Journal notes from quality destinations across the country...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It was past time to get out for some spring fishing and with one day available mid-week to escape work, I made plans with Adam to fish a lake on the far side of the state, near Spokane.  We would take a pontoon boat and row our way around in search of fat Rainbow trout.  The problem was that two days before we were to leave, Adam thought it necessary to be negative Nellie and text me a weather report. 
"Have you checked the weather for Wednesday?  Rain mixed with snow and winds at 25MPH..." 
I had just checked the weather the day before and it had said 55 degrees and partially cloudy.  What was he talking about?  Sure enough, I looked for myself and unpredictable Spring had changed its mind, deciding to get nasty the day we wanted to fish.  I thought for a minute.  What options did we have? Finally, I texted back.
"25MPH?  We could take my bay boat to Omak instead."
Omak is in the middle of the state in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains and the most likely place to stay dry when the rest of the state was getting dumped on.  Adam agreed and I had to tuck the pontoon boat back in the garage and go get my fiberglass boat out of storage.  Two days later I was standing in my driveway at 3:50AM, pulling the cover off my boat so I could hit the highway.  It had been raining for two solid days in western Washington and I was not convinced we could escape getting wet, regardless of where we fished.  We met up at an exit off the highway.  Adam threw his gear in the back seat of my truck and jumped in.  We were off.  It was a five hour drive to the lake where we would have five hours to fish before we had to get back on the highway to home.  This was a military mission with tactical precision and we would make sure we stayed on schedule so we didn't get home at midnight. 
"Does your wife think you are as nuts as my wife thinks I am for making a day trip to a lake this far away?"
I chuckled.
"Yes.  But what's the alternative?  Don't go because we only have one day free to fish?  I'd rather drive half the day then not get out at all.  And we could fish closer to home but not without being rained on all day.  And these lakes on the eastside have bigger fish and smaller crowds...  These are basic principles."
Adam laughed and agreed. 
"What should I expect at this lake?  He asked.
"Lahontan Cutthroat that run between seventeen and twenty inches with some that could go up to twenty-four.  This time of year the fish are active but are harder to find in deeper water and I would tell you to not expect too much.  Maybe we will get one an hour."
"Not bad." Adam said.  "I can live with that."
Both of us fish enough to not get picky about numbers.  A few fish in the boat and we would both go home happy.  Simple guys are satisfied with simple pleasures, as they should be.
By the time we got over the mountains and were driving north in central Washington, the clouds had been left behind and the sun was shining.  We could not believe our luck.  It was 47 degrees when we launched the boat at 10AM but by the afternoon it would be 68 degrees and I would be sunburned.  There was one other boat out with us but this is a nine-mile long lake so we figured we could put up with one boat way off in the distance.  We're big hearted guys, after all. 
Mid-day, Adam had to comment on the fish he'd been catching. 
"This may be the best day of trout fishing I've had." 
"It's been great," I replied. 
We ended the day with eighteen fish between us over the course of the five hours we fished.  Adam's biggest was 23 inches.  It averaged out to a fish in the net every sixteen minutes, not counting all the fish that spit the hook and never made it to the net.  It was an active day we could only be grateful for and when we drove back over the mountains that evening, the downpour on the highway welcomed us back to the west side and made it seem like we were returning to prison after being allowed out for an afternoon. 
There will be more of these days to come before spring turns to summer...  I love fly fishing in the spring.