It’s an annual traditional as hundreds of folks through out shake off the cob webs and the cabin fever of winter blues and converge on anything that floats, to become like a Cheerio flotilla in Eastern WA.
Jeff H. and I had a plan to fish Quincy Lake but it would be no easy feat as I have two boys to square away in the mornings and evening. I’d been busy with home, work, and family that I couldn’t recall the last time I soaked some chironomids under a bobber. The weather forecast was looking to be excellent with highs into the low 60’s with the wind out of the ESE at 5-7 mph. The pass was uneventful as the warmer temps brought wet roads and melting snow pack. Lake Kachess was showing clearing in parts but still had dustings of snow atop and on the mountainside. Pass temp was 37 degrees around 9 am. Upon our arrival into George the trees and sage brush were swaying in the breeze and the sun never did poke out but it was warmer around 53 degrees.
Be prepared for anything and everything: one thing I wish I had was my muck boots. When we arrived at the lot people were launching and campers had set up their spots all along the south shoreline. With a line up to launch we opted to launch nearby but was a little muddy and rocky. Would have benefited with the extra coverage to keep warmer as well since the wind blew through my running shoes. I was glad I brought my rain coat and my overalls as they gave me additional coverage from the cooler temps and wind. I’m pretty sure that most or all of the flotilla at the Basin lakes got blown off when the gusts reached upwards of 20 mph as the frothing of the waves caused bubble suds on the banks indicating that the lake is slightly alkaline in nature.
Note to self: bring a bigger anchor. My 10 pyramid wasnt holding position in the wind and I needed the cannon ball doubled up on the cleat to hold her steady. I’ll be sure to be prepped with a 15-20 lb’er for eastern WA as the winds can easily frustrate a chironomid fisherman. Being on the right spot and staying there is crucial to success. I don’t mind the wind for fishing but casting a little more challenging with backcasts dangerously coming close to the back of your head and anything a hook is willing to grab in the pram. A benefit of the wind is giving action to the bugs. Sometimes the strikes are more difficult to detect as the bobber is in constant motion but most strikes were clearly evident with disappearing indicators. I briefly fished two rods as I have the second rod endorsement but I quickly became too hard to manage dealing with the wind and keeping an eye two constantly bouncing bobbers. I probably missed several fish so went back to fishing one rod to better focus on tuning into their palates.
Upon taking some random throat samples no pupae chironomids were seen but plenty of bloodworms in olive and red sized 10-14. Water temp was between 46-47 degrees and we mostly fished in 10-15′ of water. The lake appeared mostly clear with good weed growth and nice green color and clarity. The sun did make its way out in the late afternoon as did the wind slow down and we did catch a lot of fish ranging in size from 9″-19″. Most of the fish were in that 10-12″ category, with some in the 13-15″ and rarely larger with only one 18″ and the largest being 19″. All fish were silvery and appeared very healthy and well fed. While I was keeping an accurate count today would estimate somewhere in the 50-60 range of fish landed as there were times of a fish a cast or every other cast. We fished for 7 hours straight so would average 7 or 8 fish per hour was probably right.
I fished near the north bay just east of the skinny arm backwater and stayed there most of the time but did explore the arm in hopes of getting out of the wind but found smaller fish and shallower water depths. One productive spot was the shoal point in about 10′ of water from the entrance to the arm and to the bay. It produced fish and kept my attention for the remainder of the day. No complaints on this trip apart from the winds but it’s all a part of fishing in eastern WA. Wished we could have spent the night as Phil K and Rob D were rolling in as we were driving back. Hopefully they won’t encounter the winds today and the fishing will still be good.