Though I would post some pictures and a report of my 4 day trout trip to North/Central eastern washington. A couple tough days but some really good ones as well with some big fish. Had a rod break and a float tube full of holes(notice in one of the pics a new float tube box) but for the most part returned unharmed.
Here is my friends report of the trip:
Having heard reports of some pretty good stream fishing in the
extreme NE corner of the state, we left early Saturday, driving 7
hours and arriving in early afternoon to find mere trickles flowing
in the several creeks we'd intended to fish. Grudgingly rethinking
our fishing strategy, we decided to scout some of the local lakes
instead. Several of the small lakes east of the Pend Oreille river
had actually dried up completely, with crops of weeds growing in
their beds and cattle roaming where there should have been trout.
Heading west toward the Okanogan, we stopped at sunset Saturday near the summit on hwy 20 on our way to Colville, having spotted a roadside lake's surface dimpled with rises. Fishing from a dock at a deserted campground, we soon found out the rises were from hundreds of 6-inch WS cutt planters who aggressively attacked whatever pattern we threw at them. We released several dozen before dark, somewhat easing our disappointment from earlier in the day.
Sunday, we found another small, out-of-the-way lake with wisps of fog still clinging to the surface and the large splashes of feeding trout providing a sound track. Water level appeared to be down a couple of feet, leaving muddy flats below the reeds around the shore. The only launching area was also a main watering hole for range cattle and was littered with cow-pie land mines which required constant attention to avoid. The muddy put-in was simply too gross to adequately describe.
After putting in, Sean immediately experienced gear failure as his
Outcast kayak quickly lost air from a couple of leaks, forcing him
back to the minefield for repairs. While waiting for the patches to
set, he fished from shore and immediately hooked a succession of
large RBs including one 20-incher. Not wanting to wait for the
patches, he drove back to the WalMart in Colville, returning a couple hours later with a new float tube. By the time we pulled out at 5pm or so, he'd released some 16 fat RBs to my 2, nearly all taken on a BH damsel or a parachute Adams.
On a side note, my first fish Sunday was a stout 15 incher who fell for a size 12 Area 51 pattern. Kicking back across the lake after lunch, a large RB took the same fly, jumping clear out of the water and breaking off my 5X tippet cleanly in the process. He performed a couple more spectacular leaps trying to shake loose my last Area 51 while I sat holding a slack line and shaking my head. The more I think about that fish, the more I'm convinced it was at least 30
inches long. No, it must've been 32 inches!
After a night in Tonasket, we headed up to Chopaka, arriving about 10am to find a half dozen or so people fishing under sunny skies with a few clouds. As with the previous day's lake, Chopaka's water level seemed to be down by a couple feet or so. We picked up a pair of twin 16-inchers along the far side, another in the middle and a final just below the camping area, all on chironomids. The clockwork midday callibaetis was a no-show, leaving many of the fishers scratching their heads. One guy I talked to said he and his partner had been skunked that morning although they'd picked up ten or so the day before, mostly trolling leech patterns and buggers deep. He said the fishing was best in the morning, went cold about lunchtime and picked up again in the evening. Before leaving Chopaka, the gear failure fairy struck once again, this time cleanly snapping the tip off my T&T Horizon 5wt while false casting.
We decided to leave Chopaka while it was still light and fished some of the rises along Spectacle Lake just below Loomis. The water level in Spectacle was down by perhaps 8 feet, making fishing from shore a muddy proposition at best. The rises turned out to be from 6 inch bluegill and after releasing several, we headed south towards Ephrata.
Flipping a verbal coin, he headed yesterday morning to Beda, opting to pass up Lenore instead. Arriving at Beda about 8:30am, conditions seemed ideal: blue skies, no wind, rises everywhere in the west bay, and NO people. On putting in, we found the rises were small fish, perhaps trout, hopefully not bluegill or perch. We weren't able to hook any to find out. The water level is down and the weeds have nearly choked the west bay and the channel to the main lake. Once in the main lake, we spotted only occasional rises. After 6 hours, we'd managed to release just 3 fish, each an hour or more apart, on a Quigley cripple, a BH damsel and a chironomid. The fishing at Beda was the slowest I'd ever seen - we probably should've fished Lenore instead.
Nearly a thousand car miles and four days later, we had a lot of fun, one great day fishing and several OK ones. At least we didn't get skunked.
and a few pics:
Only two guys but a ton of gear:
the tubes stay on pretty well at 70mph. Lots of smashed bugs on them though:
Looking for trout:
The secret lake where we found big unmolested fish:
Great report and pics, and congratulations on getting an overnight fishing trip with your buddy so soon after your marriage. It took me 5 years before I could pull anything more than a one day fishing trip away from the wife.
BTW, you could never go fishing with me, that trunk looks like the back of my trail blazer, with just MY equipment for a steelhead trip.
Got to try that float tubing some time.
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