Monday, June 1, 2009

Coldwater Lake

Coldwater Lake
Typical Coldwater Lake Resident

My wonderful sister Patty had Casey for the weekend so Amy and I could enjoy a whole weekend of Marital Harmony Fishing. As my sister lives in Federal Way, I chose SW Washington as our destination.

One of my favorite spots anywhere is Coldwater Lake at the foot of the Mount St. Helens volcano. The lake is inside the park, just before the Johnston Ridge Observatory. It is an 800 acre lake created when the 1980 eruption dammed the Coldwater Creek valley. The creek filled the valley and thus Coldwater Lake was born. Cutthroat and Rainbow fry moved into the lake where their descendants live today.

The Lake is a long drive from Snoqualmie -- about 4 hours. We arrived at the park around 3pm. I had stupidly left my NW Forest Pass in the other car so we had to go to the Johnston Ridge Observatory/Gift Shop to get a new pass. The guy at the Ridge said the lake was turning over, visibility was nil and that fishing had been very slow from what he'd heard.

There were a few boats coming out of the lake. The discouraged anglers reported not even any nibbles since morning. Flush with optimism even in the face of discouraging news, we launched into a light breeze. I stuck a 15" fish within a few minutes and then we had to return to the launch so I could get my hat which I'd forgotten in the Truck. One of the skunked boaters was still packing up and he was annoyed about us getting into fish right away.

The sun beat down REALLY hot for hours. We were able to pick up a half-dozen between the two of us out in the very middle of the lake trolling or stripping streamers. The largest of these very silver fish was about 17" -- there's a picture of him with Amy in the sun.

In the evening hours we found ourselves at "the point" about halfway across the lake. There are coves on either side of the point and a little inlet there, too. There were black beetles and flying ants struggling at the surface and fish were starting to take them.

I put a small black beetle on Amy's pink rod and handed it to her. We sighted a fish coming toward us and she made a perfect cast to it. It boiled on her fly and then thrashed and thrashed. She brought it to the boat -- it was that beautiful fish you see in the picture. We didn't tape it but its probably in the 21-23" range. Biggest fish either of us had seen in a while! I don't think the picture does it justice.

Coldwater Lake
Taken on a #14 Beetle Pattern

That Pink Rod sure catches big fish. I'm thinking I should start fishing with it. Just kidding.

For the next hour we chased similar fish swirling on beetles. I lost two beetle patterns in fish but wasn't able to get them to the boat. That's okay -- it was great fishing! heathman lodge

That night we stayed at the lovely Heathman Lodge in downtown Vancouver, WA. Imagine a giant log cabin with a four star restaurant inside. Or imagine the interior of The Great Wolf Lodge but for adults. The room was impeccable. In the morning I swam some laps in the pool and cooked myself in the hot tub. Then breakfast at the restaurant was phenomenal: Crab Cakes and Salmon Benedict. Mmmm. Stay there if you can next time you are in the area.

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