Back to the rainy and cooler side of the latitude I needed some time on the pram as the jetty fishing in one locale was ok but I wanted to get back to my beloved Stillwater and trout!
I was playing catch up this week but had the opportunity to get out today for a few hours and met up with Jeff H. We had the whole lake to ourselves, something that is nice but the weather wasn’t so, with a little wind, a little rain, and a little cooler temps.
I quickly launched and rowed out as I admired the blue green colored water and beauty of our western Washington landscape. It would be tough to live in a place like southern California but I have to admit the sunshine and the warmer temps are definitely nice.
As I rowed out and set up my sounder I started marking fish at the bottom as the depth deepened I could see good activity below. When the sounder was consistent it was time to anchor down and set my full sink line up with some meat and potatoes. Olive marabou leech was all I needed on the cool day. Within moments my rod bounced and a feisty rainbow trout succumbed to the net. I mostly connected with smaller and medium sized fish from 8-11″ with one or two pushing 14″ mostly from the recent planting a few weed ago.
Jeff was doing well as he normally does and we caught up a little over lunch and a few laughs. I had to get back to wrap up some work but it was a nice break to be able to connect with some fantastic scenery and a few willing trout.
On the second day of Spring it snowed in many parts of western Washington. The outlook for Spring time was looking poor last week but the return of sunshine and warmer weather had me thinking of Pass lake after my poor outing a couple of weeks ago. Pass can be a finicky lake to fish but once you’re dialed it can also be very rewarding.
I invited Rob D. to join me as I needed to get my Almarco pram out from storage and had picked up my double pram trailer and wanted to test it out. Since this was Robs first time fishing Pass lake he didn’t know what to expect but after a little coaching and having him fish anchored up to me he was soon in the Chromie Zone! Our first stop was on the launch cove where Jeff H. And Jim T. were catching up. As we got there it seemed like there was no more action as we couldn’t coax a take down. Next stop would be the point in 15-17′ of watering a nice muddy shoal. We both made our first casts and next thing you know Rob has a fish on! Beginners luck, I suppose?!?!
He essentially didn’t fish with a sonar, didn’t have hemostats to measure depth and was using a commercially tied fly, the black red ribbed snow cone. I had to catch up and that I did as we cat and moused it with the fish along with each other. We also tried the rock wall and in front of huge rangers home without finding the elusive brown trout that Rob has caught, yet.
The 12-14′ of water would only yield the smaller fish. Strong and feisty but not what we were looking for and often times pecking at the flies leading to many false positive takes. We wrapped up back at the point, at the first bay next to the launch, and the tree line area near the launch on the north side in 16-17′ of water.
We capped the day with a nice meal at Bobs burgers and Brew located near Tulalip. I highly recommend the Ranch Burger with a grilled egg, and bacon. Perfect to recharge the stomach as we warmed our chilled core next to their gas fireplace.
It was also nice to run into Chuck Gold and Jim Tetrick. Both are seasoned Chironomid fishermen and Stillwater experts. Rob ended up with a fish count in the high teens and I landed 23 fish. There were many missed hits and both short and long distance releases but it was a great day with some sun, wind, cool breeze at times but no rain.
Looking forward to the bomber hatch which hasnt been seen with the throat sampling. I saw many size 18 olive bugs some size 16 red ribbed chromers, olive worms, and grey tumblers as Chuck Gold like to call them. Water temp was between 51-52 degrees.
Rob in action
After fishing last weeks eastern WA season opener I needed a Stillwater fix. If I had time I would’ve like to explore a new lake but it’s still a 2+ hour drive each way past Vantage. The next best thing on our side is either Pass, Lone or Rattlesnake lakes. I typically don’t fish pass until closer to April, but heard of good reports and decent chironomid hatches that the fish are keyed on and feeding heavily.
I had to see for myself and only had today to fish, so I packed up and head out at 7:30 for the hour and half drive north. The weather forecast called for partly sunny with 50% chance of rain. Rain it did, mostly the whole drive up with brief intermissions in Stanwood and approaching Pass Lake, but it would lightly sprinkle and then around noon it cleared.
Jeff Hil. had a meeting on oak harbor and needed an excuse to hitch up his pram and decided to meet me for some stillwater action. It’s too bad he had to leave early as the action picked up from 12:30 to 2 with a good size 18 hatch of black, olive, and chromed chironomids. I fished 25′ of water towards the eastern border of the lake. Water temp was 48 degrees while the outside temp when I rolled I to the parking lot was 53. There is a new concrete pad restroom at pass, a nice improvement over the outhouse in the woods.
Water clarity was pretty good and had the classic greenish color to the water. We fished at the point to start in 14-15′ of water. Jeff pulled a fish ther and then I did but it wasn’t hot and heavy action so it sent me searching for the fish. I tried the north rock wall, in front of the ranger residence, north bay without much success. I wasn’t marking any fish down but the sidewinder was picking up fish fairly regularly.
A couple of guys in Spring creek prams were doing ok so I opted to investigate. One guy in a white Hopper was doing fairly well in the 25′ of water. He knew the drill as he rowed to that spot at the beginning of the day and was still there when I pulled off at 3 pm. He had it dialed with numerous hook ups. I had to observe closely and after some adjustments I switched up to have my bugs 2′ off the bottom and then I was into the fish. Not a spectacular day but I landed 9 fish. Ranging in size from 15-18″.
Even though my time was limited I enjoyed getting out, better something versus nothing! Pass lake should be getting hotter as the water temp warms and the hatches intensify. I hope to fish it again soon as I’ve concluded it takes too much to fish eastern WA for just a day trip. I’ll have to save up my fishing days to do a multiple day trip.
Since this time of year brings out the cabin fever with fishermen it was time to hit the water again. After a couple of unsuccessful outings to the Snoqualmie river for unicorn steelhead I also needed some re-assurance that all is right in the Piscatorial world. Phil K. and Rob D. also needed some time on the water as they been working hard. Nothing beats a day on the water, well unless it’s a sunny day on the water when everyone is catching fish.
While the sun was shining it wasnt without the cold. As the morning temp was 25 degrees at the house as we left at 9 am with Nisqually in our sights 45 minutes later. The drive down was smooth and ice free. When we arrived the ground was frozen and ice crystals on the vegetation. I was concerns about the lack of hatch but was hopeful due to the fact that the sun was shining and was nice to have some vitamin D while enjoying the solitude with a couple friends.
I made my way around the creek to the bend where I believe to be the best locale for fish as its exposed to the most winter sunlight and the best insect hatches. There always seems to be an abundance of water boatmen at this location and I think the trout key on these along with the chironomid hatches.
Although the fishing wasn’t as good as previous outings we had a wonderful time. Rob D. Commented on the drive back that nothing relieves the stress like fishing does and it’s a great release for him. Phil and I both agreed and hope that we’ll be able to spend more time fishing into the new year.
I ended up with many 12-14″ fish with a couple that measured into 16-17″. Rob picked up a nice fish upwards of 20″ from what I could see along with double digits of the cookie cutter fish. Phil picked up a few but was a little rusty needing to dust off the cobwebs from
the corner of his eye as I know he missed several takes as they were very subtle. It will likely be the last outing to the spring creek as we all thought a trip to eastern WA would be a nice next outing.
Rods: Redington CT 9′ 5 wt and GLX HLS 10′ 5 wt
Lines: Airflo ridge floating and Orvis Wonderline
Flies: bloodworm (although it didn’t account for any fish this trip), black with red ribbed snow cone, and chromie. The red ribbed black snowcone accounted for the most fish caught for me.
I believe the action slowed after the owner visited with us in the afternoon. The water level was high as evidenced by the flooded casting platforms. After they opened the weir at the tail out there was a noticeable flow to the creek which I believe turned the bite off for whatever reason. It had been good up to that point for me as I picked up 6 fish in consecutive casts.
I was happy that Rob and Phil were able to get into a few fish as it brought some smiles and laughter for the three of us.
I had a rough couple of days and needed some liquid therapy. The only kind that siestas are made of… Jeff H. and Mark Y. Had been experiencing some fantastic days on the Snake. They’d leisurely arrive around noon, set up the anchors in 40-42′ of water and proceed to put some pain on some rainbow trout lips. Both Mark and Jeff have become excellent students of the vertical fishing method and have fooled a many trout on their Chironomid patterns. There was an excellent bomber hatch of size 10-12 red ribbed Chromers and while it wasn’t visible on the surface the trout were feasting on these jumbo bites. I got to the lake around 11:30 and just as I got there, Jeff was pretty much set up and getting ready to row out. We started marking fish around 37′ and decided on anchoring down and tie on some proven patterns. Within minutes we both had take downs and some silvery colored holdover fish that folded our rods on the violent grabs. While I didn’t get any shots of the fish it was a beautiful sunny but slight chilly due to the southerly winds. I finally left had to pack up around 4:30 to go pick up my son but it was nice to get out for 4 hours and in the end I landed 18 fish between 12″-16″. I’m sure Jeff was into 20+ fish and Mark wasn’t too far away from those numbers. I did take a photo of Jeff’s Chironimid box a nicely artistic array of some very effective bugs. That box is priceless as it probably has many hours on and off the tying bench coming up with materials and designs that mimic the trouts natural diet sources. The beauty of this fishery is that it’s so close and when you’re up there seems like you’re in the middle of the BC interior lakes or on vacation. It’s peaceful, quiet, no road noise or homes around the lake like Pass or Lone lakes and there are plenty of nicer sized fish. I can probably say that the quality of this lake has improved with it going to catch and release.
It’s been long week and I needed some time on the water but only had a few hours to get out. The sun was shining and the wind was calm so I decided to make a break for my nearby watershed at Beaver lake. According to the WDFW it was stocked twice last week with a dose of midget planters and then with 200+ triploids. I don’t much care for the smaller fish but I know those larger trout can put up a tug on the 5 wt. so I set out with that in mind. I rigged up the Minn Kota on the Rogue pram and proceeded to troll with two rods. One with a Rio Deep 7 and the other with a Cortland Camo clear line.
With a cone head leech on the Deep 7 and a black woolly bugger on the slime line I set out with high expectations. After a few passes near the launch it was pretty slow. I picked up a few nibbles and short strikes but only had some really small trout in the 6-8″ category. I get pretty bored with trolling so I anchored up and put my dry line on to give a go with Chironomids.
Within the first cast my indicator got tickled and another small planter. This would be the name of the game for here next 2.5 hours. I was yanking them out as fast as I could cast, retrieve, release and set my indicator. I took 8×8… 8 fish in 8 casts, under 8″!
Too bad this action wasn’t like this in Eastern WA or in BC where the fish are bigger and stronger. I wasn’t complaining until the bank fisherman from shore yelled out for me to move elsewhere, since he wanted I cast over me with his power bait. I said “excuse me????” after a few exchanged words, I yielded to his request even as ridiculous as it seemed. He saw me ripping and releasing these little tikes, it was driving him crazy! He kept casting to where my indicator was hoping to nab a little tike to no avail… I think he finally landed one or his stringer but I gave him a little show just to show him that it wasn’t the location, but the tactic. Even though recently planted, these fish really have keyed in on the natural food source and were found aggressively taking the Chironomids and emergers.
The trout weren’t the only ones getting fat, I saw a male bald eagle and a group of 4 or 5 Commorants that were buzzing the sky. With one swoop two of the Commorants made easy meals of the planted trout. All my fish were caught on a snow one bloodworm fished a foot off the bottom. None of them took the top bug, a red ribbed chromer.
The final tally for 3 hours of fishing was 32 fish. I never saw a triploid but the largest fish was 8″ and the smallest was 5″. All in all, it was fun to get the line wet but in the process it downpoured like mad, with a hail storm that pelted down with some force for as couple minutes. I’m glad I had my sponge and bailer to evac some standing water as it accumulated pretty quickly in no time. When I packed up a couple newcomers asked how I did and I just remarked “I got a few…” I know the guy who asked me to move heard that and probably was shaking his head. I guess it’s to be expected in any urban fishing environment. But with limited time and high desire, I’ll take the riff raff since I had fun catching a few of these Beaver lake planters.
I had meetings today as well as some business to do in Seattle. Since it was looking to be a very nice day out I thought about wetting a line in one of our local lakes. The WDFW had recently stocked Greenlake with a few thousand fish and I’d have an hour and half to kill so armed with a backpack, my folding chair, and travel rod, I’d sent on banking it from the docks near the rowing center where the crew teams house their carbon fiber crafts.
There wasn’t much of a chironomid hatch going on or signs of fish splashing but I set up shop on one of the eastern most docks to try my luck. I had a new rod to test out, the Redington Classic Trout 9′ 5 wt 6 piece that I bought as a backup as well and compact travel rod. I measured the depths, tied my bugs on and set my indicator and casted away.
After a few minutes of waiting, hand stripping, twitching it was evident that it’d be slow at this place. So I picked up and moved next to the bleachers on a floating platform. I’d have to watch my backcast here as there were all sorts of people, dog walkers and kids enjoying the sunshine and getting some exercise. There seemed to be more action here as my indicator got tickled a few times and I had a few small tikes play with my size 16 bugs. After a few casts the bobber went down solidly and I was rewarded with a little 6″ tike, quickly photographed and released. I hope he is smarter next time as most anyone fishing greenlake would have probably loved to keep that guy and fry it up for dinner that night. I moved around to the northern most dock and tried to fish in a little deeper water but had no takes and decided to pack it up as it was time to get home.