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.