout that took long runs and some spectacular jumps. The afternoon bite was good with the best activity from 12:00 to 2 and we caught no fish smaller than 16″, with the largest that pushed 22″.

Once 2pm hit it was like a light switch went off and the fishing slowed.

I landed 6 fish in the 4 hours that we fished as we had to set up camp and get a late lunch. Jeff did about the same and Tyler was gone by the time we made it back to the car. Looks like he landed in the range of 10-12 fish.

Tomorrow will be another day…

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A couple of April Fools! 4/1/2011

It was a little pre-funk for me as I am gearing up for my trip to Coffeepot and Amber lakes for spring break. I’d be chatting with Phil K. who was itching to get out and he informed me of the recent plants on Beaver this past week so we both agreed it would be a good day to get out and fish for a few hours. Phil is getting into fly fishing more and more and enjoyed the last outing together at Quincy lake.

This time I wanted Phil to fish from a floating device, despite his bad experience with small boats and canoes. I have a 6′ Bucks Bag pontoon boat that was a perfect craft to get him on the water, and being a safe and stable platform to cast and fish.  Maybe it will help him grow to be a big strong fish and twart danger in the future, or not. We stopped off at Chipotle and did a little gobbling ourselves on soe big burritos.

We were the only ones on the water, and I thought it was odd since its usually more crowded at Beaver, but we weren’t alone as there was a flock of Cormorants maybe 8-10 of them in the big Alder opposite the boat launch.  You could tell that a lake is just planted by the fat birds that have been feasting on the half pound trout. I even caught one fish with fresh wound marks from the sharp beaks of one of these fish eating birds.  I am guessing he probably had a bad day and was on his 3rd lifeline, surviving a Cormorant attack and then to be ripped in the lip thereafter.

Water temp was 49 degree and a good Chironomid hatch was happening when we got to the launch. There were many size 16-18 shucks on the surface and creamy grey and brown adults sputtered around despite the rain that constantly poured down on us while we anchored and fished in 12-15′ of water. Effective patterns were snowcone bloodworm, and snowcone Chromie size 16 under a slip indicator.

It was even better fishing since we both used 3 weight rods in 7 and 8′ lengths, you can see that even a small fish can put a nice bend into that little 3 weight, makes it alot more sporting and fun.  I used my 8′ Classic GLX, and I have Phil one of the very first rods I purchased a Cortland GRF1000 7′ 3/4 wt.  After this outing, I think Phil is definitely ‘hooked’!

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