Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crooked River Outing Set for October 23-25

Ready or not, the outing that's so nice we're doing it twice is here again. Join us for the fishing fun on the Crooked at the Poison Butte Campground. Yes, Andy will be there, along with Roadkill Grill for the Saturday night barbecue. Please bring a side dish, salad or dessert. Also, prepare for central Oregon fall weather.

It has been reported that fish on the Crooked are currently being caught with dry flies.
You'll want to match the hatch, which could alternately be PMDs, Mahogany Duns, Parachute Adams, and October Caddis imitations, depending on the location and the time of day. Of course, it's always smart to also have some orange scuds, baettis patterns and PTs in the box. Smaller sized patterns seem to be more effective, so tie on one size smaller than normal.
Tight lines!

Monday, August 10, 2009

East Lake Outing set for August 20-24

Perhaps you've heard about the lunker brown trout anglers annually brave the frigid elements to target at East Lake at ice out. It would be nice to put a picture of one up here, but we hear they're too big to fit on the internet. Well, such is the lore about what you'll find waiting for you at the East Lake Outing.

One thing is for certain, however, and that is you won't find finer camp hospitality than what Andy Andrews serves up at the Road Kill Grill. Andy will be setting up our base camp in the Cinder Butte Campground on August 20th, and breaking camp on Monday the 24th. On Saturday night he will be hosting the camp barbecue, so bring a side dish and your carnivorous appetite.

For those who haven't fished at East Lake before, here's some handy info. Besides this, I can vouch that probably all the stories you may have heard about the great fishing at East Lake, along with the sudden stormy weather, are true. Prepare to have your arm pulled off by fish and/or get blown off the lake. Actually, I also heard it can be quite pleasant. Did I mention the bears? Oh, this is a wonderful place, and I only wish I weren't stuck on a houseboat in California while you guys get all the fish. Someone take some nice pictures for me. Tight lines.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crooked River Outing Report: "You should have been here yesterday. Well, ten years ago, actually."

Sometimes the cruel winds which suddenly arise that keep me from fishing actually do me a favor. Events conspired to keep me from the Crooked River Outing. Here's a report from last weekend of what I missed filed by our Outings Chair, Andy Andrews.


On Monday, July 13th, this reporter for HHS News interviewed expert fly fisherman Andy Andrews (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) as to fishing
conditions on the Crooked River in Central Oregon. Mr. Andrews reported that he and two others in his group failed to land one fish during their stay. Reports from other fisherman seemed to confirm that catching a fish on the Crooked was a very unusual event during the weekend. Opinions varied as to why fishing was...slow! Mr. Andrews was told a variety of reasons for the lack of other fishermen's success with the primary reasons being:

1) the water was too cold.
2) the water was too warm.
3) the water was too clear.
4) the water was too cloudy
5) there was a full moon.
6) barometric pressure was falling
7) barometric pressure was raising.
8) the 'shocking' of the fish for sampling two weeks earlier had disturbed them.
9) the number of fish was incorrect (presumed to be somewhere between 1000 to 8000 per mile, depending who you interviewed)
10) Mr. Andrews own observation: they (the fish) knew he was comin' and that scared them so the fish were in hiding.

This reporter did interview one other camper who arrived at the Poison Butte Campground late in the weekend and stated that he could catch as many fish as he wanted, any time he wanted in the Crooked, but he was satisfied to just set and watch the river roll by. After a while, he stated he became bored with the catching of fish on the Crooked because it was too easy.

The weather on Friday and Saturday was very warm in the afternoon, with thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon. One hailstorm dropped nuggets of ice between 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Some rain fell overnight and continued on Monday morning. Each evening, Mr. Andrews and his party enjoyed good food and drink, had great campfires and enjoyed each others company.

Each afternoon there were hatches on the river of BWOs and caddis, but there were no rises by the 1000 to 8000 fish (per mile) to indicate the presence of fish.

The lack of fish remains a mystery on the Cooked River in Oregon.

Editor's note: Tom Wolf, seen here studying the futility in his fly box and the refuge available in alcohol, offered the following addendum to Andy's report:

As one who was there, I think it was a combination of many of the reasons Andy has mentioned. The water was 48 degrees, the clearest I have ever seen the Crooked, with an incredibly bright full moon, and there was the electro-shocking a few weeks before. It was the worst "catching" I have ever had on the Crooked.

Still, the weather was nice, the company was good and the food great. So I still enjoyed myself immensely, reinforcing that old barb: "The worst day of fishing is better than the best day of working."

A wonderful way to spend the weekend.

See A Tale of Two Rivers (Free!) on August 10th

Here's a fascinating program sponsored by our good friends at Educational Recreation Adventures about the Willamette and Deschutes rivers.

This event is free and open to the public. Although donations to the ERA Youth Scholarship Fund are encouraged. Please feel free to contact Jeffry Gottfried with any questions.

Jeffry Gottfried, Ph.D.
Executive Director/Lead Educator
Educational Recreational Adventures
7040 SW 84th Ave, Portland,OR 97223
www.edurecadv.org 503-750-2416

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Timothy Lake Outing Report: Very happy campers; many unhappy fish

Always one of our favorite outings, Timothy Lake did not disappoint this year. The weather, fishing and camp hospitality were all one could ask for, and judging from the rods on the water I witnessed during my Saturday morning drive-by fishing, the turnout was similarly excellent.

Regrettably, I was unable to stick around for the barbecue that night, but I did get in on the second best bite of the day around 10am when I landed rainbows on four successive casts. I had nine fish in the first hour, but only 14 on the day--all 'bows, including a couple wild ones. The water was high and clear, and the NE corner of the lake was covered with wind-blown remains of billions of size 28 midges (lime green bodies and cream wings--in case you'd like to match the hatch), which seemed to interest no one. The cloudless sky and clear, calm water offered some unusual opportunities to spot fish, and we saw many. Several times I spied schools of 30-40 brookies, including some that were at least 16 inches, distractedly cruising around, doing nothing much. All I could managed to do was spook them with my line. Others reported similar success. But it's still cool and exciting to sight cast to fish.

The bite was sporadic throughout the day, but there were a few slim moments of urgent feeding and mysterious aggressive rises to a hatch unseen. Mayfly emerger patterns got lukewarm response; same with peacock soft hackles. It was time to go home before I saw the huge dark caddis fluttering about. It was nearly as big as an October caddis, with brown wings and charcoal body. I quickly tied on a black bodied Carey special to troll the remaining short distance to shore and hooked up with a thick 14-incher to end the day with a fish on my last cast, and maybe a clue for what to go to in the future at Timothy.

As for how others did, I think everyone was sporadically hooking fish on all days. I was somewhat surprised to hear of no big fish hooked, but I have no doubt they're around and will keep me coming back again and again.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TVTU Picnic this Wednesday, July 8th!

Summer is here and so is our annual TVTU picnic barbecue and silent auction fundraiser. Once again we have reserved picnic shelter #3 at Cook Park (next to the Tualatin River) in Tigard. Below are maps of and to the park so you can navigate directly to picnic central.

This event is free and open to the public. The chapter will provide the grill and the burgers, hot dogs and soft drinks. You are invited to bring a dessert, salad or side dish. Also, you may bring adult beverages.

The party kicks off at 6pm and we'll start grilling right away. The silent auction will have about 35 excellent items and bidding will continue through dinner. Spouses, family and friends are welcome.

As always, the picnic takes the place of our regular July chapter meeting. Also, there is no chapter meeting in August. Of course, there are outings, including one to the Crooked River just days from now. We hope to see you at the picnic and on the river.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Timothy Lake Outing set for June 26-28

The smiling man holding the 23-inch brook trout is Don Kaster. He brought this brute to hand at our TVTU Timothy Lake Outing in 2007. Are there more brookies like this in Timothy? Probably. Will you catch any? Certainly not if you miss our annual assault on the North Arm of Timothy happening June 26-28.

For anyone unfamiliar with Timothy, here's an overview courtesy of the Fly Fishing Shop at Welches.

This year we'll establish our base camp at the formerly harder to find and less developed North Arm Campground. Here's a map to guide you directly from Hwy 26. For most people coming from Portland, this is the fastest route.(Click on this map to enlarge.)

Here are the basic directions: Follow Hwy 26 past Government Camp to the Skyline Road/Timothy Lake turnoff (near milepost 67) and turn right (south) onto Skyline (also known as NFD 42) Road. Follow Skyline downhill for approximately 4.1 miles to NFD 58, a narrow paved road to your right that goes past Little Crater Lake. Follow NFD 58 about 4.5 miles to the gravel intersection of NFD 5890. Turn Left and follow 5890 roughly 2.5 miles to the dirt road on your left that takes you to the North Arm Campground. This dirt road used to be marked 012, but now there's actually this campground sign you see pictured here.
Andy Andrews will be setting up our base camp on Thursday night, June 25, and will try to claim sites 2 and 3 for our group. Camping fee here is $12 per night. Unlike other Timothy Lake campgrounds, reservations are not taken for the North Arm campsites.

Feel free to arrive early on Thursday and fish with Andy. This will be his first outing of the year, and that means the Roadkill Grill will be in operation along with the bar. Also, take special note: there is a group BBQ dinner on Saturday night. Often this means bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizers and a mixed grill of beef, chicken and pork. You're welcome to contribute a side dish, dessert and/or quality wet goods. Expect a very good time, as evidenced by happy campers, Jeff Horton and Alex Barkume, pictured here at our 2006 Timothy outing.

As for fishing, Timothy seldom disappoints, but there are some things you may want to consider in making preparations. Timothy is huge. You'll find no shortage of water to explore. If you want to access the whole lake, you'll want a boat with a motor. Most of us use float tubes and concentrate on the channels in the North Arm. This is a very good area to fish, holding some wild, native rainbows and cutthroats, as well as self-sustaining populations of brook trout and kokanee. Timothy is also regularly stocked with rainbows. Some claim there are also some browns here, but I've never caught one or seen one. I think there may be some browns in the Oak Grove Fork above the lake, but I expect to see them about as much as I do Sasquatch.

Most of the water you'll want to fish is 5-8 feet deep. A clear intermediate line is ideal. A floater is nice if the fish are pounding a terrestial fall, like the big carpenter ant hatch one can expect this time of year. The best time of the day to fish at Timothy seems to be between 10am and 3pm. Hitting the water at the crack of dawn has never been very rewarding, and the bite seems to crap out after 5pm--with rare exceptions.

As for flies, olive and/or brown seal buggers produce well, as do carey specials, AP emergers and Cate's turkey patterns. The hatchery rainbows seem to find green and black krystal buggers irresistible. Brook trout tend to go for brown patterns. Handtwisting small (#12-18) nymph patterns, like PTs, Cate's turkeys and AP emergers in olive and brown shades consistently produces. The lunker trout here are undoubtably feasting on crayfish and kokanee. I've lost a couple steelhead-sized rainbows that took dragonfly nymphs. The largest rainbow I've landed here took a damselfly nymph. There's a tiny midge hatch that comes off almost nightly. Tiny black chironomids can be handy flies. Your mileage may vary. Sometimes everything works, other times, not so much.

Most of the fish you'll catch here are 10-15 inches, but it's not uncommon to find fish over 18 inches. Most of the wild rainbows go 14-17. I used to find more cutts, but they seem to be dwindling. They're probably too aggressive for their own good. More people fish Timothy these days and harvest is the rule with most.

As you can see, Timothy is a very pretty lake. If you haven't fished it before, you're in for a treat. One word of warning: the skeeters were bothersome in camp in early June. Plan accordingly. Tight lines.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Here's the lowdown from Salem from Oregon Council Chair, Tom Wolf

When Tom Wolf (pictured here on the right) isn't knee-deep in fish conservation field work, he's getting his hands even dirtier dealing with politics in Salem. Here's a compilation of his latest action reports from June 11.

Things are winding down in Salem and barring any last minute theatrics, which are always possible, the session should end by next week. Here is a report on some important bills still going on.

HB 2220 and HB 2020- The border station and immediate response fund bills are still going on. There is a movement to get funding for these bills through a variety of sources. At the Ways and Means Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday, we will find out more. Hopefully these will be funded--worse case scenario is that they will be passed unfunded so we at least have them in statute.

HB 2220(border stations) and HB 2020(Rapid response funding) are both very much alive and I need your help in making sure these bills pass.

On Tuesday, the Ways and Means Natural Resource Committee will be discussing both HB 2020 and HB 2220. If they decide to pass 1 or both bills out of committee, either funded or unfunded, than they will go onto House and Senate floor votes. So you need to contact the co-chairs , Senator Vicki Walker and Rep. Bob Jenson to urge them of the importance of passing these bills out of committee, even if there is no funding attached. The good news is that Chair Walker is working on funding for these bills and they will talk about it Tuesday. Their email addresses are - sen.vickiwalker@stste.or.us ; rep.bobjenson@state.or.us . Other committee member addresses are - sen.jackiedingfelder@state.or.us ; rep.bencannon@state.or.us ; rep.brianclem@state.or.us ; rep.chrisedwards@state.or.us ; rep.peterbuckley@state.or.us ; sen.davidnelson@state.or.us ; rep.jimthompson@state.or.us

Second, contact your own senator and representative and urge them to support both 2020 and 2220. Both these bills will be of great help in stopping the spread of nasty invasives into our beautiful state.

FYI--When you send an email, especially to the Ways and Means Natural Resource Committee, be sure and mention how important these bills are in stopping invasives. And if you have a personal story, that would be good to add.

HB 3289- The Metolius Protection passed by a 16-12 vote. Now has to go back to House for concurrences on amendments made on Tuesday. Please contact your state representatives and urge them to vote for HB 3298.

SB 76-Klamath Dam removal funding bill will have a vote in House soon and then the new amendments will have to go back to Senate side for discussion. The fate of this bill is too close to call.

HB 3089- Anti Poaching bill -Passed in Senate yesterday but has to go back to House to discuss amendments. Some deals must still be worked out for this to pass.

SB 869-Blue Ribbon Waters bill- died Wednesday and will not go to House vote. I am working with Senator Morse's office to see what can be done in between sessions to either get ODFW to adopt Blue Ribbon policy, or try to pass a bill like this next session.

HB 5014 and HB 2223- ODFW budget and license fee increase- Both still have to pass Ways and Means and then go to House and Senate for floor votes. They both should pass.

Water Resources budget and SB 788(fees bill)-Still in heavy discussion. 50/50 chance on this going well.

If you have questions let me know. I will make a much deeper and detailed report at Oregon Council meeting on June 20.


Tom Wolf, Chair
Oregon Council Trout Unlimited
503-883-1102 cell
tmilowolf@msn.com (email)
www.tu.org website

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Timothy Lake reconnaissance tour on 6/2 finds water, campsites, and even a few fish

Andy Andrews, in his first time out on the water all year, invited me along to scout Timothy Lake in advance of the chapter outing scheduled for June 25-28. Our first interest was mapping the route to the sometimes-hard-to-find North Arm Campsite. You know, we hate to hear about folks getting lost and frustrated. But a close second to this was our desire to see what kind of early-season, mid-week fishing we could find at a lake that is known for holding some very nice fish and seldom disappoints those familiar with its ways.

Mission #1: Accomplished! Check back here shortly for a detailed, fool-proof map included with the Timothy Lake Outing announcement.

Mission #2: WTF!

I don't know what was wrong. The lake was full of water--as you would expect at this time of year; and there was some algae bloom in the water, plus the water back there where Crater and Cooper creeks flow in was COLD. Even so, I expected some hungry fish. There wasn't much bug activity, either, just a smattering of tan caddis and some callibaetis. We saw a handful of rises all day, and half of them appeared to be fish launching themselves skyward merely for distance. Anyway, it's a rare day when I can't pry at least ten fish out of Timothy. So I'm forced to blame this slow/no bite on sharing a boat with Andy and the curse that follows him around.

Then again, he did manage to pull this out of one of my favorite holes.
What a beautiful, wild, 18" rainbow! He got it on some dark, fuzzy soft hackle with a red butt, and the fish gobbled it about two seconds after it hit the water on the first cast. It ran and pulled on Andy pretty good. I netted it for Andy in the new Fisknat I've had for two years and had never used. Perhaps bringing out the new net offended the fish gods. Who can say? By the way, before you start tying fuzzy red-butt patterns, you should know that fly got zero hits after that fish.

In fact, zero hits was pretty much the story for most of the day. We covered the lake in Andy's boat. We looked for warmer water areas, inlets, stump fields, ledges, wind drifts; we pounded a lot of typically productive water with sinking and floating lines, but we couldn't find any customers.

It was a very pretty day for a boat ride, though. Here's Andy hopefully working a Chernobyl Ant not far from the Oak Grove Fork inlet.
I refused to say the word, but as the evening came on I was thinking hard about how I had never been skunked before at Timothy. I should say at this point, that I think this was just an odd, aberrant day, and I would expect fishing to be much better than this for our outing.

Finally, upon return to where Andy hooked up, I landed this 16" wild rainbow. Skunk averted, I was ready to call it a day. Andy and I also talked about how we would spin the fishing report that the smallest fish we caught all day was 16 inches.
But then I asked Andy to let me troll back through the channel on our way in to target brook trout that seem to fall for brown patterns like the seal bugger I was towing. Halfway in I landed this chunky fellow, who was somewhat smaller.

Right. So what do we learn from this? Nice fish are available here even on the worst of days. And even the curse of Andy Andrews is not insurmountable. Just the same, come the outing, I'll be back in my float tube.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wayne Orzel will spill the secrets of the Kalama at our meeting on June 10th

If you've ever wandered into Prichard's Fly Shop on your way to fish SW Washington's Kalama River, you've met Wayne. He's been holding down the fort there forever. And he know this famous steelhead river like nobody's business. He's going to tell us what we need to know to hook up with them, or with the fall run of coho and chinook that also can be had on a fly.

Speaking of flies, here's Wayne's variation of the Skunk pattern that he developed for the Kalama called Prichard's Western Angler.

And here's a picture of a bright hatchery coho taken by me in the Kalama's fly-only section.Plus a familiar shot of Rod Lundberg fighting
this healthy Kalama fish.
Anyway, the fun starts at 6:30pm this Wednesday at the Lucky Lab, located at 7675 SW Capitol Hwy. Come by and have a beer.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

TVTU unleashes mighty effort to restore Necanicum River and its tributaries

Behold Thompson Creek--one of the first tributaries of the Necanicum where TVTU has focused their muscle to restore and improve riparian habitat as part of a much larger effort to make things more hospitable for wild salmon and trout.

If you haven't heard, a couple of years ago the Tualatin Valley Chapter adopted the Necanicum River as its "home water" restoration project, working with partners such as the North Coast Land Conservancy, ODFW, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service--as well as some very interested local private landowners. Many thousands of dollars and man hours will go into this ongoing project over the coming years, and our chapter will continue to enlist volunteers to help throughout the coming summer and fall on a number of weekend project work days.

Much of the work so far has involved clearing invasive, non-native vegetation and replacing culverts, but we're also going to be reclaiming stream bed, enhancing spawning and rearing habitat, and monitoring water temperatures and fish counts. It's definitely not all battle with blackberry brambles and knotweed.

But there is something deeply satisfying about ridding the land of this pox, as evidenced here by Emily Nuchols, a staffer from Save Our Wild Salmon.
And here's a pile of what TU's Western Regional Director, Alan Moore, calls wood porn--the stuff that will soon add instream structure and refuge for happier fish.
This is at the Neitzel farm. Mrs Neitzel (86) still lives here, and is thrilled about this project. And here's more wood, and a wider view of the Neitzel field, the site of the upcoming BIG 23-acre off-channel wetland complex restoration headed by Doug Ray.

Alan Moore further commented: "TU is now an official partner in this project, which is set to break ground this summer. Most of the large wood staged at the site (much of which was contributed by TU) will be placed in the restored historic channel once it is completed. From this wood pile to roughly the treeline you see in the background (that's the mainstem Necanicum) is where the historic meander used to be before it was cleared and filled for farming. While the channel will be watered all year by groundwater percolating up from below, also creating a gentle flow toward the river, the wetland will also connect to the mainstem during higher flows allowing passage of juveniles who overwinter in the wetland, getting fat and happy from the nutrients provided by the wood and native veg, and hiding from predators amongst all the cover."

Already our efforts are paying off. If you look closely at the photo below of previous wetland restoration done by Doug Ray on Thompson Creek, you can see clear, cold water, healthy aquatic vegetation and a half dozen juvenile coho. That's what it's all about.

TVTU 2009 Outing Schedule

Here's the complete 2009 schedule of TVTU/CRTU outings for 2009 still to come. You may be smart to mark these dates on your calendar.

June 26-28
Timothy Lake Outing

July 10-12
Crooked River Outing

August 20-23
East Lake Outing

September 13
Laurance Lake Outing

September 23-30
Fall River Outing

October 2-4
Metolius River (State Project)

October 23-25
Crooked River Outing

Super Fly bedazzles fish at Rock Creek Reservoir Outing

Is it really a club outing when it's an outing of one? CRTU outing chair Jeff Horton must have been asking himself exactly this while occasionally kicking back to dock from the far (fishy) side of the lake to see if anyone else had shown up. I had bailed on this outing earlier in the day when I was the only TVTU-er at the Big Red's rendezvous at 7am on Sunday morning. I sat there for 20 minutes waiting and wondering how much I really wanted to drive alone to join the armada of weekend anglers chasing those planters on that aesthetically challenged fish hatchery dumping grounds. I was torn, but decided I'd rather spend a rare, beautiful, sunny spring day with my wife and dogs. So, more fish for Jeff. He says he landed 20-plus on the pattern seen here in his hand that he and his pal Al call the Ana Special (for the Ana River and Ana Reservoir). He describes it thusly: "It's really just a bastardized soft-hackle with a silver bead and antron trailing shuck. Hen hackle instead of partridge makes it fairly indestructible." Maybe he'll swap one with us at the upcoming Timothy Lake Outing. Then again, considering how we all left him on his own, maybe not. I'm hoping some fishing will help any lingering bad feelings pass. See you all at Timothy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Snow Closure on 48 Reroutes Access to Rock Creek Reservoir

The Hood River Ranger Station reports there is 4 feet of snow in places on 48 above 3000 feet, so instead of taking Hwy 26 over Mt. Hood, reroute your trip to Rock Creek Reservoir via I-84 to The Dalles, then take Hwy 197 south to Tygh Valley, then follow 48 west to the lake. This may actually be a faster route, anyway--although slightly longer.

Rock Creek Outing carpool rendezvous changed to Big Red's Restaurant

Anyone wishing to carpool with us over to Rock Creek Reservoir for the fabulous chapter outing on Sunday should meet at Big Red's, located near Sylvan off Hwy 26 at 5515 SW Canyon Court. We'll be there at 7am (parked in the street out front, actually), NOT at River City Fly Shop. Plan to navigate accordingly.
Hope to see you there or at the lake.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rock Creek Reservoir Outing, May 17

Here's the sun coming up over Rock Creek Reservoir. We probably won't get there early enough to see this, seeing as our group will rendezvous this coming Sunday morning at 7am in the River City Fly Shop parking lot; from where we can carpool past Mt. Hood and down into Tygh Valley to this 88-acre reservoir loaded annually with large hatchery brooders. There are already reports of fish caught over ten pounds.

I fished Rock Creek Reservoir once years ago early in the season and found high, cold water and several 12-15 inch rainbows. There are also bass in this lake. Maybe it will be warm enough to turn some of them on. If you go for that sort of thing.

Here's a link to some helpful info on Rock Creek courtesy of our good friends at the Fly Fishing Shop in Welches:

Here's what Rock Creek Reservoir looks like without such dramatic lighting. (This shot looks like lower water found later in summer.)

And here's a map from Hwy 26 that shows where to find the place in case you want to drive up on your own ahead of us and get first shot at the hatchery behemoths.

The weekend weather is supposed to be nice on Sunday. Why not enjoy it getting towed around by net-stretching brutes? Hope to see you there. Tight lines.

Monday, May 11, 2009

TVTU May 13 Meeting Program: Fishing for Sea-Run Browns in Tierra del Fuego

Holy crap, Alex, that's a big fish! Did you have to go on disability after you lifted it for this picture?

Attention fellow TU-ers: We have a meeting this Wednesday and Alex Barkume, smiling proudly here, will continue his report of the Three Amigos' adventures in Chile and Argentina with photos and film of fishing for these beast fish that know almost no fear of humans. Also included will be additional commentary from Mike Gentry and Andy Andrews, who can attest to how many fly rods were broken by their fishing party.

As always, doors upstairs at the Lucky Lab open at 6:30 for social drinking, with the meeting formally starting at 7pm. This program is free and open to the public. See you there.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

South Twin Outing: The weather was changeable, as was the fishing

Spring time high lakes fishing is often a crapshoot. The barometer can drop in an instant and take the fishing with it.

The weather report for our weekend at South Twin Lake was not encouraging. Cold, rain, and wind gusts up to 30 mph. Why the hell would anyone sign up for that kind of misery? Paul Ellis and I asked each other several times on our way over the pass that Saturday morning. For myself, I think it was the hope for big browns across the way at Wickiup. That and the fact that one only gets so many early-season days to fish, and I had a weekend pass from the wife. I dressed for the worst.

Driving from Portland down I-5 to Hwy 58, over the Willamette Pass to the Crescent Cutoff, to Cascade Lakes Hwy, to S. Century Drive to South Twin took only three and a half hours. We pulled into camp and were greeted by Paul Vitello. He gave us the lowdown on who all was there and where the fish were found. According to his fish finder, they were sitting down 20 feet or so. No big fish had been landed yet, but lightning had nearly struck twice for Vito, as he almost had his rod yanked into the lake by a vicious strike while rowing along the south shore. Alas, no hook up. And no great argument for us to forsake Wickiup for the few hatchery fish found so far at South Twin.

As promised there was cold and rain and wind, but not nearly as much wind as we feared. And the rain was just few drops here and there at first. Once Paul and I got into Wickiup and kicked our tubes up into the north end where the Deschutes comes in, we found a few browns running 12-14 inches, and one very chunky rainbow that was all of 20 inches. The fishing was slow, but there was just enough action to keep it interesting. Unfortunately, after over four hours in the water our frozen hands no longer wanted strip that wet line. When we got back to camp we compared notes with everyone else and found that we had the better fishing.

Here's a shot of Paul working Wickiup's Deschutes Channel.

Despite the absence of Andy and the Road Kill Grill, the nine of us put together a pretty decent group smorgasboard. We shared drinks and stories around the raging campfire provided by the downed tree bucked up by the Hollenbecks.

Then the rain came. All night we could hear it pounding the tent fly. Or so we thought. When I poked my head out the tent at 6am, instead of rain I found falling snow. I hunkered back into my sleeping bag to rest up for what I expected would be a frenzied camp-breaking retreat at the first break in the weather.

Here's the view out the front of our tent at 9am.

Three hours later we emerged, ate breakfast and assessed the situation. Ron and Carson donned their gear and headed for the lake. I wished them well. Here's a photo of them set to launch, with Ron extending to me the traditional angler's salute; and another of them on their way to cold futility.

While I didn't have much hope for fishing success, as breakfast settled in and Paul and I broke camp, not only did the weather seem to be fining up, but with everyone else bugging out, the lake seemed very pristine and inviting to me, and the thought of spending a couple hours dragging a line seemed more than reasonable. I know Paul was still thinking about how cold and useless his hands got the day before--when the weather was better. Yet somehow I gently persuaded him to go for it. Maybe it was the offer to let him use my Type V sinking line to get him down that 20 feet or so where the bigger fish were supposed to be.

I hit the water with my Type II and counted it down for a minute and slowly worked an olive seal bugger in 10 inch pulls. I wasn't in the water five minutes before I met Ron and Carson on their luckless way back in. Moments after they relayed their sad report I hooked up and landed the first of 13 9-12 inch hatchery rainbows that slammed that bugger in the 150 minutes it took me to circle the lake. Paul did the same, I think. We found fish further from the edge than what we expected. There were some places where we found more fish congregated, but we never hooked anything big.

Fishing aside, the wildlife viewing was excellent. I saw bald eagles, ospreys, a plunging kingfisher, many ducks, a spectacular wading white heron, and even two otters working their way around the lake in the opposite direction I was heading. We even heard the haunting call of loons.

The weather was interesting, too. While we were on the water we got alternate bursts of rain, sun, hail, and even a little wind. I took this photo of Paul with some blue sky in the background to show all you guys who abandoned the effort early what you missed.

Paul and I agreed, all in all, it was a pretty good time on the lake. We were glad that we gave South Twin a shot. But I couldn't help thinking about the bigger browns we probably missed out on over at Wickiup. D'oh!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

South Twin Lake Outing, May 1-3

The much-anticipated South Twin Lake Outing in recent years has marked the annual debut of the Road Kill Grill. Sadly, this year due to an act of God (edict from wife/mother-in-law to be elsewhere), Andy will not be there with the grill to host the Saturday night feast of mouthwatering delights--or more importantly, unload the bar. So we're on our own, food and drink-wise this year. No matter, the lake is still full of fish, including some hefty holdover rainbows pushing past five pounds. No lie, Paul Vitello got one that was 28" a few years ago. That should give everyone hope. Here's a photo of Dick Hollenbeck holding an early season lunker at South Twin.

Dick annually targets these beasts soon after ice-out and has pretty good success. He'll be there to show you how he does it trolling long lines deep. If you can't hook one of these, there are still plenty of 10-15 inchers willing to play.

On the other hand, why bother with the fishing derby at South Twin when you can go across the road and fish for big browns in Wickiup? Paul Ellis seemed fairly pleased here when we hit the Deschutes Channel arm of Wickiup in May of 2007.

We'll be seeking browns that would beat this relative guppy up. Afterward we hope to see everyone huddling by the campfire at South Twin for a session of toasting our success, and sharing lies and bitter recriminations. Hope to see you there.