Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lone Lake trip June 14, 2009

The plan is to leave from the church following 2nd service on June 14th and drive to Lone Lake near Langley on Whidbey Island. Google Maps estimates travel time as 1 hr 45 min. The Lake is a highly productive, selective fishery. It’s fished well from float tube, pontoon boat or small boat. There is a small boat launch and small picnic / park area at the parking area. The lake should fish well with weighted green, or black woolly buggers trolled slowly with fairly deep sinking lines, damsel nymphs fished with intermediate sinking lines and chironomids fished deep below a strike indicator. The lake is pretty uniformly 10 to 15 feet deep and produces rainbow, cuts and browns in the 17 to 24” range. It should be a fun and productive day. I do have some extra gear if anyone needs to borrow and item or two to make this work. Please shoot me an email and let me know if you think you would like to attend. I will bring my BBQ and cook some hot dogs and chips before we get on the lake. Bring a camera and lets get some good pictures for the web site.


Below are driving directions to the lake:

1. Head west on Pease Rd toward S Burlington Blvd
0.2 mi
2. Turn right at S Burlington Blvd
1.0 mi
3. Turn left at W Rio Vista Ave/WA-20
Continue to follow WA-20
11.9 mi
4. Turn left to stay on WA-20
31.5 mi
5. Continue on S WA-525
15.8 mi
6. Turn left at Bayview Rd
1.8 mi
7. Turn left at Andreason Rd
0.6 mi
8. Turn left at Lone Lake Rd
0.2 mi
9. Turn right to stay on Lone Lake Rd
36 ft
10. Turn left to stay on Lone Lake Rd

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Amber Lake - May 16

About a month ago, my brother called to ask if I wanted to join him for a trip to Central Ferry on the Snake River in the south east corner of the state. I said sure but wasn’t quite sure what we were going to do. His son, my nephew, had a conclave going on there so we were only needed to provide transportation and dinner for a couple of nights. We had Saturday free so we decide to check out Amber Lake. Amber is a selective fishery near Cheney. A nice little lake, stocked with rainbows, cutts and brown trout.

As we were setting up, Mike walked over to some rock rip-rap to find a rock to use as an anchor. As he was turning over potential anchors he said he had the thought, “this would probably be a great place if I were a rattle snake”. Sure enough, three feet away was large rattler coiled under a rock. The snake never buzzed and Mike sensibly offered to relocate his search to another pile.

The day was beautiful, chamber of commerce blue sky and temps in the 80’s. The lake fished well and provided lots of different habitat opportunities from deep cool water to shallow flats with lots of weed cover and shore structure. The lake produced consistently and offered a number of very active and strong fish in the 14” – 17” range. I did have one fish that shook me off after offering me a view of a tail and dorsal fin that suggested it could have been a much larger fish, but oh well; the ones that get away are always hard to measure.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I picked up a copy of Northwest Fly Fishing in the grocery store a few weeks ago and ran across an article about Lake Lenore. It’s a lake I’ve fished before, although it’s been a dozen years and I don’t think we had a great deal of success last time. None the less it’s a unique enough lake to tempt me to take a chance on the weather and maybe work a little harder to get across the pass than I’d like (without the prospect of skiing some good powder). Lenore is next in the chain above Soap Lake in the central part of the state. Because of the alkaline nature of the lake; WA dept of F&W stocks the lake with Lahontan Cutthroat. Lahontan’s are native to Pyramid Lake in Nevada and are uniquely capable of tolerating the alkalinity and grow to large sizes, 10 lb fish are not uncommon and the largest caught is something like 41 lbs.

I met my brother Mike and we drove over early Saturday morning and got on the lake about 11:00. All in all this is a very strange fishery and Saturday was a generally nasty day. The lake was slow waking up from winter this year and the few fish active were concentrated in the north end over small patches of marl bottom. The weather was cold, the wind was cold, the water was cold, and then it started to rain. The dozen or so people fishing lined up opposing each other (like a gauntlet) and fished small chironomids below strike indicators. Although our success was slow, we did see fish caught and watched a guy across from us land a fish easily over 10 lbs. Mike caught two nice cut’s 18” & 19” and when I was finally about to admit defeat, I hooked and landed a 22.5” / 5 lb. Lahontan cut. That was it for Saturday.

Next day we went south to look at another desert lake I’d heard about but never fished before. New day, 10 degrees warmer, blue sky, a little too much wind but a jewel of a lake. We packed up our float tubes and hiked into the far end of the lake. The water was clear, the bottom beautiful and sunlight sparkled against the cat tails and Russian olive on the shoreline. My first fish was 20.5”, thick and beautifully proportioned. Mikes next fish was 22” and of the dozen or so for the rest of the day, I don’t think we saw anything under 19”. In the words of the terminator, “I’ll be back”. Preferably yet this spring.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Chums

Swift Creek. Thanksgiving day 2008

It’s Thanksgiving morning, the house is full of company and my sister and brother in law Craig are down from Alaska. Craig’s a retired Alaska fisheries biologist, flexible enough to do things on short notice and a knowledgeable and fun guy to fish with. So to make room in the house and get a little exercise before we settled in to an afternoon of over eating, I suggested we check out the upper Skagit for Chums and Dollies. The morning was beautiful but cold with clear water and lots of fish that had moved up early. We both fished 8 wt. fly rods with high density sink tips, 12lb. test leaders and pretty much spent the whole day with purple egg sucking leach patterns. Craig’s first fish was a native 18 – 20” dolly which he released. After that was a succession of heavy and very strong chums. We were pretty much into fish the whole time we were on the river and frequently both into fish at the same time. I’ve always sort of timed the beginning of the upriver chum fishery as around thanksgiving, however, this year the run seems to be maybe as much as 3 weeks earlier than years past so while we found a lot of fish, they were farther into spawning condition than I’d expected. None the less, we had a very nice morning, releasing around 6 to 10 fish each and got home by 2:30 to an exceptionally nice Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


OK, I’m 55 and I’ve been fly fishing since I was 8 years old, and I’ve just had the best day fishing in my life. I was looking forward to this trip for a number of reasons; first, this time of year every weekend could be the last viable weather of the fall. The fish have been feeding all summer and are as big as they are going to get for the year, and these last few weeks of fall, fish simply feed with abandon as they’re trying to put on fat before the lake shuts down for the winter.

We planned to fish on Saturday but had to reschedule to Sunday to skirt around the first major storm of the fall. We left at first light and wound up following the tail end of the weather across the pass. My brother Mike and I met his friend Craig for breakfast in Ellensburg and eventually got to the parking lot at Lake Nunally around 11:00. The weather was still a little unsettled while we put our gear together and hiked the ½ mile into lake. Mike and I rigged up first and kicked out through the reeds and as we were treading water waiting for Craig to join us, Mike hooked and landed a 14” Brown. As Craig was making his way out to meet us, Mike hooked and landed his second fish, an 18” rainbow that was shaped like football; and it just got better from there.

For the morning we all fished sinking lines with varying dark woolly buggers and consistently caught fish. Large fish! The first hour the weather threatened with a few light spits of rain and a little wind which quickly blew over and left us with calm water and blue sky and no one else on the lake. After 4 or 5 fish a piece, we hauled out on a lava bench on the far shore of the lake and had a nice lunch of Chicken (thanks to Mike) and a beer.

All afternoon we continued to catch fish at a fast and regular pace as we worked our way down the lake. Feeling like this may be one of the few times when bigger is better, I decide to throw the equivalent of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and dug a huge “Black Zonker” out of my fly box that I’ve been carrying for years. Instantly I was into larger fish with much more aggressive hook-ups and thought I’d found the ultimate. As we worked our way to the end of the lake, the water shallowed up. I decide to try my 4 wt. rod with a dry line and a chironomid below a strike indicator. It really felt vain to set aside something that was working so well. As my first cast settled, I watched my strike indicator disappear and was into another 18” 3lb rainbow. For well over an hour, every cast (no matter where I cast) produced the same thing. I remember looking up at one point and as I was playing another 18” fish, I looked over at Mike and he was intently playing an equal or better fish and then over at Craig and he likewise had a fish stripping line off his reel. It was then that I realized that this had been going on for over an hour and no one had been saying anything; no one had been paddling over see what someone else had landed, no one had even been taking pictures. We were all silently and intently hooking, playing, landing and efficiently releasing enormous fish; one after the other.

Reluctantly, forced by the dimming light,, we finally had to hang it up while the fishing was still incredible to kick back up the lake to the take out. As we kicked back, and tried to tally, we had all lost count, at best guess, we all figured we had had between 20 -25 fish apiece. We wound up at the take out very tired and hiked out in complete dark. When we finally got back to the car and were taking our gear down by the headlights of the car, we all kind of looked at each other and asked if anyone had ever had a better day fishing. No one had!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Steve Posts: I'm planning a fall Central Wa. trip to Lake Nunnaly for Sunday 10/5 (moved because of weather). Below is a recent report from Kaufman's from 10/2 about Central Basin Lakes.

"It’s time to start planning some Fall lake trips to the eastside. The current 80’s-degree spell should be the last “wave” of that order, though expect many 70-degree days to come. Fortunately, the lengthening, cooler (mid-high 40’s) nights are putting water temps down closer to 60. The weeks during which temperatures gradually lower through the 50’s will be some of the best catching of the year as fish prepare to successfully overwinter – they need to load up asap and often!The main hatches to be ready for are fall chironomids and perhaps a late-brood callibaetis event. Due to occur in the near-term, another thing to look out for are dive-bombing waterboatmen (yes, we have the pattern) – a one or two day event. If caught in what can best be described as a “pellet shower”, you’re confronted with a boatman fall, where females are literally diving through the meniscus to go lay eggs directly upon the substrate. A sinking line or sink-tip helps to keep your offering diving in this situation – and by all means do hang on!Otherwise, leeches, immature dragons, damsels, dobsonfly larvae, crayfish, scuds and bloodworms will all be opportunistically sought out and foraged upon – most do great this time of year with buggers and leeches alone.Oh, but wait –there’s one more. The harbinger of impending lake turn-over is often-times the phenomenom of snails floating all the way to the surface where they proceed to bob helplessly (typically a one-day only event!). This is a good scenario for the trout, and the prepared angler. While there is a floating snail pattern available, if sold out, a de-legged foam beetle does a fine job of impersonating as well.And crowds? What crowds? Kinda makes up for Spring.. Have fun!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Its 6:00am and I’m watching a blood red sunrise (because of a nearby forest fire) over miles of marsh land covering the north end of Klamath Lake. Corinne and I are getting ready to fish the Williamson River with Randy Rigdon our guide for the day.

The Williamson is a spectacular and totally unique river. Its 50 miles long and flows into the north east corner of Klamath Lake. Half way down the river is a large marsh and during the dry months, the upper river dries up completely. The main source of the Williamson is a huge spring at the marsh which comes straight out of the ground, gin clear and 44 degrees. The day we fished, the air temp was in the 90s and the water temp barely got above 46 degrees. The river bed geography is also like nothing else I’ve ever seen, sections of clear gravely bottom interrupted by volcanic outcropping which would form wall like dams you could barely get over with a drift boat, behind which were holes too deep to see the bottom. You could move the boat 20 feet and fish thigh deep fast moving seams, another 20 feet and be prospecting a deep dark hidey hole and another 20 feet and be fishing gentle flat water to rising trout in a back water. In short nothing like any other river I’ve fished and a mind boggling array of structure and holding water.

And the fish! The trout are a species of native Red Band Rainbow that I’m told are genetically a land locked Steelhead. The average size of adult fish in the river is between 5 to 12 lbs and they live a life not unlike their coastal cousins moving between the huge, rich water of Klamath Lake and the river.

The fish are notoriously spooky and without the color from the upper river, the river is fished this time of year with intermediate sinking clear camo lines with 14 foot leaders, 5x tippet and very small flies. Randy was an excellent guide and worked hard to put us over a great many fish. Corinne and I both missed big fish right off the bat. The technique was to cast downstream, mend and feed slack to sink the fly and then start a short teasing retrieve. This was effective, however the thing that took me the better part of the day to understand was that you were feeding very light tippet to extremely large fish with no slack in the system. My first hookup I straightened a size 14 hook and lost my fish. The next two, I just plain broke off when I set the hook. With smaller fish, when you set a hook there is usually slack to absorb the shock and you can simply move the fish as well to take the shock. With these fish, there was no slack and 5 to 12 lb fish don’t move when you strike. I lost a number of good fish until it finally got through my head to be gentle.

After losing several fish in the upper part of our drift, we reset above some flat water and watched fish rising to take dries. Randy rigged a dry line with a size 14 dry fly and had me cast above where the fish were and feed line down to where they’d been rising. As we watched, a rise the size of a seals head (I exaggerate a little, I guess) sucked down my fly and I struck but no hook up. Randy handed me his polarized glasses and as we drifted past the hole, I could clearly see a dozen fish 5 to 12 lbs holding in the flat water. What a remarkable river and fishery.

Our day was for whatever reason a very slow bite (maybe night feeding by the full moon) and again Randy worked very hard to put us on fish. As the sun got high in the sky he went to his bag of tricks and setup Corinne with a floating line and a big ole Muddler Minnow and had her cast over some soft water and then skate it over where he thought fish were holding. Once again a huge boil that just about had Corinne go overboard, but no hookup.

My one fish came from a nondescript section of water later in the day with absolutely nothing to suggest fishing it except that Randy knew fish sometimes held there. I finally got my adrenaline under control and managed to set the hook without breaking the fish off and got it to the net. The fish was about 3 lbs and 22 inches, bad news was it was actually small for the river; good news was it was one of the larger trout I’ve taken. All in all a very cool day. Randy says the first time you fish the Williamson is for fun, the second is for revenge. Corinne and I are already planning our revenge.