Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pretzel Nostril

I didn't ask him to do this. He was sitting there eating pretzels and I noticed he had one in his nose for about 10 minutes before I went and got my camera.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Boyle Lake Nasties

On Saturday I was determined to get at least one more backpacking / fishing trip in before the rainy season really set in. The mountains were going to be too cold and anyway I got a late start. So I decided to fish Boyle Lake in the Snoqualmie Tree Farm.

With winter waders, fins and float tube the pack weighed about 25 pounds. The hike to Boyle from the Spur 10 Gates was 45 minutes of solitude. Didn't see another soul (or animal). Weather was cold, like maybe 50 degrees. Arrived at the lake at 1pm and fished unil 5pm.

boyle lake
Boyle Lake

I've fished Boyle before and never caught anything. I've heard that Boyle sees almost NO ONE all season long but that's not entirely true: someone is maintaining the trail and the primitive launches. Whoever they are, I didn't see them on Saturday.

I caught one very blackish looking cutt of about 8" by the launch and then nothing for a couple of hours. I listened to Car Talk podcasts on my phone and after a couple of those I caught some bass at the far side of the lake; the largest of them was maybe 10".

Finally a mayfly hatch started. Nice big mayflies that happened to match the ones in my box! Over the last hour I caught perhaps a half dozen of the NASTIEST trout ever. The first fish was about 12", darkly colored and INFESTED with fish lice. I couldn't help it. I WAS OVERCOME WITH AN URGE TO PULL THEM ALL OUT, so I did. I used my forceps and pulled about 8 of the lice off of the dark beast.

Example of Fish Lice

I was totally grossed out. But I did it for every fish I caught for the next hour. One fish that I hooked came tail-walking across the water toward me; it was so dark and muddy looking that I recoiled in horror and was glad when it got off before it got to me.

The walk back to the truck was a long, cold walk in wet pants. I guess my neoprenes have a leak in them. I was exhausted by all the hiking and kicking around. That's a lot of work for those nasty fish. You'd think that much work would get you big, pretty fish but not this time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

2008 Marital Harmony Okanogan Trip

Blue Lake (Loomis)
Blue Lake (Loomis)

This was the third annual "Marital Harmony" fishing trip to the beautiful Okanogan region of our great state. We use this time to get away, just the two of us, for four days of fishing and re-connecting with each other. It is a very special time for the two of us in an area that we both think is incredibly beautiful. Also, there are big fish there!

Fishing highlights of the trip include:

  • Rocky Ford Creek - 3 big trout for David
  • Blue Lake (south of Loomis) - 5 trout for Amy, 4 for David
  • Blue Lake (south of Oroville) - 1 trout for each of us
  • Conconully Lake - 5 trout for David, 3 for Amy
  • The Yakima River in Easton - 3 trout for David, 2 for Amy
David: 14 rainbows, 1 brown, 1 Lahontan cutthroat Amy: 10 rainbows, 1 Lahontan cutthroat Ha, ha, I win. Actually it wasn't really like that (yes it was).

Amy Casting at Rocky Ford

Not wanting to do the 6-hour drive all in one go, on day one we stopped near Ephrata to fish Rocky Ford Creek. Even though it was a Tuesday, there were 15 guys there! They were the Vancouver (WA) Fly Fishing club on an outing to Dry Falls but the wind had forced them off the water and over to Rocky Ford. They were monopolizing the downstream fishing areas but Amy and I had to upper area all to ourselves.

Fly Caught in Hair at Rocky Ford

Fishing was generally difficult and slow. Sadly, Amy didn't hook anything except her own hair.

David Playing Rocky Ford Fish

I caught 3 fish, including one that was 20" -- your typical Rocky Ford chubby trout, but I caught them on flies that you wouldn't think would work there: San Juan Worm, a large Royal Wulff and an Adams.

Rocky Ford Sky David

After rocking the Ford, we drove three long hours north to the town of Omak, where we stayed at the Omak Inn and had TV dinners from the Wal-Mart. Now THAT'S livin' large! Actually the Omak Inn was pretty good, I'd stay there again.

Amy tying on at Blue Lake
Tying on at Blue Lake

There are two lakes named "Blue" in the Okanogan area. We visited them both the next day. We arrived at the one south of the town of Loomis just as the sun was breaking over the ridge. It was cold but still and there were fish rising all over.

Amy at Blue Lake

We fished the lake for the next four hours, regularly hooking up with the eager rainbows. The surprise of the day came when I hooked and caught this nice brown trout. I didn't even know that there WERE brown trout in this lake!

David's Blue Lake Brown
Surprise!Brown Trout from Blue Lake

In the afternoon we moved operations to the OTHER blue lake, where fishing was slow until we figured out that we needed to fish DEEP for the lahontans. When we got that figured out we were each able to get one fish before it became too cold to stay out any longer. Here's Amy's fish.

Amy's Lahontan Cutthroat
The Biggest Fish of the Trip

The next day we awoke to a fierce wind, so we headed up to the old resort town of Conconully. At Conconully Lake Resort there is a funny "Party Pooper" box -- they put it on skis and it won some crazy awards or something. Here's a picture.

The Party Pooper Portapotty
Party Pooper Portapotty

Even though Conconully lake was somewhat protected by steep canyon walls it was still quite windy when we launched onto the lake. We found a quiet bay and caught several fish like this one. For every fish we caught we probably had three more strikes. That place is LOUSY with fish. I would love to go back there when its not so cold and windy!

Amy's Trout at Conconully Lake
Conconully Lake

That afternoon we went back to the Blue Lake south of Loomis for another try at the fish there. We got skunked but you know what? We had so much fun trying to catch the rising fish and just being with each other that it was the best part of the trip. It was all about reconnecting and it was so nice. Best time I've ever had getting skunked. Afterward we started the long drive south, determined to get at least part of it over with. We ended up getting as far south as Chelan where we stayed at the Apple Inn, which was pretty good actually!

Dry Falls
Dry Falls Overlook

On the last day it was windy everywhere. We stopped at Dry Falls and waited for a calm period but didn't get one so we moved on. Eventually we ended up exploring some new water on the Yakima River on the way home where Amy caught some fish with an october Caddis on the top. Here's a picture she took; she said she always wanted to take a picture like this so here it is.

Amy's Yakima Trout
Amy's Yakima Rainbow

So for the four days, the fishing was good, but the marital maintenance was the main thing. We are good together again.