Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Break Day 4: Fighting at Amber Lake

Years ago I read a fishing report about this magical place named Amber Lake, where the lucky fly-fishermen of Spokane go and catch only giant trout. I added Amber Lake to my "must visit" list. This trip appeared to be about just finally getting there but ultimately ended up being about peaceful surrender.

Gearing Up
Amber Lake seems way out there in the middle of nowhere - its like the The Shire. One minute you're driving through tree-less, rolling hills and then the next you come over a rise and there is the lake in a hollow, amidst old barns and evergreens. The boat launch is very tidy with lots of parking and good facilities.

The Fish Master

Of course, Amy immediately started catching some REALLY nice fish. Within 30 minutes of launching she had landed a 16" and a 17" trout, one of which is above. I helped her land the first.... and then we got in a HUGE fight. I mean we were YELLING AND SCREAMING at each other in the boat, for 20 loud minutes. She thought that I was giving her the cold shoulder now that she was catching fish, and I told her I was just trying to retain some dignity after getting ridiculously out-fished every day (tally so far on the trip was 33 to 8)..

Finally she put her rod down and yelled "Fine! Take me home!"

And I roared back, "We did not drive all the way out here just to go home!"

And then I had an ephiphany. I was being a jerk! But why? There could only be one reason: I had been trying to hold on to the idea that I was the better fisherman and it was getting harder and harder (impossible actually) to maintain that position in the face all of all this contrary evidence. So I let it go and admitted to myself that she was now a better fisherman than I was. And I felt a sudden peace.

We made up. I asked her to inspect my line and give me some tips on what she might be doing differently. I even had her set up my rig for me at one point. We got along great the rest of the day. She still totally out-fished me, getting strikes constantly and ultimately landing 5 fish. Me, I caught only one fish, but it was a pretty good one.

My One Fish

At around 2:00pm, the lake just turned off. Even Amy stopped getting hits. Everyone, including ourselves, left beautiful Amber Lake. Amy and I drove to the other side of Spokane and spent the evening in Liberty Lake, as I had some business there the next day.

On the way home we passed 50 miles of hard-blowing snow and sliding cars over Snoqualmie Pass. It was some of the nastiest driving I've ever had to do in Washington state. At one point, my truck lost traction and we were sliding completely sideways down I-90. I turned into the skid, which over-corrected and then we were sliding the opposite way down I-90. I turned into the skid again, and we corrected just right but not before I think I had a mild heart attack.

But back to Amy. She can tie her own knots. She chooses her own flies. She can even attach a tippet to a leader with a blood knot. She can cast farther than I can and concentrate for longer than I can. She is, in the ways that are important, a better fisherman than I am. I'm okay with that. As long as I'm still her best fishing buddy, that is.

Final Trip Tally: Amy = 38 fish, David = 9 Fish

5 comments:

  1. David, I have another take on the fact that Amy outfished you. My theory, based on the same experience fishing with my wife, is the Y chromosome us guys have. The girls don't have that Y chromosome like we do. I think the fish know that and are able to tell the difference, whether you are fly fishing like you two, or back-trolling lures like we do for steelhead, here in north Idaho. Same old story: my wife outfishes my routinely, and expects to do that every time we go out. Her comment about fishing in general: "So what's the big deal?"
    I enjoyed your article about Amber Lake. I have not fished it in a couple of decades, and my old fishing partner (not my wife) suggested we give Amber a try, next week, which will be the end of May.

    Dennis
    Lewiston, Idaho

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