Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fall fishing on Nunally, Yakima

Nunally Lake
Nunally Lake, a Desert Fishing Boutique

Took another day off to try to squeeze out just a little bit more sunshine out of 2008 before its gone for good. The west side of the mountains were going to be soggy so I packed up my cooler, audiobook and all my fishing stuff and hit the road going east. An hour later I was parked at the Nelson Siding Road and exploring a new (to me) section of the upper Yakima. There were a half dozen corpses of hatchery Chinook in the shallows -- its always surprising to see them up there, it seems so far from the ocean.

This week saw a couple of melodramas at our church and while ultimately they are probably meaningless they really got under my skin today. I couldn't stop thinking about what people said and it was making me angry. I got so caught up in my head that I almost stepped in several holes that would have been emergency situations. I hooked some fish but didn't really care, they weren't anything to write home about. Soon I was so upset I wasn't even enjoying myself. So I went back to the car, again nearly stepping right into some dropoffs. Nice looking water anyway.

I kept driving East, to Nunally Lake. Never been there before. I was the only person on the whole lake -- it was windy but manageable. The walk to the lake was only 5 minutes. In another 5 Minutes after that, a 13" tiger trout got himself stuck on my olive willy. Pretty fish; only the second I'd ever caught. I tried to be thankful for catching a fish so quickly but it was hard to stay focused. I again became internally consumed, replaying the melodramas over again.

Nunally Rainbow
Nunally Rainbow

A few minutes after that, some large fish fish swirled on my olive willy and broke me off. It felt big. I tied on another, this time using only 3X tippet and kept fishing. Not 5 minutes later, a 16" rainbow cooperated for the above picture. Nice fish but he didn't fight at all. Again, I tried to be thankful about it but I just wasn't enjoying myself. After not very long, I turned to head back to the "launch" area, which was just an annoyingly small tunnel in 20 feet of reeds.

Nunally Rainbow
Caught and Released

The wind was blowing hard now and all the reeds looked the same. I couldn't see any exit! Heart started beating a little harder now. I kicked east for a while. Was it this way? Then I went west for a while. Where was that exit???

Suddenly a 19" rainbow exploded out of the water with my fly in its mouth. He launched several times and was not cooperative at all! I was able to get him onto my apron for measuring but he was too squirmy for a picture. Fantastic fish, wow! As good as he was I was still looking for the exit. Eventually I found another, different egress and bashed my way out through the reeds and then hiked back to the car again.

On the way home I stopped at Wanapum state park. I stood on the beach and actually considered wading out into the Columbia and fishing for whatever was there. If there had been a single rise I probably would have done it. But instead I trudged back to my car and kept driving home. At some point I came to some conclusions and my mind finally calmed somewhat.

As the sun was setting, I stopped at Ringer Loop on the Yakima and fished an October Caddis in some new (to me) water. I caught an 8" wild rainbow and somehow he was the best fish of the day.

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