Journal notes from quality destinations across the country...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

High Desert Escapades

Two weeks in the high desert of eastern Washington and now I'm exhausted.  Actually guided a few days on a big Cutthroat Lake and then took family and friends for some so-so Bass fishing on Banks Lake.  But that's the fun thing about bass fishing.  It's casual and no one expects great things.  Instead, you give each other a rash and while away the hours mocking each other between getting bites and landing fish. 

The weather was good the first week and bad the second.  We caught some two to three foot waves on Banks Lake that were almost too much for my bay boat.  Of course, the good news is that there is not another bass boat in sight during such times...

Here's my favorite story from week two:

Banks Lake provides nothing if not variety in the species you can target.  We were there to chase Smallmouth Bass in pre-spawn.  But the first night I hooked and landed an eight-pound Carp which taxed my 5-weight to it's limit.  The fish actually hit a gray Puglisi minnow pattern I was slinging on an intermediate sink line.  I've never had one hit a minnow fly before and I was surprised.  Pleasantly surprised. 

A few days later, I was out with Adam and we were dragging deep, looking for more Smallies.  I was less surprised to find that I'd hooked a Walleye on a crawdad pattern in twelve feet of water.  I had caught a chunky Crappie the evening before so variety was becoming the theme for the week. 

Later that afternoon Adam hooked something strong in a small cove and ultimately landed a good-size Rainbow Trout on a Clouser Minnow.  The next day when he was leaving, he gave departing instructions.

"You need keep it going and find another species to target." 

"Well, I'll be fishing with Duane.  He can probably catch a Perch or maybe a Whitefish." 

But then Duane got the last laugh.  We were moving through a series of islands and broken rocks about an hour before dark when Duane took a long cast between two small islands.  Within five or ten seconds he jerked up hard on the line and knew he'd hooked a good one.  A few minutes later I netted a Largemouth bass for him and handed him the net while I got the electronic scales out of one of the lockers. 

I held the top of the scales while Duane hooked the fish under one lip.  Three point eight...  Three point nine...

"Four Pounds!" I exclaimed. 

That's a big bass for my circle of friends and we were extremely happy.

I got to text a photo to Adam later that evening with the note, "your wish is our command."

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